McMaster Marauders’ bid for a perfect season in volleyball was stopped by the hands of the Waterloo Warriors on Friday (Jan. 24). The visiting Marauders, ranked No. 1 nationally after stringing together a run of 14 victories in Ontario University Athletics play, dropped a five-set decision to the Warriors, 3-2. Set scores were 32-30, 27-29, 25-13, 22-25,10-15.
James Evans led the Warriors with 23 points, including 21 kills, one ace and one block.
Jori Mantha was the Marauders’ leading scorer, posting an identical total of 23 points, while converting on 20 of 45 hitting attempts versus seven errors (28.9 per cent) and adding one ace and two blocks.
McMaster remains atop the OUA standings, while Waterloo (12-3) takes possession of second place.
The teams engaged in a gruelling opening set that established the competitive balance that would hold throughout the night. Nearly inseparable, the Marauders and Warriors spilled well into extra points before Alex Elliot’s kill sealed the set for McMaster.
The second set was a neck-and-neck affair only this time Waterloo got the best of the extra volleyball, winning the frame when Danny Demyanenko’s attack went wayward.
The Marauders rebounded from that narrow 27-29 loss, racing ahead of the Warriors en route to a dominant 25-13 victory in the third set that placed the pressure firmly on the home side.
It appeared that McMaster had the edge it needed in the fourth, as the Marauders held a 20-16 advantage before the Warriors reeled off a dramatic run to win nine of the next 11 points and level the match at two sets apiece.
Momentum stayed with the hosts, who built an early lead in the abbreviated fifth set and never relinquished it.
The Marauders are back on the court Sunday (Jan. 26) for a home encounter with the Guelph Gryphons. That match is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.