Women’s volleyball team wins OUA final four on home court

The Blues win second straight provincial championship
The Blues got back-to-back wins. NATHAN CHING/THE VARSITY
The Blues got back-to-back wins. NATHAN CHING/THE VARSITY

The Varsity Blues women’s volleyball team won their second straight Ontario University Athletics (OUA) title on Saturday after defeating the Western University Mustangs and Brock University Badgers.

Semifinal versus Western

In the first set of the final four against Western, the Blues got off to a smoking hot start, and it looked like the rout was on. They went on a 14–3 run to start off the game, which forced Western to take a timeout. It was looking as if the timeout didn’t do much, as a spike from Toronto’s Caleigh Cruickshank brought the score up to 17–3.

After this great start for Toronto, Western found their footing. A misplayed volley and misserve from Toronto brought the score to 17–5, and the Mustangs began to build their momentum. Toronto managed to curb some of Western’s efforts with great plays from Jenna Woock and Alina Dormann, but the Mustangs brought the score all the way to 22–19, which resulted in a Toronto timeout.

In the next rally, an attempt from Western to block Toronto’s spike went out of bounds, and then a spike from Anna Licht made it the game point. Western’s next serve went out of bounds to give Toronto the first set, although it was much closer than it initially seemed.

Although they didn’t win the first set, Western carried their momentum into the second. The score was rather close for the first half of the set, sitting at 9–9 at one point. However, Western then went on an 11–4 run to give them a 20–13 lead. Both teams traded points, but Toronto was unable to overcome Western’s lead, and lost the set 25–16.

With the match tied 1-1, Toronto needed a big win in the third set. They got off to a very strong 6–0 start, and Dormann made a great spike to give Toronto a 7–1 lead. The teams traded points, which was good for Toronto, and the score got up to 12–6 for the Blues. But Western was not giving up this set quietly, and started making a big push. The score got tied at 18, and Western got the next point to give them a one-point lead. Dormann subbed out when the score was 20–19 for Western, but subbed right back in after Western got the next point. Western got the score up to 24–21, but a long rally, and spike from Dormann kept Toronto in it. The Blues got the score up to 24–24, and two misplayed spikes from Western won Toronto the set.

In the next set, Toronto got off to a hot start, and this time they never looked back. Some great plays from Dormann kept Toronto with their lead. The crowd was getting rowdy, as the fans anticipated Toronto clinching their berth in the finals. At 24–19, Western missed the serve to secure Toronto the victory, a U SPORTS championship spot, and a matchup with Brock for the OUA final.

Final versus Brock

For the final game of the OUA championships, both Brock and Toronto fans packed the house, giving the game a rowdy atmosphere. Both teams had some jitters at the start of the game, as both Brock and Toronto missed serves to start the game. Toronto seemed to get settled in after that, and got off to a 8–3 lead after a clean serve. The Blues got the score up to 20–13, but two straight Brock points caused Toronto to take a timeout. The Blues regained their composure after this, and went on to score the next four points to make it set point. After one more Brock point, a spike from Dormann secured the 25–16 win for the Blues in the first set.

The second set was evenly matched throughout, and it was tied 21–21 toward the end of the set. A kill from Woock made it 22–21 for the Blues, and a block from Dormann and Licht was awarded to Toronto in the next rally. After a Woock serve hit the net to bring the score within one, a Brock block was ruled out of bounds to give Toronto set point. Mia Workman’s serve then hit them net. A scoreboard error showed the score as 23–23, but Toronto got the next point off of a misplay from Brock, and after a review by officials, the set was awarded to Toronto.

The final set came down to a dramatic finish, as each team traded set points until a winner was decided. An attempted kill from Brock brought the game to 24–23, and a point for Toronto would have given them both the match and the championship. Brock was able to get the next point, but it went right back to set point for Toronto when a kill from Woock made it 25–24.

A Toronto misplay made the score even again, and Brock then took the lead at 26–25. Dormann was able to stay composed, and got a kill that brought it back to even. The teams traded set points back and forth, until Brock brought the score to 29–28. A kill from Woock and Cruickshank gave Toronto the lead back, and Dormann spiked the ball in bounds on the final play of the game to secure Toronto the Quigley Cup.

The players ran onto the court to celebrate, and medals were given out to both teams. Toronto celebrated with the trophy, and their new banner will be going up in Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport shortly.

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