Men’s volleyball goes one for two

The men’s volleyball team lost to the defending OUA champions, the McMaster Marauders, in four sets on the road Saturday, but rebounded to beat the Guelph Gryphons in four sets Sunday.

Head coach Brenda Willis said passing errors made the difference against the Marauders.

“I thought right off the bat we had a little trouble controlling the pace of the serve at McMaster, and consequently we put two or three, maybe even four balls too far, just over the net out of reach of our setter and, of course, we ate those,” she said.

Willis said the Gaels played well against a tough opponent, but they need more consistency.

“Mac is a good team,” she said. “We knew we’d have to go in and play really well to beat them, and I thought we showed moments of greatness, but our serve-receive wasn’t consistent enough and we still are making too many serving errors. At times, we would get a little run and get some momentum and do some good things, but then we’d terminate ourselves at the serving line.”

Willis said the team will keep working on its serving and passing in practice, but she’s already seen improvements from the start of the year.

“That’s been a focus and that will continue to be a focus, but we took a set and it’s getting closer,” she said.

Willis said the team played better on Sunday against Guelph.

“We started to come together in the Guelph game,” she said. “I thought we did better against Guelph with more confidence. After the first two sets, we really settled in and I thought [setter] Dan Rosenbaum ran a really fluid offence. He got one-man block situations.”

Willis said second-year outside hitter Niko Rukavina was the team’s star of the weekend. He put up 13 kills on 18 attempts against Guelph and 12 kills on 22 attempts against McMaster.

“Niko had a great weekend,” she said. “He had very good days and good passing numbers too. He’s really becoming a solid contributor. For a guy in second year, I’m really, really happy with his progress.”

Willis said the team will focus on improving their defensive play against the York Lions tonight.

“If we take care of our side of the net, we should be able to manage the match,” she said. “Our goal is to win three straight.”

Tonight’s game takes place at 8 p.m. in Bartlett Gym.

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