It was short, clean night in North Bay for the Marauders men’s volleyball team.
Jori Mantha was once again the model of efficiency on the outside, as McMaster cruised past the Nipissing Lakers in straight sets Friday (Nov. 22) to record its fifth-consecutive spotless match in Ontario University Athletics. The Marauders have not dropped a set since their 3-2 victory over the Western Mustangs on Oct. 26.
The fourth-year Mantha led his team with 14 points, converting 12 of 22 hitting attempts with just two errors (45.5 per cent) and adding two solo blocks. Stephen Maar finished a close second to Mantha on the night, notching 12 points on 11 of 19 hitting with three errors (42.1 per cent) and adding an ace.
McMaster put a cagey opening behind it by accelerating into the technical timeout, taking a 16-11 lead at the break when Mantha wiped the block of Nipissing’s Warren Taylor. The Lakers could do little to bridge that gap, and after Danny Demyanenko killed to bring up set point, setter Austin Campion-Smith fired an ace to clinch the first for the visitors.
A five-point run with Jayson McCarthy manning the service line established a healthy lead for the Marauders early in the second set. They carried it convincingly into the technical timeout, as Maar killed for a seven-point advantage at 16-9. The Lakers made a game of it, and climbed back to within four points at 17-21, when Frankie Edgecombe wiped the block of Campion-Smith. But McMaster buckled down to claim four of the next six points, and saw out the set when Maar wiped off of Mike Ballagh for 25-19.
Another early streak gave McMaster all the breathing room it needed in the third, as the Marauders won seven of the set’s first eight points. Maar struck again to bring the Marauders into the technical timeout with a familiar 16-9 lead. Much as they had in the second, the Lakers made a late push to challenge in the third set, and drew within five points at 15-20 when Taylor’s attack found the floor.
But, with only five points between them and the finish line, the Marauders saw out the set and the match without any further drama. A wily dump from setter Andrew Kocur brought up match point, before rookie outside Brandon Koppers successfully killed to seal Friday’s result for the Marauders.
McMaster will look for its seventh-consecutive win to open the OUA season when it travels to Toronto to battle the 7-2 York Lions on Sunday. The opening whistle for that match is scheduled for 2 p.m., following the women’s match.