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Thunder strikes back

After falling to the Durham Lords on Friday Jan. 20, the Algonquin women’s volleyball team bounced back and mauled the Georgian Grizzlies on Saturday night.

Following a 3-1 loss on the road against Loyalist on Jan. 14 the Thunder found itself on the verge of dropping two straight games for the first time this season.

They faced undefeated Durham (11-0) who hadn’t lost a set in nine straight games. On the other end, the Thunder (9-2) were

)The two teams previously played each other, during the first game of the season on Oct. 28, where Durham won in a tightly contested 3-2 game.

On Friday, the Lords ruled again, this time taking care of the affair in three straight sets (25-17, 25-11, 26-24) as they held the entire Thunder line-up to only 25 kills, compared to their 39 in total.

“It was a little better than last time,” said Tony Clarke head coach of the Durham Lords. “I do feel like this time around, we knew our team a lot better and we also knew their team better. So we were able to adjust ourselves as to how they play and how they run things.”

Julianna Johnson led the Thunder offensively, ending up with nine kills, while Breanne Scheerhoorn was held to season lows in both kills (7) and hitting percentage (.037).

“Our offence wasn’t clicking,” said Algonquin head coach Everton Senior. “When we had looks we just weren’t executing on them and our big hitters weren’t in the form they needed to be in.”

The Thunder were setter Brooke Sheldrick because she suffered a concussion during warm-up drills before the game.

Sheldrick is second on the team is assists (160) and her sudden absence had an ill effect on her teammate’s psyche going into the game, according to one of the players.

“Our starting setter got concussed before the game and that really changes the dynamic of the things for us,” said Algonquin’s Serah Rounds-Zavitz. “We weren’t confident out there. We seemed to have our moments but we just couldn’t keep it up and sustain it.”

Having fallen to an 8-3 record, tied with the Georgian Grizzles the Thunder found itself in desperate need of a win on Saturday if they wished to hold on to the number two spot in the East division standings.

“We need to win tomorrow,” said Rounds-Zavitz. “It’s very important for us if we want a bye to provincials. Or else we have to go through the cross-over and that’s something we’re really trying to avoid.”

Fortunately for Algonquin, the outcome of Saturday’s game against Georgian was the opposite of the one on Friday.

The Thunder won on three sets (25-16, 25-16, 25-14) while the Grizzlies we’re seemingly out of it from start to finish.

“It’s a big relief to avoid losing three in a row,” said Senior. “We we’re always confident that we would come out and do well, but that doesn’t always mean that’s going to happen. Everyone did a really great job tonight.”

Breanne Scheerhoorn bounced back from a sub-par showing on Friday as she ended up with 13 kills and a .323 hitting percentage.

“Bree really stepped up,” said Senior. “I told her she needed to be ready, because we knew she was going to get the ball a lot tonight.”

Rylee Leger was also a key contributor as she got 12 kills and hit an phenomenal .524 on 21 attempts and Serah Rounds-Zavitz notched 11 kills of her own.

Algonquin finished the game with 64 total digs compared to Georgian’s 46, plus the Grizzlies hitters we’re snuffed out as they hit .054 collectively.

It was a dominating performance from the Thunder in which the team’s confidence and energy played a huge role. Without Brooke Sheldrick and Julianna Johnson who was attending a wedding, the Thunder showed its true character in Saturday’s victory.

“We had so much confidence and that was huge,” said Rounds-Zavitz. “You could see it during the game, there was a lot more aggression than there was yesterday. We we’re a little nervous going in, but everyone stayed positive and confident and I’m very proud of that. Considering everything that’s happened this weekend, I’m crazy impressed with my team.”

The Thunder’s next match is on Jan. 28 as they visit the 5-9 Canadore Panthers who sit in seventh place in the East division. Algonquin won the last meeting between the two teams 3-0 on their home court back on Nov. 5.

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