On Sunday, November 26, the UTM D-league men’s volleyball team defeated the UTSG Reds in an exciting match taking place in Gym A/B.

From the start of the game, UTM came out strong and hungry for a win. UTM was up first to serve, and before we knew it, they were leading the game 5-3. UTSG had many opportunities to get points off their spikes but they kept going out of bounds, giving UTM more points. UTM’s setter, Lucas Linhares, was doing a spectacular job at setting the front line up to hit or tip it over. UTM’s Patrick Bilas was up to serve, where he got an ace and made the score 10-7 for his team. Sean Leschak Klugman had several outstanding blocks and spikes for UTM, that lead his team to both preventing and scoring more points.

It is obvious that UTM has very good team chemistry as they always support each other whether they score or give up a point. UTM was leading throughout most of the set but UTSG began catching up with the score 17-16 for UTM. During one play, Leschak Klugman kept the ball in play with a one-handed dive to save it from hitting the ground. A UTSG player spiked the ball back but it was no match for UTM’s Sinan Bertul as he blocked the ball, making the score 18-16. Shortly after this, Diego Solari and Bilas teamed up for a second block against UTSG. UTM was leading 22-19 until UTSG caught up, making it 22-22. A UTSG player blocked Solari’s spike but fortunately for UTM, the ball went out, putting UTM back in the lead at 23-22. Linhares makes the score 24-22 with his bump into the UTSG end that landed about two inches from the line. However, it was Solari that ultimately won the set for UTM by blocking the UTSG player’s spike, allowing UTM to win 25-22. The UTM team had a great set and a well-deserved win.

UTSG had a rocket serve to start the game but it went out of bounds, giving UTM the first point in the set. There was a lot of back-and-forth hits and passes as the score lay at 2-2. UTM’s Adam Penkul put UTM back in the lead. but UTSG was quick to tie it back up again. UTM began trailing 7-3 after this but still managed to keep their composure and began scoring points back-to-back, until they made the score an even 7-7. Leschak Klugman had an amazing and unexpected tip into the UTSG end, which put UTM back in the lead. The next few plays were very close with the score remaining at only a one-point difference. Whenever one team would get a point, the other team was quick to tie it back up. UTM scrambled to make passes but managed to get it over with a one-handed bump.

Although UTSG got the point during this rally, UTM quickly came back to score another six points, making it 18-11. At this point, discontent rested within the UTSG coach as he called for a time out. After the time out, UTSG was motivated to come back and win the game. However, UTM was quick on their feet and disallowed UTSG to score a lot of points. The score was 20-14 for UTM and two UTSG players served the ball out of bounds giving UTM another two points. With only three points left to take the game, UTM did not disappoint and won the game and set 25-16. That’s an astounding 9-point difference as opposed to the closer 3-point difference in the first set.

Although UTM had already won the game, the third set did not disappoint and was still filled with excitement and intense rallies. UTM once again lead the set 5-3. UTSG fell behind from the start of the set and struggled to catch up to UTM. UTM was ahead 11-7 where Bertul got his team four more points off his serves. UTSG slowly started catching up making the score 19-14 but, of course, UTM was quick to put a stop to this by scoring two more points making UTM only four points away from winning. However, for the first time in the game, UTM was caught standing still and UTSG started catching up at 22-18. But, UTM ended up winning the set 25-19.

This was UTM’s second win of the season and head coach, Omran Sharifi, praised his team by saying, “I think we played good. We played consistent. We didn’t pack under pressure.” This was UTM’s final game before the Winter break and it was great to end it off with a win.

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