On Sunday, February 2, the UTM Women’s Tri-Campus Volleyball team faced off against UTSC in their second last game of the season. The lady Eagles were searching for their first win of the season in a tough contest against the best team in the division.
Although playing their best volleyball of the season, the women’s team could not find the composure to close out sets. UTSC won in three straight sets but were pushed to their limit in the first and third sets.
The game started in UTM’s favour sparking a 3-1 lead with a combination of mistakes from the UTSC side and a solid defense from UTM’s libero, Alyssa Maxwell, who was making the first set look great. But UTSC, as strong as they are, tied the set after a rally that saw the ball crossing the net a total of eight times, 6-6.
Fourth-year Madeleine Myers showed her quality with attacks from the front and back row, which forced UTSC’s coach to take a timeout, with UTM up, 15-11. Out of the timeout UTM continued their strong play and kept the margin within four, 19-15. But some strong play from UTSC closed the gap 19-19 shortly after. UTM fought back for their lead and forced another timeout by UTSC late in the first set, 23-21. Another two points would seal the first set for UTM but out of the timeout, momentum was stunted and UTM looked nervous. The women conceded the next four points to lose the first set, 23-25.
UTSC went into the second set with a different mind-set and forced UTM into a timeout. UTSC led by six early in the second set, forcing another timeout when they pushed the lead to nine points, 3-14.
Fourth-year student Jessica Reynolds told The Medium, “We didn’t get tired, [we] just put too much pressure [on ourselves] mentally. Volleyball is such a mental game. In the second half of the set we took pressure off ourselves.” UTM went on to show their spirit as they salvaged more points, losing the second set, 11-25.
UTM began to show flashes of resilience from their first set as they traded points with UTSC to take a lead, 7-6, early in the third set. Both teams showed lots of quality on the defensive side and points were coming by way of mistakes, 16-16. UTM unfortunately failed to get another point for the rest of the match and lost, 16-25.
UTM failed to win but played exceptionally against UTSC. Madeleine Myers had a few words for The Medium:
The Medium: Losing the set in such tight fashion, what was the team like during the set break?
Myers: “The team was on a high, we had really good energy and felt like it was the best set we’ve played this season. The timeout at the end broke our momentum, and we lost the set, but we were still in really high spirits.”
TM: Whose performance do you think stood out?
Myers: “It was a team effort. The coach tried to get everybody in and everybody pulled their own weight and made some nice plays. Sarah has been a great coach… she pushes the team in a great way nobody ever feels down or defeated. This year we trust and agree with the coach.”