Rookies beat RMC

First-year Gaels prepare to 'step up’ next year, head coach says

Rookie middle Tyler Scheerhoorn watches as setter Matt Bonshor places the ball. Bonshor finished the game with 26 assists.
Rookie middle Tyler Scheerhoorn watches as setter Matt Bonshor places the ball. Bonshor finished the game with 26 assists.

The Gaels’ rookies were too much for the winless Royal Military College Paladins on Friday night.

The men’s volleyball team’s bench beat the Paladins in straight sets in Kingston to improve to an 8-6 record.

Head coach Brenda Willis said she used the game to keep her rookies and upper-year backups in game shape.

With fifth-year setter Dan Rosenbaum out with a long-term hip injury, rookie Matt Bonshor has earned regular minutes as the current backup setter behind Jackson Dakin. Bonshor tallied 26 assists in Friday’s game.

First-year Scott Brunet also continued his strong rookie season — he sits 16th in the CIS in solo blocks.

Willis said Friday’s performance shows why she’s confident about the future of the program.

“I’ll be turning to them soon,” Willis stated. “With guys graduating, some of them have to step up next year.”

Fifth-year outside hitter Bryan Fautley — who’s recovering from a back injury that has kept him off the court all season — played for one set against the Paladins.

“It’s a matter of getting him enough reps,” she said.

“Attacking-wise and jumping-wise, he’s already outstanding, it’s just the finer points of his game that need to come back.”

Willis said Fautley will play a major role this season if he can return to form.

“We have three more weeks [of regular-season play], so we’re optimistic,” she said, adding that she was also pleased with the progression of fifth-year outside hitter Niko Rukavina, who’s recovering from ankle surgery.

After two straight wins, the Gaels are tied with the Guelph Gryphons for fourth in the OUA. Willis said the Gaels could improve their standing because all the top teams still have to play each other.

“There’s a lot of movement that could still happen,” she said. “It’s anybody’s title to take.”

The Gaels will travel to Toronto next weekend to play the 2-10 Ryerson Rams on Saturday and the 2-10 University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Sunday.

— With files from Gilbert Coyle

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