The Blues women’s volleyball team rounded up the 2023–2024 volleyball season with 13 wins to eight losses, marking them fifth on the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) standings. Despite the 3–1 loss on February 24 to the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold in the OUA quarterfinals, the Blues showed incredible performances from all players on the court. Many of the players are first- and second-years whose journeys with the Blues are only just beginning.

“We had a phenomenal season,” shared first-year libero Delaney Watson in a post-game interview with The Varsity. “I really enjoyed every moment playing with [my team].”

What happened

The Bold took the first point of the game but were matched evenly by the Blues. The Bold took a timeout after the Blues advanced two points, making the score 14–12, and the Blues took a timeout of their own as the score hit an even 15–15. Nevertheless, the Blues ended the first set 25–19 with a service ace from outside hitter Olivia Zhu.

The second set had the Blues pulling ahead 8–4 before the Bold called a timeout. Both teams were matched fairly evenly until 20–20, where the Bold managed to pull ahead in the set. The Blues ended the set at 25–21 to the Bold, tying the game. 

OUA offensive leaders Zhu and Julia Murmann led the third set until two first-year players for the Bold, setter Anna Arellano and hitter Giulia Chimilovski, were substituted on at 12–9. The two immediately scored a point together, an energizing show for some of the team’s youngest members. Unfortunately, the Bold picked up speed and ended the set 25–17, taking the lead. 

The final set featured an incredible opening performance by Murmann, who scored four consecutive points for the Blues. The teams played evenly until 19–19, where the Bold took the set at 25–21, winning the game 3–1. 

The quarterfinal game showed impressive performances from star hitters Murmann and Zhu, as well as other hitters like Chimilovski, Thea Ziesmann, Natalia Souza, and Anna Gadomski, many of whom played all four sets. They were ardently assisted by setter Robin Melnick, whose first year on the team did nothing to discourage her calm, focused demeanour.

Watson had an irreplaceable role in this game, recording a game-high of 21 digs and expressing major gratitude toward the team and the work they’ve put in this season.

“I [want to] shout out every single girl on my team,” said Watson with a smile. “They’re so great.”

And indeed, camaraderie may just be what has carried the young volleyball team forward until here. With a total of 350 digs — heads and shoulders above the rest of the league — Watson finished the 2023–2024 season as the OUA’s top defensive player. 

What’s next

After their loss to the Bolds, the Blues have now been eliminated from the playoffs, and their season has ended. Nevertheless, it was a great season with some incredible debuts.

“I’m just really looking forward to building next year with [the team],” said Watson in a closing statement. 

We’ve enjoyed every moment this season, and fans will be eagerly waiting for when the new season begins in the fall.