Blown lead

Men;s volleyball loses ninth straight to Mac

Fifth-year Niko Rukavina has been playing as a libero to avoid jumping on his injured ankle.
Fifth-year Niko Rukavina has been playing as a libero to avoid jumping on his injured ankle.
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Fourth-year libero Alex Oneid goes for a dig during the men's volleyball team's 3-1 win over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.
Fourth-year libero Alex Oneid goes for a dig during the men's volleyball team's 3-1 win over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.
Photo: 

The men’s volleyball team was on track for a winning weekend when it led the McMaster Marauders 2-0 last Saturday. But McMaster came roaring back, winning the last three sets 25-22, 26-24 and 15-11.

Five of the last seven games between the two teams have been decided in five sets. But the Gaels have lost all seven, including an OUA semifinal last season.

Fifth-years Joren Zeeman and Mike Amoroso sat on the Gaels’ bench after the game at the ARC, looking at the ground.

“We started off well and didn’t execute at the end,” Zeeman said.

Zeeman and Amoroso are the team’s two highest scorers. After going ahead 2-0 on Saturday, the team looked to the two of them to put the game away.

“We got predictable on offence,” head coach Brenda Willis said. “We relied way too much on Joren … and that’s not fair to him.”

The team was aggressive in the first two sets. Amoroso dominated the Marauders at the net and Zeeman was unstoppable from the outside. But the Gaels lost momentum and made sloppy mistakes. Even Zeeman served into the net at a crucial moment in the fifth set.

“We got tentative,” Willis said. “We didn’t put the nails in the coffin when we had the opportunity.”

The loss came after some hiccups in the Gaels’ 3-1 win over the Toronto Varsity Blues last Friday. The Gaels were ahead 2-0, but dropped the third set 25-21 when Willis played her rookies.

Willis said she wanted to rest Zeeman and Amoroso for Saturday, since neither has fully recovered from nagging injuries sustained in pre-season tournaments.

“[Zeeman’s] probably 85 [per cent], maybe even a bit more,” she said, “but he still has to go to therapy every day.”

The Gaels didn’t take advantage of an incomplete Marauders team on Saturday. McMaster’s leading scorer — outside Jeremy Groenveld — missed the game with a lower body injury.

McMaster head coach Dave Preston said he expects the Gaels to improve during the season.

“[Queen’s is] a good team,” he said. “They’re better than their record … They’re dealing with issues just like everyone else is dealing with their team’s issues.”

Preston said his team needed to work on defence, but that it handled Zeeman well.

“You don’t stop Joren,” he said. “You try to control him.”

The Gaels are tied for fifth in the OUA with a 3-4 record. The Marauders are second in the OUA at 6-2.

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