Waterloo vs. Toronto (Men)

Waterloo Warriors vs. Toronto Varsity Blues

Friday November 26, 2010 at Athletic Centre Sports Gym

Both the Warriors and the Varsity Blues came in with 2 wins, and 13 losses between them. You won't find them ranked in the CIS Top Ten, but that doesn't stop anybody from showing up with some entertaining volleyball.

Toronto's setters, 2 Nicholas McCaughan and 13 Alex Park, came in 10th and 9th in the OUA under setters statistics. Being so close together, while the Varsity Blues maintain a 5 - 1 setting system (meaning only one setter takes time on the court, regardless of back or front court rotation), made me wonder who would come out to start. McCaughan walked on the court for the first set, opposing Waterloo's distinct starter 10 Scott Thomson. Waterloo's big name attacker, figuratively and literally, 4 Fiodar Kazhamiaka, came into the game leading all players with 3.44 points per game.

Kazhamiaka showed up exactly as promised: with huge kills and often. Thomson provided a huge boost as a leading setter that the Varsity Blues just didn't have. Toronto hurt their own cause with too many service errors, and getting blocked too regularly by overusing their left-side attack. The set ended with visitors Waterloo winning 25-15 in a set that was always theirs.

For the second set, Park started at setter for the Blues. The attack did to begin to vary more at that point, bringing right-side attacker 5 Jonathan Adomait into the foray more often. The game became much more closely contested, with Waterloo being forced into using both of their time outs by the end. But this is a set Waterloo led practically throughout. By the end, Toronto tried substituting in first-year 14 Cameron McCracken at middle, and pulling off 3 Killian Newman from the right side as well. They did manage to find their flow by the end, but it was too late. Waterloo went out to a two sets to nil lead with a 25-20 second set.

The third set had Toronto sticking with Park at hands, and trying a new rotation again with McCracken back on the sidelines. In the beginning it seemed to be the right combination of pieces. They pulled ahead 9-5 early with a clean kill for one point, followed by an emphatic block to get the crowd into the game. Playing ahead with crowd volume, after an especially impressive women's performance right beforehand, seemed to energize the team. Adomait continued to provide something fresh at right-side, and 18 Jake Dysselhof lead the attack from the left. Waterloo never could find their feet, and ended up trailing the entire set to Toronto for a 25-18 finish. Toronto was back in it, though still down two to one.

For the fourth, Waterloo went back to their bread and butter Kazhamiaka. And he responded. At one point, he went horizontal diving for a dig, and still was set to before he could even get back to his feet. He may not have got the kill that time, but ended up with 5 in the set. He improved on his 3.44 points a game with 16 over the course of the match. The Varsity Blues came out remembering their success at right-side, leading the set with consecutive successful attacks from Adomait. But as the set went on, more and more often they went out to power, where a solid wall sat waiting for them across the net. The set was punctuated by a Waterloo backcourt kill from 13 Corey Yednoroz at 17-12. Waterloo made it look routine in the end, winning the set 25-20, and the match three sets to one.

The Waterloo Warriors improve to 3-7, Toronto Varsity Blues falling to 2-8. Toronto plays again tomorrow against Laurier, in Waterloo. Waterloo played their last game of 2010, and will pick up again in January.