Thunderwolves silenced by Marauders

The Marauders will be sad to see the Lakehead Thunderwolves leave Hamilton, having taken two consecutive matches off of their northern visitors in Ontario University Athletics women’s volleyball.

(Photo: Fraser Caldwell/McMaster Athletics)

(Photo: Fraser Caldwell/McMaster Athletics)

McMaster defeated Lakehead in four sets (25-18, 18-25, 25-16, 25-19) to complete a weekend sweep of the Thunderwolves and even its conference record at 3-3.

With high-usage outside Sophie Bukovec shifted to the bench, the Marauders rotated through a number of hitters on Saturday (Nov. 9). Their most consistent production came from the middle, where returning starter Taylor Brisebois had a team-leading total of 14 points on 11 of 19 hitting (.421), with an ace, a solo block and two block assists.

Fellow middle Maicee Sorensen was the other Marauder to crack double digits, scoring 12 points on 6 of 14 hitting (.357), with three solo blocks and four block assists.

McMaster had an encouraging start to Saturday’s match, with setter Amanda Weldon spreading the floor and adding offence of her own with the dump. A healthy lead held throughout the set, and Rebecca Steckle clinched it for the hosts with consecutive kills for 25-18.

A clean first set from the Marauders, which saw them convert 30 per cent of their hitting attempts, gave way to a sloppy second. Passing on both the first and second touches faltered, and induced a series of substitutions from head coach Tim Louks. Lakehead took advantage, and carried a 16-13 lead into the technical timeout.

The trend continued as the set drew to a close, and the Thunderwolves fittingly took it on an error, as Steckle’s attack fell wide for 18-25.

McMaster raced out to an early lead in the third set, and weathered a loose stretch of play that forced Louks to call time. The break appeared timely for the Marauders, who were crisp as they re-entered play, taking a 16-13 lead into the technical timeout after a well-worked point that ended in a kill from Joanna Jedrzejewska.

Her influence was positive, and her fellow outsides cleaned up their games as well, as McMaster shot 33 per cent in the third. Lauren Mastroluisi showed good judgement in tipping a free ball to the floor for 22-15, and Steckle brought the set to an end with a serve that went unreturned.

Lakehead remained in striking distance in the fourth, but McMaster led early due in large part to the blocking effort of Sorensen and Mastroluisi in tandem. The Marauders had found a comfortable rhythm, and appeared well on their way to the finish line as they entered the fourth-set technical with a 16-11 lead.

Mastroluisi’s sharp fourth set continued as she wiped wide to take McMaster within two points of the end, before Lakehead was called on a double touch on match point to seal the result for the hosts.

Four points this weekend have moved the Marauders within two of the OUA West-leading Windsor Lancers. McMaster will look to close the gap in a week’s time, as the Marauders travel to Guelph to battle the Gryphons on Friday (Nov. 15), before returning home to host the Brock Badgers two days later.