By Dexter LeRuez
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold men’s volleyball team took to the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) on Saturday and got revenge on the York University Lions, winning in straight sets.
The Lions and the Bold faced off in the second match of a back-to-back series which began with York ending TMU’s five-game winning streak the night before.
“At the end of the day, it’s the other Toronto team,” said third-year middle Alex King. “It really adds some more motivation. I think us, York and UofT [University of Toronto] anytime one of us match up it really gets some more intensity out there.”
For TMU’s interim head coach Niko Rukavina, the loss gave the Bold a chance to adjust to the Lions’ playstyle.
“We talked about how we executed our game plan pretty negatively yesterday,” said Rukavina. “I think we could have done a lot better job of our game plan execution.”
With a renewed focus on executing their game plan, the Bold came out strong, never letting the Lions into the first set as they coasted to a 25-13 win.
But adjustments weren’t the only reason for the Bold’s dominance. York’s points leader Josh Fadare was out for Saturday’s game after sustaining a lower-body injury the previous night.
The second set was a closer affair for the Bold. However, after York brought the set to a 2-2 tie, TMU didn’t trail the Lions again, eventually winning the set 25-19.
The Bold’s hitting game was at full strength on Saturday with second-year standout Jacob Walker leading the way for TMU as the team achieved a season-high .435 hitting percentage against the Lions.
“After looking at the game tape from yesterday we realized that a lot of guys weren’t swinging whenever they should,” said King. “And today we really just told everybody to be confident out there and just swing on any ball that you think you can end the rally on.”
On the other side of the court, the Lions’ service game struggled, only managing a single ace—a stark difference from the seven aces the Lions had scored just one day earlier.
“After seeing their serves after a match it gives us [insight],” said Rukavina. “That’s why I like these doubleheaders, because you can kinda see what they are gonna bring.”
The Lions put up their toughest fight of the match in the final set, pushing the score to 15-15. However, unlike Friday night, the Bold held strong and managed to go on a 10-2 run to close out the match in 25-17 fashion.
Saturday’s win puts the Bold’s record at 6-7 on the season. After starting the year on a six-game losing streak, the Bold have put themselves in a position to have a winning percentage over .500 for the first time this season.
And the Bold couldn’t ask for a better opportunity to come out with that winning record. The team heads to Kingston Ont. to take on the winless Royal Military College Paladins in a back-to-back series in two weeks’ time.
“We kinda planned this weekend around that knowing that we got a little bit of a bye before these matches,” said Rukavina. “We’ll take some time this week and watch ourselves and try to improve our game, have a nice little rest weekend which is gonna be needed after these back-to-back weekends.”
UP NEXT: The Bold will head to Kingston Ont. in two weeks’ time to take on the Royal Military College in a back-to-back series, with game one taking place on Jan. 27 at 8 p.m.