By Sam Beaudoin
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold’s women’s volleyball team took down the University of Guelph Gryphons for a second consecutive night on Saturday, winning in four sets at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
The two squads took to the court to face one another for the second time in just 24 hours, with Guelph looking to split the doubleheader after TMU easily cruised to victory on Friday night.
“Guelph was really tough tonight,” said TMU head coach Dustin Reid. “We didn’t let their strong play affect our state of mind, I thought that was really key.”
Both sides looked to head into the holiday break on a positive note, with the match marking the final game of the semester for each team.
The Gryphons came out looking hungry to get back in the win column in the first set, playing much sharper volleyball than they did on Friday night.
“I think they played with a little more grit and emotion,” said Reid. “Their two left sides were really effective and aggressive.”
Despite a strong start from Guelph, the Bold found their game in the middle of the set. Led by fourth-year middle Katelyn Grasman, who established herself at the net with a number of kills and blocks.
The end of the set saw numerous lengthy rallies with both teams exchanging powerful attacks. TMU was able to salvage the final points of the set with help from their lethal front court duo of Mikayla Sherriffs and Julie Moore who each recorded massive swings to put Guelph away 25-20.
“I think they stepped up their game and game planned harder for us this match,” said Moore. “I don’t think we had a super energetic start…we had to pull out some different ways to get points.”
The Gryphons came out strong to start the second, getting out to a 6-1 lead early and maintaining that momentum throughout the set.
But the Bold were able to hang around overcoming that deficit and staying within a couple of points of Guelph.
A late set timeout from Reid propelled the Bold to even it up late and take the lead as the set drew to a close. The duo of Scarlett Gingera and Moore took over late, coming up with massive kills to win the tightly contested second set, 27-25.
“In the second set they played super well, we were under a lot of stress,” said Reid. “Key serving runs towards the end gave us a tremendous amount of confidence.”
It was more of the same to start the third, as TMU continued to dominate the match at the net and got out to an early 8-4 lead. Despite the strong start by the Bold, Guelph fought back, taking a late 20-18 lead and not looking back. The Gryphons won the set 25-22.
“The third set we let slip away, but to respond the way we did in the fourth was probably the highlight of the night,” said Reid.
The Bold responded to kick off the fourth set and a pair of kills from Gingera got TMU out to an early 5-1 lead, resulting in a Guelph timeout.
“I think we execute our system really well…if we stay focused and do what we have to do I think we’ll be really good this year,” said Gingera.
TMU continued to take it to the Gryphons following the timeout, continuing to dominate at the net. Second-year hitter Jia Lonardi came up big, connecting on four of her match kills.
The Bold never looked back and cruised to 25-13 fourth-set victory.
TMU wraps up the semester with a 5-4 record and will return to the court on Jan. 7 against Trent University.
“[I’m] thrilled for the girls, we knew today was gonna be tougher and it was a lot tougher,” said Reid. “We can look back at the first half as a really satisfying one for us.”
UP NEXT: TMU heads into the holiday break looking to build off the momentum they established towards the end of the semester. Their first match back is on Jan. 7 against Trent University.