Despite impressive teamwork, the Varsity Blues men’s volleyball team suffered a 3–1 loss against the York Lions on February 22.

This loss means that the Blues no longer have the chance to host an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarterfinal. However, they did secure third place in the OUA East Division.

Crowds came in droves at the end of reading week to watch the game and were loud in their support during the first set. Toronto secured a strong lead over York, carrying the set 16–7 at the first technical timeout. The set was an easy win for the Blues despite the Lions’ best efforts, coming to a close at 25–18.

The second set proved to be a tense exchange of points, with the two teams consistently tying the score. Blues rookie Evan Falardeau delivered a particularly admirable block near the beginning, marking the start of an impressive set. Falardeau scored 21 total points throughout the night off of three aces, one block, and 17 kills. However, after fighting hard and tying at 10–10, 11–11, and again at 19–19, the Blues lost the set to York to finish it at 25–23.

Although the third set was a 25–23 loss for Toronto, the lack of energy marked the beginning of the end. York held a fairly consistent two-point lead with an impressive offensive strategy, despite strong efforts by the Blues at the beginning of the set, with a kill from Chris Towe and two impressive assists and kills from third-year setter Jordan Figueira and Falardeau. Figueira notched 42 assists overall, but they were not enough to send the team to victory.

The fourth set began with York sending the first point over the net, and then continuing to keep spectators on the edge of their seats with long rallies and hard-fought points.

The Blues got their heads in the game as Austin Valjas scored a crowd-pleasing point off a kill after a particularly long rally, and by the time the score was finally tied again at 19–19, the spectators could not silence their cheers.

This was just one of Valjas’ seven kills in the game, alongside three and a half blocks and one ace to score 11.5 points. Nick Trewern also made it to double digits with points, racking up 11 off of two aces and nine kills.

Libero Daniel Tudor also stood out throughout the match, tallying a game-high of 14 digs. The Blues, then, didn’t simply hand York’s 25–23 victory to them in the fourth set, but put up an admirable fight until the end.

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