By Jakob Emil Kristensen
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold men’s volleyball team suffered a tight 3-1 loss to the University of Windsor Lancers on Nov. 5 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
In the second game of a back-to-back between the two programs, the Bold were looking to pull out a win after a close game on Saturday went to five sets. Despite another tight game with two TMU comebacks in the third and fourth sets, TMU couldn’t secure the win.
“Pretty happy with the response to being down, but every time you lose at home you are a little bit frustrated,” said TMU interim head coach Niko Rukavina.
Windsor third-year outside hitter Gustavo Siqueira, who had 15 kills in the first game, picked up right where he left off, with the first kill of the game. This would just be the start of a dominant Windsor set, where they would take an early 9-4 lead.
A kill by third-year outside hitter Nick Hudson led to the first Bold point in six plays and kickstarted a small hope of a comeback as the Bold would bring the score to 16-9 during the next few rounds of plays.
Yet, the comeback was never completed and Windsor took the first set 25-16.
“Yesterday was the exact same outcome, we lost the first set 25-17. Stuff happens, that’s why it’s five sets. You win big, lose big,” said last year’s OUA first-team all-star and fourth-year middle Alex King.
As lopsided as the first set was in the Lancers’ favour, the second set would be much more of a nail-biter. The two sides swapped points initially until a couple of attack errors by first-year outside hitter Day Westell and King led to a 10-6 Windsor lead.
The Bold would fight back and an ace by King would tie the game before a kill by Hudson moments later secured the first lead of the game for the Bold.
As King brought the Bold within a single score of Windsor’s 24, the Bold eyed an opportunity to extend the set and force a tiebreaker. There was a lot of pressure on third-year Bold outside hitter Lucas Yang, whose serve hit the net, ultimately giving Windsor a controlling 2-0 lead.
For a moment, it looked like the third set would be the decider as Windsor stormed out to a commanding 18-11 lead. But unlike the first set, the Bold had a successful comeback.
Seven consecutive points from the Bold would tie up the game. It was none other than King, who had a game-high of 29 kills, who got the pivotal marker for TMU to even the score.
With the game tied at 23 apiece, the entire MAC held its breath as King stepped behind the backline to serve a crucial ball for the lead. The wait paid off, as King scored an ace. Moments later the team would erupt in cheers as yet another kill by King gave the Bold the win in the set, cutting the Lancers lead in half.
“I find the most useful thing to do in those situations is just don’t think about anything, keep swinging hard. Playing the way you have been playing the entire set. [The] score doesn’t mean nothing,” said King about the crucial serve.
Windsor would pull away with a big 19-13 lead in the fourth set, but the Bold began fighting back. Third-year Bold outside hitter Kai Higuchi spiked the ball directly into first-year Windsor libero Quintin Greenidge. The ball bounced into the back of a Windsor player and brought the Bold within one point towards the end.
But, it wasn’t enough as Windsor pulled away with a 25-22 win in the set and a 3-1 victory of the match.
Even though the season has started with two losses, Rukavina is not too concerned going forward.
“First semester we are not too concerned with wins and losses. We are just about growing and getting better as a unit and then getting ready for next weekend,” he said.
UP NEXT: The next challenge for the Bold will be in St. Catharines, Ont. when they face off against the Brock Badgers on Nov. 10 and 11.