The McMaster Marauders issued a resounding statement of intent on Friday night (Jan. 18), dealing out an efficient straight-set defeat to their closest conference rivals, the Waterloo Warriors.
Set scores in the Ontario University Athletic volleyball showdown were 25-23, 25-19 and 29-27 as Canadian Interuniversity Sport No. 2-ranked McMaster (12-0) handed No. 9 Waterloo only its second loss against 10 wins this season.
The visiting Marauders take a four-point lead atop the conference standings with the win, and will hold the tie-breaker over the Warriors having swept the season series.
McMaster’s middles dominated Friday’s proceedings with Alex Elliot leading all scorers with 14.5 points and 12 kills with only one error on 16 hitting attempts. Dany Demyanenko followed close behind with 14 points and 12 kills on 18 attempts.
Zach Doherty had 13 points to lead the Warriors in a losing effort.
Waterloo edged ahead to begin Friday’s match, and built on its lead to take a 16-12 advantage into the technical timeout in the opening set, after Jayson McCarthy’s back row attack found the net. The visitors pushed back to follow the break, with kills from McCarthy and Demyanenko bringing them within a point at 18-17.
Two tape aces – one from middle Elliot and another from setting Austin Campion-Smith – helped the Marauders to draw even at 20 and forced the Warriors to call time. McMaster took a late lead and enjoyed its first set point at 24-22 after Waterloo was whistled for a double contact. The Marauders sealed the set two points later, when Elliot converted the quick set for a kill down the middle and a 25-23 score.
The hosts took an early timeout in the second set after consecutive hitting errors on the left side gave the visitors a 3-1 lead. That trend continued as the set progressed, with the teams trading service errors to keep McMaster ahead 14-11. Warrior sophomore Doherty floated a jump serve long to bring the teams into the technical timeout with the Marauders enjoying a three-point lead.
The wheels fell off of Waterloo’s game late in the set, as Kevin Stevens buried an overpass and McCarthy bounced a kill through a double block to bump McMaster ever closer to a 2-0 lead. Elliot killed off hands and down to bring up set point, and a Warrior serve went long to end the set 25-19 two points later.
After a tight start to the third, the hosts took the initiative as they approached the technical timeout. Waterloo edged ahead 14-13 when McMaster’s Stevens fell into a double block, and the Warriors would stretch that advantage into the break. But the visitors surged ahead after the break, winning six of the next seven points to take a 19-18 lead after a McCarthy kill on the right.
McMaster was given an opportunity when a Waterloo serve floated wide to give the Marauders a 23-22 lead, and the visitors took full advantage with a kill from Demyanenko. The hosts recovered to pull back two consecutive set points, and would save five in total before the set’s end. But after Doherty’s spin serve flew long, Steven Maar finally brought an end to the third and the match. The rookie outside took a hard swing at an overpass, and Waterloo was unable to fully dig up the effort.
The Marauders take to the court Saturday (Jan. 19) in Guelph to take on the 3-9 Gryphons.