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Thunder men drop close game to La Cité

The Algonquin Thunder men’s varsity volleyball team ended their regular season on a sour note, losing 3-2 to the La Cité Collégiale in what was a very even matchup through the first three sets.

Jarrod McNaughton was the main contributor with 24 points, his second highest total of the season. Jonas Zeithammel chipped in with 15 points, including 12 kills.

The loss dropped the Thunder’s record to seven wins and 11 losses.

The first set was a competitive, fast paced-affair. The Thunder would eventually pull away and claim the set 25-20. The second set was even closer, with the Coyotes managing a slim 26-24 win.

The third set saw the Thunder looking strong, as they went on to win 25-20. After that, fatigue began to creep in and the Coyotes would win the final two sets, 25-17 and 15-8, respectively.

Despite the setback, the Thunder could still make it to provincials. In order to do so, they’ll need to win a crossover match on the road, against the Humber Hawks, Feb. 17 at 2.pm.

Following the game, McNaughton had nothing but good things to say about both teams.

“Well fought on both sides. They put in their hours and their mileage on that one, so did we. In the end, I think they just wanted it more,” he said. “Some of us were a little bit gassed. Five sets always comes down to whoever wants it. Unfortunately, they got the win today, but kudos to them for being able to pull it out.”

McNaughton admits that it wasn’t an ideal finish to the regular season, despite a valiant effort down the stretch.

“We felt that we were playing a solid second half of the season there,” he said. “Obviously, we want to defend home court as much as we can against any team. So, it’s a little disappointing to have them come to our house, but we split the season with them, we’ve got to be happy with that.”

The Thunder close out the regular season with losses in 2 out of their last 3 games, defeating the Seneca Sting 3-1 on Feb. 9, before losing in straight sets to the top-ranked Georgian Grizzlies on Feb. 10.

“They are a really talented team,” said McNaughton following the Georgian game. “They are number one for a reason. We made them sweat.”

Against Georgian, the Thunder struggled with a common problem faced by many teams throughout sports.

“We play good teams well, weak teams we play down to,” explained coach Mohamed Shaheen.

The Thunder travel to Humber for a clash with the Hawks on Feb. 17 at 2 p.m., with the winner advancing to provincials Feb. 22-24 at Georgian College.

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