After defeating the York Lions in their semifinal match, Waterloo’s men’s volleyball team claimed silver as they were unable to prevent the McMaster Marauders from winning their third-straight OUA title. </p>
However, with their victory over the Lions, the Warriors guaranteed themselves a spot in this year’s national CIS championship, taking place in Saskatoon Feb. 27-March 1. It’s the Warriors’ first appearance at CIS in 20 years.
The Marauders showed why they’re Canada’s top ranked team — heavy favourites to win it all at CIS this weekend as well — when they made quick work of the Warriors, cruising to a straight-sets victory (25-18, 25-20, 25-21) on Feb. 21.
Fifth-year middle Jordan Dyck’s efforts kept the Warriors somewhat competitive throughout the match, collecting nine kills and three blocks, leading the way in both categories.
The result and mood was very different earlier in the tournament on Feb. 20 when the Warriors defeated the Lions in a four-set marathon match (27-29, 25-22, 25-21, 25-21).
Dyck and Zachary Doherty had stellar performances. Dyck recorded eight kills and five blocks, providing a tough presence at the net. Doherty collected an impressive 16 kills and two blocks in the contest.
Their efforts, as mentioned above, not only allowed the Warriors to advance to the OUA gold medal game, but also to qualify for nationals — the CIS championship tournament.
With the victory, this year’s young and inexperienced squad has reached further into the playoffs than last year’s team, which featured a more experienced, veteran group.
Last year, the Warriors lost in straight sets against the Western Mustangs in the OUA semifinals, failing to qualify and compete in the CIS championship. That year’s version of the Mustangs went on to claim silver at nationals. The Mustangs have been the team responsible for ending the Warriors’ bid to advance to the CIS championships for three straight years.
This year’s team got their revenge against the Mustangs as they knocked them out of the playoffs to advance to the OUA final four tournament in Hamilton.
The Warriors are entering this year’s CIS championship ranked sixth in the country with golden aspirations. They were set to face the Alberta Golden Bears — the defending champions — in a quarter-finals match on Feb. 26, but the results were posted after printing deadline.
Update: The Warriors lost in a straight-sets match against Alberta Thursday afternoon.