Men’s volleyball underestimates York

Gaels beat winless RMC on Friday and encounter unexpected challenges against York in new gym

Outside hitter Brian Fautley makes a jumping spike during the men’s 3-0 victory on their new home court.
Outside hitter Brian Fautley makes a jumping spike during the men’s 3-0 victory on their new home court.
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The men’s volleyball team didn’t lose a set this weekend, but head coach Brenda Willis isn’t considering it a huge success. The Gaels were at the Royal Military College on Friday night to play the winless Paladins and at home for the first time in the ARC gym to host the 3-9 York Lions. The men swept both teams in three sets but Willis said the team’s overconfident play could eventually cost them an OUA title.

“There was a confidence on the floor that ultimately we would win,” she said. “That’s not good enough. We need to play at our level for whole matches to win the OUA championship. The guys know that and we talk about it in every single timeout.” Middle hitter Michael Amoroso, who registered the first point in the men’s game at the ARC, said the Gaels’ intensity level was lower than other games against better teams.

“It is hard to come in with the exact same mindset as we come in with a game against Mac,” he said. “During the season Western and Mac have always been our big competition and although we don’t have the same rivalries with the other teams we have to treat every game like it’s the most important one.”

The Paladins didn’t pose a significant threat to the Gaels’ backup roster with the set scores at 25-19, 25-18, and 25-11 on Friday night. But the Lions kept the sets close against the Gaels’ starters at 25-17, 25-22, and 25-23.

Amoroso said being challenged by York came as a surprise.

“I think some of our guys weren’t quite expecting them to have some players who could play the game as well as they could.”

Willis said the Gaels began the game strong because of the atmosphere in the new gym.

“We were motivated in the beginning just by the fact that we’re launching the new building and they came out with great intensity and energy,” she said. “The court is still nine by nine and the net is still eight feet high. The biggest difference is the atmosphere is more exciting. The sound system is awesome. Having the crowd all the way around makes it so much more intimate feeling.”

The Gaels’ wins over the weekend keep them in a three-way tie for first place in the OUA with the Western Mustangs and the McMaster Mauraders. The Gaels host the Mauraders on Friday.

Setter Dan Rosenbaum, who had 36 assists against York, said this weekend was a chance to prepare for this weekend’s matchup.

“We know we have a tough weekend coming up,” he said. “So we can’t afford to be lackadaisical in these games when we’re preparing for next weekend.”

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