Taylor Hunt felt the floor shaking beneath him on Friday night.
The heavily-tattooed Alberta Golden Bears outside hitter stepped up to serve with his team down 24-23 in the first set of the CIS men’s volleyball quarter-final against the Queen’s Gaels.
With 1,806 fans chanting “Taylor sucks,” he served into the net to give the Gaels a one-set lead.
“I can’t blame it on anyone but myself. [Serving]’s the only skill in volleyball that’s completely in your control.”
The crowd didn’t let up on Hunt for the rest of the game. He finished with 13.5 points, but also had four serving errors.
Queen’s upset the higher-seeded Golden Bears 3-1 and won a spot in the CIS semifinal against the first-seed Trinity Western Spartans.
“Didn’t have the best game of my life, but it’s over now,” Hunt said.
Hunt stands 6’5 and sports a blond ponytail. He said he’s used to being heckled, even though All-Canadian Mitch Irvine is the Golden Bears’ leading scorer.
“It’s usually me, because I have a ponytail and I have an old reputation of letting people get under my skin easily,” he said.
Hunt experienced similar crowd taunting at Trinity Western’s home court in Langley, B.C.
“Guys were dressed like me, with long hair, with ponytails,” he said.
Friday night was a bittersweet homecoming for the Ontario native. Hunt said his friends were cheering against him in the stands.
“Kind of unfortunate,” he said. “That kind of shit happens.”
The Golden Bears rebounded to beat the Dalhousie Tigers 3-0 in a Saturday consolation semifinal. Hunt led his team with eight kills, an assist and two digs.
Alberta will play the Calgary Dinos in the tournament’s fifth-place match on Sunday. The two teams met in last weekend’s Canada West bronze medal game, where the Golden Bears prevailed 3-1.
Hunt said he’ll be in the crowd to watch the Gaels tonight. He knows four players on Queen’s starting lineup and Queen’s middle Mike Amoroso is one of his best friends. The two players were on the same club team before university.
“I’m not rooting for Queen’s and I’m not rooting for Trinity [in tonight’s semifinal] because I want to be there, but it’s going to be fun to watch,” Hunt said.
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