The Marauder men’s volleyball team opened its conference account in convincing fashion on Friday (Oct. 25), claiming a straight-set win over the Windsor Lancers. Set scores were 25-17, 25-21 and 27-25 as the Marauders led for the vast majority of the Ontario University Athletics contest.
Fourth-year outside hitter Jori Mantha led all scorers with 18 points, converting 15 of his 26 hitting attempts with only three errors (46.2 per cent). Jayson McCarthy followed with 14 points on 11 of 21 hitting, two aces and a solo block.
The two sides opened the match neck-and-neck, trading points without substantial advantage until the first set’s technical timeout. But after killing to bring up the timeout, Danny Demyanenko took to the service line after the break to spur a run that saw McMaster win nine of the next 11 points to claim the opening set.
The second developed much as the first had before it, with the teams being nearly inseparable until the technical timeout. Windsor was playing inspired defence, and drawing the defending OUA champions into many extended rallies. But with the Lancers within two points at 19-17, the Marauders reeled off three consecutive points, thanks in large part to a kill and ace from Mantha, to gain some crucial separation. Side-out volleyball returned, but it was too little, too late for Windsor.
McMaster carried its momentum well into the third set, and raced to a commanding 16-9 lead at the technical timeout. But an uncharacteristic rash of errors allowed the home side to claw back into the set, and the Lancers tied it at 21 after an attacking error by Shayne Herbert.
Kills from Stephen Maar and McCarthy returned McMaster to the lead, as the teams played side-out volleyball into extra points. There, a block by Tyson Alexander brought up match point, before McCarthy notched one final kill to seal the set and match for the Marauders.
McMaster, ranked No. 2 nationally, continues its road trip on Saturday (Oct. 26) with a trip to London to battle last year’s OUA final opponents, the Western Mustangs. The two teams met in exhibition play on Oct.10, with McMaster winning in five sets.
Game time for Saturday’s match is set for 8 p.m.