By Raphael Chahinian
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold women’s volleyball team extended their win streak to three after a four-set victory over the Western University Mustangs at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) on Wednesday night.
The match was initially scheduled to be played on Oct. 28, 2023 but was rescheduled due to the referees failing to attend the match.
Although the Bold only lost one set, the match was a battle from start to finish, with both teams going blow for blow with each other.
“We did a great job of staying calm in those high-pressure moments in the later sets,” said third-year Bold hitter Scarlett Gingera. The Calgary product tied her career-high with 21 kills that she had previously achieved against the Mustangs in five sets earlier this season.
“Offensively, I was just trying to attack higher and stay aggressive,” said Gingera.
TMU fired on all cylinders and started the first by going on a dominant 8-1 run—highlighted by monster kills from fourth-year middle Ashley Ditchfield. The Bold held on, going point-for-point with Western until the Mustangs caught their stride.
The Mustangs flipped a switch and went on a 12-3 run led by first-year hitter Lael Harrison and a terrific serving game.
“I give a lot of credit to Western. They serve very well [and] made very few errors and kept us under pressure a lot,” said Bold head coach Dustin Reid.
The Bold channelled the momentum that they had at the start of the set to close it off with a score of 25-22.
The second set was more back-and-forth volleyball with both teams looking hungry for the win. The Bold kept the intensity high after fourth-year right side Mikayla Sherriffs and third-year libero Mary Rioflorido got into a small collision after they both dove out of bounds in an attempt to keep the ball in play.
“We definitely did a good job of staying relentless and not taking our foot off the gas throughout the entirety of the set,” said Reid.
Later in the set, the Mustangs rallied back with three straight kills at the net. After a quick TMU timeout, the home side ended the set with a four-to-one run to win the second frame at 25-20.
After a back-and-forth start in the third set, where neither team held more than a two-point lead, Western stayed with the theme of the night. The visitors went on another run, this time led by their fourth-year hitter Devin Gerth who had multiple strong plays at the net.
“Their left side was really killing us down the line and we had to refocus to stay in the set,” said Gingera.
Gingera slammed two kills to take a 26-25 lead in the later stages of the frame, but the Bold couldn’t close out the last point as the Mustangs forced a tiebreaker. The visitors then took home the third set in thrilling fashion with a score of 29-27.
Going into the final frame, the Bold looked tired and the Mustangs took an early lead after more flawless serving.
Both sides traded blows yet again as they had an early rally with 25-plus touches that ended with a Western kill.
“We came together in the huddles and knew that we needed to end the rallies quicker to keep the game close,” said Ditchfield.
Shortly after, the Mustangs tried to slow down the Bold by interrupting their 3-0 run with a timeout, but it had the opposite effect.
The Bold closed out the fourth and final set with a 3-1 run, including multiple clutch blocks from Ditchfield.
“It was nice to settle ourselves in those high-pressure moments…and I tried to stay really disciplined with my blocking today and really key in on who was in the front row,” she said.
The Bold have four games remaining in their schedule before heading into the playoffs.
“It was a great night tonight,” said Reid. “Our focus is getting results in the next couple of weeks before playoffs.”
UP NEXT: The Bold will face off against the Trent University Excalibur on Friday at 6 p.m. at the MAC.