Warriors’ volleyball breaks even on busy weekend back-to-back

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Varun Venkataramanan

The men’s and women’s volleyball teams were in action over the weekend, squaring off against the Windsor Lancers and Western Mustangs on back-to-back days at the PAC. Both teams split their games, sweeping Windsor on Nov. 16 but losing to strong Western teams the next day. 

The women entered the weekend ranked 8th in the nation, looking to get back into the win column after a heartbreaking five-set loss to Ryerson a week ago.

Dating back to 2017, the Warriors hadn’t dropped a single set to the Lancers, winning their five matchups by a combined score of 15-0. Therefore it was no surprise to the home crowd when UW jumped out to a commanding 20-9 lead in the first set.

However, the Lancers put up a fight, storming back to within two points before the Warriors were finally able to close out the set 25-21. 

Both teams traded points in the second set until a kill by Sarah Glynn put the Lancers away 25-19. The Warriors, up 22-14, again looked to be in control in the third, but 11 unanswered points by the Lancers allowed them to rally and take the set 25-14. Fortunately, UW regained its composure and used a nine-point run to close out the fourth set 25-17 and take the victory.

Glynn was outstanding for the Warriors, racking up 25 kills and 10 digs in the match. Claire Gange had an excellent performance as well, with 53 assists and nine digs to help her team.

The men’s game began right after the women’s, but with a much different feel. Windsor’s men were dominant from the start, beginning the game with a 5-0 run and comfortably winning the first set 25-14. 

Warriors’ Jacob Nesbitt left the game midway through the first with an ankle injury. The Lancers continued their strong play in the second set, winning 25-19 thanks to numerous unforced errors by UW. 

Down 2-0 and missing a key member of their rotation, it looked like the Lancers would cruise to victory. 

But the Warriors had other ideas. They cleaned up their game and used a balanced attack to win the third set 25-20. In the third, UW rallied back from a six-point deficit before closing out the set 25-21 with a string of eight straight kills. They rode their momentum into the fifth set, winning 15-13 thanks to a strong serving performance by Joel Semplonius. 

It was a team effort by the Warriors, who had three players with double-digit kills. Colm Guyn had a strong passing game, finishing with 40 assists and seven digs. It was also the team’s first win of the season.

Both teams looked to continue their winning ways the next day, but the visiting Western Mustangs had other ideas. 

The women’s team jumped out to a 25-22 first-set victory led by Ella Stewart’s five kills. However, for the rest of the match, the Mustangs loaded Stewart’s side of the court with blockers and the Warriors failed to adjust. Western cruised through the second set 25-10, before taking the third set 25-22 despite a late fight by UW’s Karen Fan and Serena Otshudi. A 25-10 fourth set victory secured the win for the visitors who now sit atop OUA’s Western Conference.

Western’s Kate Ferguson led her team to victory with 14 kills and 18.5 points, while Glynn was again the star for Waterloo, finishing the match with 16 kills, 11 digs, and 18.5 points.

The Warriors were plagued by unforced errors, hitting numerous serves beyond the baseline and failing to consistently read their opponents shots.

Following the weekend, the women’s team is third in the OUA West with a 3-3 record. It has been a disappointing start to the season for the defending OUA bronze medalists. 

The Warriors’ men’s team struggled from the opening serve against Western and were simply unable to build any sort of momentum. The Lancers used their strong attack to take the match in straight sets, 25-22, 25-23, 25-23. The loss dropped Waterloo to a 6-1 record at the bottom of the OUA West.

Nesbitt led UW with 7 kills and 10.5 points in his return from injury. Guyn pitched in with 23 assists as well. 

The teams will be back in action with a doubleheader on Nov. 22 at home against the Brock Badgers. It will be a big game for the women’s team, who need a win to get their season back on track.