By Todd Ash-Duah
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold men’s volleyball team dropped to 0-4 in the season after losing to the McMaster University Marauders in three sets at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) on Nov. 18.
The crowd at the MAC was live to start this game off, but the home squad was unable to feed off that energy in the beginning. The Marauders dominated the first two sets before TMU fought valiantly in the third, showing a lot of heart and mental toughness.
“We played free and kind of took it as a learning opportunity, going up against a team like McMaster,” said third-year middle blocker Alex King. ”And we know that if we can play well against a team like that, we can play well against anybody.”
McMaster got off to a strong start on the road, as they went on a 5-0 run early in the first set. The Marauders defence and athleticism were on full display early on and outside hitter Sam Cooper was unstoppable, seemingly earning kills for his team in bunches as the Bold lost the first set 25-15.
The second set started with the Marauders picking up where they left off from the opener, going up 7-2 in the early goings.
However, a monster kill by TMU outside hitter Omari Young got the crowd at the MAC fired up, as it was abundantly clear that the Bold were not going to go down without a fight.
Nonetheless, McMaster capitalized on numerous mistakes and ball-handling errors by the Bold, and won the second set 25-14.
The third set got off with TMU scoring the first two points. However, the Marauders were undeterred, as they immediately responded with a 7-1 run, a recurring theme throughout the game.
Bold outside hitter Jacob Walker answered with a fantastic serve, as the Bold clawed their way back into the set and took a narrow 8-7 lead.
“I was really impressed with our effort and battle, especially in that third set,” said TMU interim head coach Niko Rukavina.
The two teams emerged in a back-and-forth affair during the final set, punctuated by second-year outside hitter Kai Higuchi scoring three consecutive points to tie the set at 20. The crowd at the MAC continued to explode with cheers for the home team.
However, in the end McMaster retook the lead, one they wouldn’t relinquish, as they took home the final set 25-23.
The Bold showed a lot of resiliency, and will hope to carry that momentum into Sunday’s game against Windsor and notch their first victory of the season.
“We kind of had a no pressure type of mindset coming into this one, knowing that they are the defending champs,” said Rukavina. “We kind of got caught up in the first two sets, but in the third set, we just played free and that helped us to put together a nice run at the end.”
UP NEXT: The Bold take on the University of Windsor Nov. 20 on the road. First serve is set for 4 p.m.