Nearly breaking rank

Gaels welcome fifth-year You, fall to 10th-ranked Waterloo

Fifth-year setter Jackson Dakin says this Sunday’s effort against Waterloo was “a huge improvement from the first semester.”
Fifth-year setter Jackson Dakin says this Sunday’s effort against Waterloo was “a huge improvement from the first semester.”
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Marked improvement and a mid-season acquisition were on display Saturday for the men’s volleyball team.

On Saturday the Gaels played host to the Guelph Gryphons, which resulted in three consecutive set wins.

On Sunday, the Gaels fell in five sets to the Waterloo Warriors, ranked 10th in the CIS.

“We were much, much closer this match,” said Gaels setter Jackson Dakin. “A huge improvement from the first semester.”

The Gaels are 0-2 against Waterloo this season, including a 3-1 Waterloo victory from Nov. 10.

This time the Gaels showed spurts of dominance, taking the second set 25-12, but were unable to match the late-game urgency displayed by the Warriors.

The team showed their potential in the second set, dominating the Warriors and coming away with a 25-12 victory in the frame. After winning the third set and taking the lead in the match, the Gaels were unable to match the late-game urgency displayed by the Warriors.

“I think we came out complacently in the fourth,” Dakin said. “We thought we were doing pretty well, and then we relaxed, and we missed a bunch of serves.”

Waterloo tied the match up in the fourth set, easily topping the Gaels by a score of 25-15. The Warriors carried their momentum into the final set defeating the Gaels 15-11.

“When push came to shove in that match, Waterloo was swinging for broke,” said Gaels head coach Brenda Willis. “And I thought we started to be a little conservative with our attack trying not to error.”

The Gaels were happy to acquire Daniel You from Dalhousie, a fifth-year middle blocker, over the holiday break. Dakin and You are the only fifth-year players on an otherwise young roster.

“I think [You] will make us better just because he’s got four years of experience,” Willis said. “He can serve as a mentor for the young middles.”

The team graduated nine players last year and a veteran presence will go a long way in this stage of the team’s development.

“This isn’t a one-year plan, this is a multi-year plan and I think we’re making the right progress,” Willis said.

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