Young and hungry

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With a fairly young yet talented squad, Charles Vanegas analyzes whether or not the men’s volleyball team has a chance at making the playoffs

From the beginning of last season, the main question surrounding the men’s volleyball team was whether or not they possessed the depth and consistency that is essential to beating good teams and making a legitimate playoff run. Although they aren’t lacking talent, in all but two matches, the Rams lost in either three or four sets last season, proving that they needed to improve the depth of their squad.

“I thought we were better than our record showed,” said middle-blocker Roman Kabanov of the team’s 6-14 record.

Despite a fresh beginning in 2011, those questions of depth and consistency won’t be going away any time soon, as all but three of their players are in their first two seasons with the team.

“Last year we made too many unforced errors. As a team, we have better ball control and have been making a lot less [errors],” says team captain and third-year player Robby Earl.

The absence of veterans such as Chris McLaughlin, Brett Penrose and Greg McDonald means that the team is significantly shorter and has less spiking power than in past years. It also means that at least half of the team’s starters will either be rookies or inexperienced second-year players.

With such a young team, the Rams will be lacking Ontario University Athletics (OUA) experience, which may take them longer to develop into a cohesive unit than it would a veteran squad. However, if the Rams can figure out their team chemistry during games that they’re “supposed to lose,” they should be in prime shape when facing middle-of-the-road teams they struggled against last season

Head coach Mirek Porosa, who is entering his 17th year as the team’s head coach, and his young team will be challenged early on this season: three of their first five league games are against Guelph, McMaster and Western, who finished a combined 49-11 last season.

“They’ve been gelling faster than expected,” said Porosa about his team. “Even though we are young, we may surprise some [teams] this year.”

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