Mac tames Lions, look to ride Mustangs

Two weeks ago, the York Lions proved that the McMaster Marauders men’s volleyball, is in fact, human.

But with a berth in the Ontario University Athletics title game and the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship at stake, the Marauders repaid that lesson in brutal fashion, smashing the Lions in straight sets to arrange a showdown with the Western Mustangs on Saturday.

Photo: Fraser Caldwell/McMaster Athletics

The Mustangs dispatched the second place finishing Waterloo Warriors (14-4) in four sets in Friday’s (Feb. 22) earlier semifinal, with OUA Player of the Year Garrett May putting his credentials on full display and notching 22 points – all kills – on 42 hitting attempts.

Mac topped regular season play with a 17-1 record while Western was third with a 13-5 mark.

Then the show began for the Marauders.

Mac’s set scores were 25-17, 25-13, 25-20.

Jori Mantha was the undisputed star of the match, amassing 16 points on 14 kills on 17 hitting attempts with only a single error (76.5%). In his first match since returning from injury, rookie outside Jayson McCarthy fired down five aces.

Middle hitter Gregory Ivan was the Lions’ leading scorer, with 10 points and seven kills on 11 hitting attempts. He added two solo blocks.

The Marauders got off to a dream start on Frida, winning seven of the first eight points and forcing the Lions to use their second timeout after a combo block on the right by Alex Elliot and McCarthy. Third-year outside Mantha was carrying play, and had four kills to his name before the teams hit the technical timeout.

When Elliot polished off the trademark quick-set in the middle, the Marauders carried a deserved 16-8 lead into the technical timeout.

The rout continued after the break, with York unable to chip away at the massive deficit it faced. Edward Lai planted a float serve into the bottom of the net to bring up set point, before Ray Szeto went wide to end the first set 5-17 in the Marauders’ favour.

McMaster carried their momentum into the second, and led 5-2 when York called time after Felipe Humana-Paredes’ attack landed wide from the middle. The Lions made a momentary comeback, but another Marauder run put the home side up 16-11 at the technical attack as a York assault limply landed wide.

Consecutive aces from McCarthy stretched McMaster’s lead to eight at 20-12, and effectively put the set out of York’s reach. A soft tip from Elliot brought up set point at 24-14, before Kevin Stevens ended the set two points later.

The trend continued into the third, as the Lions appeared to have no answer for the Marauders’ attacking balance. The defence followed suit for McMaster, and they took an 18-13 lead after a miraculous dig by Mantha as York called time. The third-year outside continued to loom large, notching consecutive kills for 23-17 as the match quickly slipped away from the Lions.

Humana-Paredes’ float serve sailed well wide to bring up match point at 24-19, and when Szeto’s attack went long two points later, it was all over. A dominating performance was complete for the Marauders, who bounced back from their only defeat of the 2012-13 season.