By Kaden Nanji
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold women’s volleyball team took down the Royal Military College (RMC) Paladins in four sets on Nov. 18 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) while celebrating Pride Night.
After losing the first set to a determined Paladins team, the young Bold squad fought back to win the next three sets to improve to 4-3 on the season. The win coincided with the Bold’s second annual Pride Night, which saw players, coaches and spectators donning the special edition Bold Pride t-shirts.
“There aren’t many more important social issues than the understanding that you can love anybody and understanding that being a human offers human rights,” said Bold head coach Dustin Reid on the importance of Pride Night.
The Paladins got off to an early lead after a series of attack and serve errors made by the Bold. However, three huge blocks and a kill by fourth-year middle Ashley Ditchfield—who currently ranks second in the Ontario University Athletics for blocks per game—helped the Bold gain momentum as they closed the lead to one.
Coming out of a timeout, RMC went on a 9-2 run through a series of adept hits and a plethora of errors made by the Bold. The Bold continued to push, narrowing the lead to one point at 23-22, but a costly service error—their nineteenth error of the first set—gave RMC the chance to finish the set.
A forceful kill by second-year setter Jayda Phillipson helped seal the first set of the game for the Paladins, which subsequently served as their first set win of the season.
“We came out in the first set expecting to see the RMC we saw yesterday and they played much better,” said Reid. “And it’s really not acceptable not to be ready to compete.”
The Paladins started off the second set similar to the first, going up 3-1 quickly. Nevertheless, the continued efforts from the Bold began to pay off after an emphatic slam down the middle by first-year outside hitter Tyra Krapp got the audience roaring with delight.
The entrance of third-year outside hitter Scarlett Gingera also provided a boost to the Bold’s invigorated offence. After a sequence of kills by Gingera, coupled with a string of acrobatic digs by third-year libero Mary Rioflorido, the Bold cruised to a 25-16 win in the second set.
“I felt like my coaches and teammates trusted me tonight, so that gave me confidence,” said Krapp on her career-high eight kills and 12 digs.
The Bold began the third set with two service aces. From there, things began to look the same as the previous set. Rioflorido continued to dive across the court to keep the ball alive, running through the sanctions at one point to pass the ball to Gingera who slammed it home.
Two kills by Krapp ultimately put away the set, which ended in a 25-11 blowout for the Bold.
“We knew it was a matter of taking care of the ball on our side,” noted Ditchfield on the adjustments the Bold made after the first set. “We just had to stay determined and execute our game plan.”
RMC regained their composure to start the fourth set. Both teams engaged in a back-and-forth effort with the Paladins constantly in the lead. However, a pair of kills by Ditchfield helped kickstart an 11-2 run for the Bold.
The momentum continued for the Bold. Third-year setter Sarah Zonneveld pulled off a quick fake pass—which turned to a crafty dump—followed by a massive hit by Gingera, to give the Bold the win after four sets.
“Getting blocks and digs is a really important part of the match and it really fires us up,” said Ditchfield on how the Bold’s defensive strength helped translate to the win.
The Bold look to extend their two-game win streak as they prepare to take on the undefeated McMaster Marauders, who are known for their offensive and defensive acumen.
“I think the opportunity to travel and play in a great facility there, against a great team, is something that should be easy to get up for,” said Reid on their next matchup.
UP NEXT: TMU heads on the road to take on the Marauders in Hamilton, Ont. on Nov. 25. First serve is set to fly at 1:00 p.m.