By Todd Ash-Duah
The Toronto Metropolitan (TMU) Bold men’s volleyball team defeated the Royal Military College (RMC) Paladins 3-1 on Nov. 18 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
Seeking to win their second straight game after an 0-4 start to the season, TMU came out firing. RMC made things interesting with a set win—their first of the season—but the Bold pulled away to secure the victory.
The Bold were also celebrating Pride Night for the second straight season. The crowd at the MAC was electric as the team fed off of the energy in the early going.
“It was great,” said Bold third-year outside hitter Lyam Krapp. “Being to play in front of the crowd, supporting a good cause…feels great.”
The Bold went up 18-8 in the early going of the first set, forcing RMC to call two quick timeouts. Coming out of the Paladins’ second timeout, fourth-year middle Alex King hit a monster kill as the Bold went on to win the first set convincingly 25-9.
To begin the second set, TMU continued their hot start to the game by going up 8-2, highlighted by King’s offence. A stoppage in play came shortly afterwards as first-year Paladins middle hitter Alex Goddyn went down with what looked like an ankle injury and had to be removed from the game.
After the short break, the Paladins began to slowly crawl their way back into the set, going on a 17-9 run to take a 19-17 lead. The Bold’s hitting percentage had dipped down to 0.185 in the second set. They also committed six errors in the frame after committing zero in the first set.
With both teams going back and forth throughout the second set. Third-year Bold middle hitter Bobby Tang notched his third kill of the game, tying the game at 23 resulting in a Paladins timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, both teams exchanged kills before third-year outside hitter Lucas Yang notched his second kill of the game. Not to be outdone, RMC struck back as second-year outside hitter David Feher notched a kill of his own.
It was clear that the second set was going to go down to the wire as they needed a tiebreaker to break the deadlock at 25-25.
In the tiebreaker, a long rally ended with a block by first-year middle hitter Alex Tessier as the Paladins took a 27-26 lead.
Shortly afterwards, another block–this time by second-year outside hitter Maciej Tereszko–clinched the second set for the Paladins. The Bold’s hitting percentage fell from 0.556 to 0.216 in the set.
“They kind of pushed back on us and we kind of let them take [control of the game],” said interim head coach Niko Rukavina. “[We] were just scrambling to keep up, [we] kind of got chaotic and kind of got caught playing RMC’s game there.”
The Paladins picked up right where they left off to begin the third set, with second-year outside hitter Cameron Moar racking up his 11th kill of the game to give RMC a 2-1 lead.
TMU would respond by outscoring RMC 19-12 to take a 20-13 lead, accentuated by another kill by King—his 12th of the game. The Paladins’ self-inflicted wounds were beginning to cost them, as they committed eight attack errors to the Bold’s two.
After an RMC timeout, a service ace by Krapp and an attack error by Tereszko allowed TMU to put a bow on the third set, taking the frame 25-17.
“I thought Lyam had a pretty good game,” said Rukavina. “We had two injuries to Ben [Davey] and [Nicholas Hudson], our more veteran left-side hitters over the past couple of weeks. So, we had an opportunity for some younger guys to step up and Lyam took that and ran with it.”
The fourth set started with the Bold jumping out to a 9-4 lead, which was driven by a blistering 0.667 hitting percentage. The Bold stayed in cruise control in the heart of the set, jumping out to a 19-10 lead.
TMU would put the match away with a block by third-year outside hitter Kai Higuchi to take the final set, 25-13. While the Bold defeated the Paladins for the second consecutive night—staying undefeated all-time against RMC with a 12-0 record—the Bold didn’t have it easy against a hungry RMC team.
“Coming into an away gym, the first game is always super tough,” said King. “The second game, you kind of get to adjust, so [we] definitely expected more of a challenge and they did, especially in the second, third and fourth set. But we just came out [and got the job done].”
UP NEXT: The Bold take on the McMaster Marauders at Burridge Gym in Hamilton, Ont. on Nov. 25. First serve is set for 3 p.m.