January 19, 2018
Windsor 2 Brock 3
The Brock University women's volleyball team defeated the University of Windsor Lancers by the score of 3-2 Friday night at the Bob Davis Gymnasium.
With Windsor leading 2 sets to 1 and leading 13-5 in the fourth set, Brock senior Tori Carroll answered with 12 straight serves to take a 17-13 lead on route to a 25-23 game tying set. In the fifth set, the Badgers completed the comeback with a 15-8 victory.
The Badgers had five players in double figures led Laura Condotta and Renee Helmer who combined for 29 kills and 26 digs, both finishes with double-doubles. Abby Jenkins collected 12 kills while Tori Carroll and Amy Cureton both chipped in with 10 kills each. Setter Emily Armstrong added a season high 52 assists and 14 digs. Libero Julia Balatbat rounded out the Brock leaders finishing with 20 digs.
Windsor's offense was led by Jade Ziebarth who added a game high 17 kills.
For the match, Brock recorded 65 kills with 17 errors on 160 attempts for a .300 hitting percentage. Windsor added 49 kills with 15 errors on 165 total attempts for a .26 hitting percentage.
Guelph 0 McMaster 3
A new leading light emerged Friday, but the trend remained the same for the Marauders, who powered to their third straight sweep at Burridge Gym.
Second-year middle Hailey Kranics (Fort Erie, ON)enjoyed the most productive match of her McMaster career to date, as Mac downed Guelph 25-17, 26-24, 25-16 to keep their unblemished streak to open 2018 alive.
Kranics saw unprecedented attacking volume through the middle and made the most of it in the win, converting on 59 per cent of her 22 attempts for 14 kills, while adding three blocks to serve as the match's leading scorer with 17 points.
Veterans Arsovic (Burlington, ON) and Maicee Sorensen (Hamilton, ON) were similarly efficient, hitting for 32 and 56 per cent respectively, as the Marauders hit a blistering 35 per cent as a team in the win.
Underlining McMaster's offensive prowess Friday, setter Caitlin Genovy (Stoney Creek, ON) racked up 44 assists in just three sets of play.
With the win, the U SPORTS sixth-ranked Marauders improved to 9-1 in OUA play, two matches clear atop the OUA West standings.
Picking up their level midway through the opening set, the Marauders embarked on a 6-2 run to open a six-point lead at 18-12 and force the Gryphons into a timeout just two points clear of the technical, after a kill from Arsovic.
No slowdown was incoming from the Marauders, and it was Kranics who provided two of the final three points for McMaster, including her sixth kill of the set, to seal the first for the hosts.
Guelph enjoyed their most promising stretch of play early in set two, where an Alex Curran ace and a pair of kills from Laura Duncan gave the visitors an 11-8 lead and chased McMaster to a timeout.
That lead evaporated quickly, as the Marauders retook the advantage at the technical through a Kranics kill and seemed poised to accelerate to the finish line from there, leading by four at 21-17 after Sorensen added a kill of her own.
McMaster wobbled at the final hurdle, and a pair of service errors helped Guelph level at 24 and force bonus points. But, to their credit, the hosts responded quickly to the threat, and after a pair of kills from right side Rachel Woock (Richmond Hill, ON) and Arsovic, the danger was over, along with the set.
There was less drama to be had in the third, as Mac grabbed hold of the lead early and carefully built upon it throughout the set.
A Sorensen kill saw the hosts enter the technical timeout with a five-point cushion, and the Gryphons were unable to close that gap, as Mac closed the match on a 6-2 run to end the night emphatically, with Kranics providing the exclamation point with a block on match point.
January 20, 2018
Western 3 Lakehead 0
THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Western made quick work of their opponents on Saturday afternoon, taking down the Lakehead Thunderwolves in three short sets (25-16, 25-15, 25-21) at the LU Fieldhouse.
With the win Western's record moves to 7-3, good for second in a competitive OUA West Division. Lakehead remains in fifth place within the same division, now with three wins and eight losses.
Kelsey Veltman continued her stellar play for the Mustangs, leading the team in scoring with 10 points after recording an ace, and a solo block. Melissa Langeggerwas close behind with eight points of her own in the win.
Rheanna Geisel narrowly missed beating out Veltman on the scoresheet, recording 9.5 points. Also making an impression was Ciara Zarn, who recorded 14 digs.
The Mustangs struggled to keep up with the Thunderwolves in the opening minutes of the first set as self-imposed errors quickly put them in a deficit. A net violation and a couple of missed serves kicked off the frame, putting Western back by four points at 3-7.
Western turned the set on its head after a pair of kills from Veltman seemingly reenergized the purple and white lineup, and the Mustangs quickly took control of the set.
Lakehead struggled to adapt to an improved Mustangs blocking game as they were unable to find the seam, and instead routinely sent the ball outside the confines of the court. In comparison, the Thunderwolves net defence that had found success in shutting down attack attempts in the opening points of the set was struggling to properly time and track the Mustangs attackers.
Despite the rough start, the Mustangs would take the set by a nine-point margin, 25-16.
Set two opened as the exact opposite as its predecessor, with the Thunderwolves initially struggling to keep up with Western's pace. Western maintained a lead throughout the entirety of the set – and while it varied – it never dropped below two points. The purple and white continued to prove why Western was the top ranked team in several OUA blocking categories with Danielle Grasman making a particularly strong impact.
To the credit of the Thunderwolves, their block coverage managed to pick up a number of the rejected attacks in an attempt to continue play, but often resulted in the Mustangs slamming the ball right back into the floor.
The Thunderwolves experimented with lineup changes throughout the set in an attempt to slow down the Mustangs point flow, and while they were able to keep rallies going they continued to struggle with holding back Gyimah and Veltman.
Much like the first, the second sent went in Western's favour as they ended with a score of 25-15.
The final set of the game was a more closely contested affair than the previous two, as the two teams were constantly locked in rallies.
Fourth-year libero Courtney Sestric made a large impact for the Mustangs as she was often on the defensive end of some of Lakehead's top attackers, alongside Langegger.
Lakehead held a one-point lead at the technical, after a purple and white ball had flown out of bounds.
Both teams were closely watching the lines and cautious about unnecessarily extending rallies throughout the set, but the practice would come back to bite Lakehead. With Western only a few points away from 25, they allowed a serve from setter Kat Tsiofas to drop in the corner, with Western soon taking the set 25-21 to sweep the match in straight sets.
Nipissing 0 Toronto 3
The University of Toronto Varsity Blues women's volleyball team were at home to the Nipissing Lakers on Saturday afternoon at Goldring Centre. The Blues swept the match 3-0 (25-20, 25-10, 25-14).
With the win Toronto improves to 7-3, while Nipissing falls to 6-4 on the season.
Second-year outside hitter Brianna Patrick had a game-high, and career-high, 16 points off of 14 kills and two aces. Fourth-year left side hitter Anne Feore notched 10 points from eight kills and two aces, while adding six digs. Rookie setter Rayn Perry tallied 30 assists and three digs in the win.
The first set was a see-saw battle but a kill by Brianna Patrick gave the Varsity Blues a 16-15 lead at the technical time out. From there, Toronto held onto the lead and Nipissing never caught up. A final kill from Brianna Patrick sealed the first set, 25-20.
Both teams battled hard to start the second set but Toronto dominated the scoreboard, getting out to a 9-1 lead and with some great work from Feore, the Blues took a 16-5 advantage into the break. U of T continued to dominate, eventually taking the set 25-10.
After a close start in the third set, the Blues pulled away, going on a 5-0 run and, thanks to a highlight-reel dig by Emma Armstrong, took a 16-9 lead into the technical timeout. The Blues closed out the victory and Natasha Lewis notched the final kill, taking the third set 25-14.
York 0 Ryerson 3
TORONTO - With yet another 3-0 (25-12, 25-17, 25-17) victory, this time over the York Lions, the Ryerson Rams have extended their undefeated streak to eleven games and currently sit as the only undefeated women’s volleyball team in all of U SPORTS.
The team has asserted dominance over their opponents all season and tonight was no different. Ryerson would identify a hole in York’s defense early in the game, taking advantage of their deeper defensive positioning to leave the Lions chasing after the Rams’ tips. Coach Dustin Reid said this strategy helped his team early in the game.
“I think one of their strategies is to position players to dig the hard ones and chase the soft ones,” noted Reid after the matchup. “We tried to get them chasing to see if they would make adjustments to that and see what opportunities opened up.”
Ryerson would take a 25-12 victory in the first set. The Rams seemed to struggle at the beginning of every set in tonight’s match, but the team would quickly return to familiar form after a few rallies.
“In each of the sets we started a bit slow, but I think we were patient,” continued Reid. “We finished the sets strong in all three, so that’s good. It’s better to finish strong than to start strong.”
The Rams would take two 25-17 set victories in the second and third to close off the game with a 3-0 match victory. Theanna Vernon (Scarborough, Ont.) led the team with four blocks, and hitter Janelle Albert (Brampton, Ont.) recorded a team-best ten kills on the matchup.
“We definitely had to work really hard to stay focused and bring our momentum back into the game,” said Vernon about the matchup. “I think we played to the weaknesses in York’s defense especially early on in the game. They did adjust towards the end but we were still able to find holes in their defense.”
McMaster 3 Waterloo 0
Displaying the resourcefulness of a winning program, McMaster manufactured a victory Saturday despite never quite finding their top form in Waterloo.
The Marauders improved to 10-1 on the season, and extended their run of successive sets won to 13, with a 25-20, 25-21, 25-16 win over the Warriors.
For a second straight night, second-year middle Hailey Kranics was McMaster's leading scorer, with her ability to chase the slide and connect on the quick set in equal measure resulting in 10 kills on 18 attempts.
Results were mixed on the outside Saturday, but Mac's middle continued to be a reliable source of scoring, as veteran Maicee Sorensen had similar success in firing down seven kills on just 13 attempts.
Despite their own inconsistencies in attack, it was McMaster's ability to grind the Waterloo attack to a halt that ultimately won out, as the Warriors hit just four per cent on the night, and racked up 24 errors versus 29 kills.
Their +5 differential on offence stood in stark contrast to Mac's +28.
Early signs suggested that McMaster might coast Saturday, as the Marauders opened the match with an 11-3 run aided by seven Warriors errors.
Even while the hosts began to clean up their game, Mac seemed well in control as Arsovic killed for 20-12. But a five-point run from Waterloo, capped by a Kelsey Caza ace and Serena Otshudi block had the Warriors within three and suddenly threatening.
The Marauders promptly stabilized, and won four of the next five points to bring up set points, where Arsovic made good on the third by fooling the Warriors block with a cheeky standing roll shot.
Both teams struggled to fashion momentum in the second set, with Mac and Waterloo exchanging short runs into the technical timeout, where the Marauders led 16-14 after a pair of errors from Warriors outside Kayla Wierts.
Waterloo sensed an opportunity to strike late, drawing even at 19 after a rare error from Kranics. But once again, the Marauders were productive when it mattered most, reeling off three straight points from 22-21 to snatch the set, as Kranics, Jill Eisenhauer and Sorensen each knocked down kills.
The knockout blow from the Marauders came at 6-6 in the third, when Mac pieced together a six-point run to take control. A six-point lead at the technical timeout was restored at 20-14 with the help of two Waterloo errors, and McMaster cruised from there.
Kranics' final kill of the night brought up a slew of match points, but the visitors needed just one, as Waterloo's Claire Mackenzie fired well wide to conclude the match.
Brock 1 Guelph 3
GUELPH – Sometimes, young players just need a few good results to turn a season around. The Guelph Gryphons women's volleyball team is trending in that direction after another solid performance in the month of January. The Gryphons started strong and then fought to hold off the Brock Badgers 3-1 Saturday night at the GGAC. Guelph took the first two sets 25-12 and 25-15, while the last two were much closer at 23-25 and 25-23.
Guelph (3-9) has now won two of three matches in 2018, and was competitive in its loss to the OUA West leaders McMaster Friday night. The Gryphons didn't give Brock (3-7) much space early, dictating the play both offensively and defensively, which made it difficult for the Badgers to finish points.
"We talked about wanting to start fast because they played a long five-setter the night before at home," said head coach Paul Funk. "We wanted to jump on them early and did a good job following our game plan. We also made some individual plays, some one-on-one blocks that were big. That really kept them down and gave us energy."
Left side Michaela Hellinga was a force with a match-high 20 kills, 10 digs, and 24.5 points, while middle blocker Libby Donevan had 12 kills and 16.5 points. Middle blocker Jessica Gormley added 6 kills and was a presence up front with 5 blocks. Setter Alex Curran had 39 assists and 10 digs. The Gryphons dominated from a statistical standpoint with more kills (48-38), assists (46-34), aces (8-4), digs (64-48) and blocks (16-11). The Gryphons celebrate a point in 3-1 win over Brock
Guelph went up 2-0 quickly but had to dig deep after that. A Hazel Atkins kill gave Guelph an 11-5 lead in the deciding set. Brock responded with a couple mini runs and then scored five in a row beginning at 24-18 to put the visitors in a position to send the match to a fifth. But Hellinga ended those hopes with her 20thkill of the night, securing the Gryphons' third win on the year.
Brock didn't quit despite being outplayed in the first two sets, jumping out to a 5-2 lead in the third with the help of a couple Guelph attack errors. The Gryphons gathered themselves and an angled Laura Duncan kill got them to within one at 7-6. But Guelph began to waste serves, including an error that put Brock up 24-20. The hosts rattled off three straight points but the Badgers took their only set on an Amy Cureton kill.
"We took our foot off the gas," Funk said of the third set. "We started thinking ahead too much and we lost our focus. I think we missed four serves and had we made even two of those, we might've won the set."
The win gives Guelph an important tiebreak advantage over the Badgers, who beat the Gryphons 3-1 earlier this season but have fewer total points.
Guelph jumped out to a quick lead in the opening set, utilizing a combination of power and defence. Gormley came up with a big block to put the hosts up 8-3. The Badgers rallied but back-to-back blocks, with Donevan involved in both, gave the Gryphons a 13-8 lead. Two straight Brock errors and another block from Hellinga and Gormley stretched the lead to 17-9. Hellinga then cleanly smothered another Badgers kill attempt for a 20-10 lead before Guelph took the first set on a Badgers attack error.
The teams exchanged points early in a second set that was tight for a while. A clean Gormley kill right down the middle of the court tied it 3-3 and minutes later, Duncan stretched high on the right side to block a Brock kill attempt for a 7-6 Guelph lead. The Gryphons got a bit of breathing room after back-to-back Brock errors and a kill from Duncan put them up 14-10. Donevan smashed an errant set from the visitors for a 16-11 lead and Gormley blocked to stretch it to 22-15. The senior then finished it with yet another clean kill that Brock players sprawling.
Funk points to the return of St. Catharines, ON native Donevan, who missed the first half of the season with a fractured foot, and the extra focus on minimizing errors, as to why the team has looked much sharper in 2018. Other than a brief dip in that third set, the Gryphons were upbeat and hungry.
"Libby's presence on the court gives others more confidence," said Funk, adding that he was impressed with rookie Lisa Wedel's work while the veteran was out injured. "They respond when Libby's on the court.
"We're starting to gain some confidence now that we're winning a couple matches. It's easy to be confident and have energy when you're winning."
Trent 2 RMC 3
January 21, 2018
Trent 0 Queen’s 3
KINGSTON, Ont. (January 21, 2018) – The Queen's Gaels (8-3) took their eighth win of the season in three straight sets against the Trent Excalibur (0-10) on Sunday afternoon as the Gaels continue to hold down second in the OUA East. The scores of each set were 25-15, 25-19 and 25-15 respectively.
In the first set, the Gaels took an early lead, as they saw kills by Shannon Neville (Cambridge, Ont.) and Makayla Keith (Calgary) which helped the Gaels keep and continue to hold onto their lead. Keith was particularly strong at the net in the opening set as she teamed with multiple Gaels to win the net game. The Tricolour continued to build on their team work, finding holes in the Excalibur defence. An attack from Julia Wiercigroch(Mississauga, Ont.) ended the first set with a cross-court kill going off the Trent block.
The Gaels kept their momentum going into the second set and managed to take another lead. The Excalibur quickly found their groove and surpassed Queen's taking the lead as they looked to even the match. It was a battle for the lead for most of the set, tying it up several times before the Gaels broke the tie at 14-14. Nicola Ros (North Vancouver, B.C.) stole a beautiful point off a tip just between the block by Trent. Wiercigroch snagged another ace this set, and the Tricolour found a rhythm and began to work together to advance past Trent. Neville had another strong kill bringing the Tricolour to set point, and a serving error by Trent ended the set with a score of 25-18.
The Gaels got off to a rocky start in the third set but managed to reclaim their lead early in the frame. Wiercigroch and Keith found the gaps in the Trent defence and put several kills into the ground for the Gaels. Defensive efforts for Queen's built up their momentum and blocks by Ros and Keith continued the pressure on Trent. The Tricolour continued to work together to keep their lead, and offensive efforts by Keith and Neville solidified the win. The match ended with a cross-court kill by Keith and a score of 25-13.
Western 3 Lakehead 0
THUNDER BAY, Ont. - In a repeat performance of yesterday's win, the Mustangs topped the Lakehead Thunderwolves in straight sets on Sunday afternoon at the C.J. Sanders Field House.
The game saw the Mustangs play one of their cleanest matches all season, with unforced errors almost fully eradicated from the three set effort.
With the win, Western remains in second place in the OUA West with an 8-3 record. The Thunderwolves record now sits at 3-9, and in a three way tie for fifth alongside Brock and Guelph.
Kelsey Veltman led the team with 11 points, white Taylor Beedie followed with eight. Lakehead's Rheanna Geisel was the highest scoring athlete of the game, recording 15.5 points.
Western wasted no time in asserting their dominance over the Thunderwolves and managed to keep their opponents at arm's length for the entirety of the opening set.
Middles Veltman and Danielle Grasman served as the anchors of the purple and white offensive game and had no problem cutting through the block that gave the team trouble in their previous match.
Grasman's diverse skill set has made her one of the greatest assets on the Mustang roster, as she also throws up an imposing block and is one of the most consistently impressive servers in purple and white.
The decision to heavily feature the middles came from Jessica Lam - a graduate of the Pakmen Volleyball Program - who stepped in as starting setter.
An ace from Beedie brought an end to the set, giving the Mustangs a 25-14 win.
Beedie would play an even larger roll in the success of the purple and white contingent in the second set as she became the preferred target for Lam, alongside perennial standout Veltman.
Head coach Melissa Bartlett also moved second year middle Kate Ferguson into the rotation as her height became one of the greatest weapons in the Mustangs arsenal.
Lakehead stepped up their net defence in the second frame after failing to consistently stop the Mustang attack. Statistically, Haleigh Kearns would make the biggest impact, but several more blocks were posted by Leah Mousseau and Geisel only to be be saved by Western's block coverage.
Improved tracking and timing on the part of the Thunderwolves blockers prevented the Mustangs from running away with things as they did in the previous set. However, the defensive effort as helmed by Courtney Sestric allowed the Mustangs to take the second set as well, this time by a five-point margin (25-20).
Set three again saw Western take an early lead, but Geisel prevented the Mustangs from moving too far ahead of the Thunderwolves on the scoreboard.
However, scrappy defensive play on the part of both teams was arguably more impactful on the set as a whole. Both teams managed to continue play after seemingly sure fire kills, while also running far outside the court on more than one occasion in an attempt to continue play.
Liberos Sestric and Ciara Zarn, alongside Geisel were all standouts on the floor, and responsible for the lengthy rallies that defined the third set.
The final score (25-18) was solidly in favour of the Mustangs, though it didn't reflect the strong play on both sides of the court in the third set.
Nipissing 1 Ryerson 3
TORONTO - Taking to the court with a varied lineup, the Ryerson Rams took a 3-1 (25-16, 20-25, 25-15, 25-15) victory over the Nipissing Lakers Sunday afternoon at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
A weak start to the first and second sets left the Rams in an unfamiliar position. The team’s streak of 12 consecutive set wins was snapped in the second set against the Lakers, as the Rams found themselves tied up at 1-1 against Nipissing heading into the third.
In the first and second sets alone, the Rams had 17 unforced errors and an uncharacteristically low hitting percentage (-.036% in the first, .100% in the second). Hitter Lauren Veltman (Brampton, Ont.) said the team took some time to regain their composure heading into the final sets.
“The second we started making mistakes it kinda brought everyone down,” said Veltman after the matchup. “I think everyone realized ‘This is not how we play. This is not what we can do. Let’s stop stressing out and just do our thing.’”
The Rams returned to familiar form in the third and fourth sets of the game, taking two 25-15 set victories and claiming a 3-1 victory in the match. Head coach Dustin Reid said he saw a lot of improvement heading into the final two sets of the game.
“We didn’t make very many mistakes in our serving and in our attacking [in the third and fourth set],” noted Reid. “We were able to get a little bit more distance between our opponent, which then there isn’t as much pressure.”
Several freshman players saw some time on the floor during this matchup, including Molly Peters (Surrey, B.C.), Olivia Yang (Vancouver, B.C.), Kelly Schaefer (Uxbridge, Ont.) and setter Alicia Lam (Oakville, Ont.).
York 1 Toronto 3
Alina Dormann and Jenna Woock each tallied a game-high 17.5 points in leading the University of Toronto Varsity Blues women's volleyball team to a 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-5) victory over the York Lions on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 21) at Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport.
The win on Toronto's fourth annual OVA Day improves their record to 8-3 and moves them into a tie for second place with the Queen's Gaels.
Woock led all players with 14 kills with a .722 attack percentage, while adding 3.5 blocks and seven digs on the day. Dormann recorded 12 kills, 3.5 blocks and two aces, while adding 10 digs.
Sophomore outside hitter Brianna Patrick had another solid game, notching 11 points off of 10 kills and one ace, and added 11 digs. Rookie setter Rayn Perry tallied 37 assists and a team-high 15 digs in the win.
The first set was close from start to finish. The Blues took a narrow 16-15 lead into the technical timeout, but the Lions kept pace and edged Toronto, 25-23, to take a 1-0 match lead.
The Blues began to pull away in the second set and a big kill from Anna Licht gave Toronto a 16-12 lead at the break. York attempted to bring the game within reach but a final kill from Natasha Lewis evened the match at 1-1, 25-18.
U of T dominated the early goings of the third set and a Feore kill put the home team up 16-11 at the technical timeout. The Lions again rallied to bring the game within three, but the Blues prevailed with a kill from Woock and final ace from Dormann, to take the set 25-21.
The fourth set was all Toronto as the Blues sealed the victory with a 25-5 fourth set win.