The McMaster Marauders rebounded strongly to sweep the Laval Rouge et Or to claim the bronze prize in Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s volleyball on Saturday (March 1). Set scores were 25-21, 25-23 and 25-18.
The medal finish is the second in as many years for the Marauders. The win avenged McMaster’s loss to Laval in last season’s title game in Quebec.
Second-year outside Stephen Maar was the standout for the Marauders in the win, tallying 14 points on 10-32 hitting versus three errors (31.8 per cent) and adding one ace and three total blocks. Middle Danny Demyanenko also cracked double digits on Saturday, scoring 10.5 points on 7-10 hitting with no errors, two aces and a block and a half.
Laval’s leading contributor was Olivier Jannini, who scored 14 points on 12-25 hitting versus four errors (32 per cent) in a losing effort.
The Marauders took the initiative early and often on Saturday, and were well on their way to clinching the first set when Jannini fired long to give them a 21-17 lead. After a Rouge et Or serve missed to bring up set point, the Marauders successfully stuffed Bruno Lortie through the pipe with a combo block to seal the first.
Laval opened well to win the first three points in the third set, but McMaster answered with a 6-1 run to quickly retake the lead. The teams settled into side-out volleyball as the set moved toward the technical timeout, but the combination of Tyson Alexander and Brandon Koppers brought McMaster into the break with a slim 16-15 advantage. It was too close to call the set in the late stages, until Koppers successfully killed the final two points to clinch it.
With the commanding two-set lead, McMaster effectively put its foot down, and grabbed an early 7-2 lead when Maar converted a kill through the pipe. He was on point again, tipping an awkward setup through traffic, as the Marauders took a 16-11 advantage into the technical timeout. There was no comeback to be had for the Rouge et Or, and when Maar came up with a solo block on the left for 21-16, the match looked well in hand. A Laval service error brought up match points at 24-17, and two points later, another such mistake completed McMaster’s bronze-medal sweep.