Dropping the ball

The UTM Eagles men’s Tri-Campus volleyball team played their final game of the season against St. George Black last Tuesday at the RAWC.

The Eagles fought hard in the first set. Kuba Orzechowski’s powerful jumps helped him block St. George’s hits, while Peter Bui’s hard spikes earned him numerous kills, including an ace. The set went back and forth as UTM and St. George battled for the lead. In the end, the Eagles finished on top, with a score of 25–22.

In second set, the Eagles built a steady lead with strong efforts from Orzechowski and Justin Nguyen. Orzechowski gave the Eagles two kills and Nguyen added one. On defence, Bui played the strongest for the Eagles and saved his team multiple times with his strong digs.

However, St. George played a more solid set and showed more energy. Each point elicited loud cheers from the team. St. George players Don and Lesniak worked hard on defence and Luczak finished the set with three kills and three blocks. The second set finished with a tight score of 23–25 in favour of St. George, leading to a deciding final set.

The third set proved a disappointment for the UTM fans who came to watch the game. Shayan Yassaie gave UTM the first point of the set with his kill, but St. George’s Khan quickly gave his team an equal one. St. George earned their second point when the Eagles, confused, did not return the served ball. Eagles’ Nguyen gave his team two points to tie the game 3–3, but St. George dominated from that point onwards. They capitalized on the mistakes the Eagles made and pressured them into making more.

The set was marked by many out-of-bounds hits by the Eagles. Communication broke down among the players—no one was sure who would go after the ball whenever it came into the court.

The bright spot in the set was a late kill by Orzechowski. Nevertheless, the Eagles lost miserably with a final score of 9–25, and St. George took the game 2–1.

“It was a tough game,” said Yassaie afterwards. “We fought hard, but we couldn’t finish them off. The stress and tension got to us. We didn’t perform to our potential.”

“The result was fair,” admitted UTM coach Stew Arevalo. “The other team showed more energy. Our basic skills broke down.”

The team’s roster has also broken down. The Eagles started off the season with 10 players, but due to schedule conflicts and time commitments, they are now down to seven heading into the playoffs.

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