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Thunder men stay in playoff race with win over Seneca

The Thunder men’s varsity volleyball team fortified their playoff chances with a 3-1 win over the Seneca Sting on Feb. 9.

Jarrod McNaughton and Jonas Zeithammel led the way for Algonquin with 17 and 12 kills, respectively. Zeithammel had a strong night at the serving line with five aces and only three errors, while setter Jonah Nieman contributed a game-high 27 assists.

On the defensive side of the ball, libero Craig Dufresne led all players with 13 digs, while McNaughton pitched in 10 digs of his own.

The Thunder stormed out to an early 7-2 lead in the first set, forcing Seneca to call a timeout. Whatever was said in that timeout seemed to stick with the Sting, as they clawed back to win the set 25-18.

Algonquin would take over from there, winning the next three consecutive sets 25-16, 25-13 and 26-16.

With the Thunder only needing two points to take the second set, it looked as though Seneca would make another comeback. A kill attempt from the Sting ricocheted off a Thunder player and soared out of bounds when Dufresne made a spectacular diving play out of desperation to keep the play alive.

The ball ascended towards the ceiling, passed through the rafters without touching and sailed back over to Seneca’s side of the net, where they were unable to recover, giving the Thunder the kill. They would score on the next serve to win the set.

That would prove to be a rallying point for the Thunder as they dominated the rest of the game, winning the next two sets.

Head coach Mohamed Shaheen was satisfied with his team’s game but admitted there were areas for improvement in a tight playoff race.

“We need to do better at making first contact,” he said. “If we can avoid playing Fanshawe, we will have a better shot at (making the) playoffs.”

He also thought that the team got too comfortable with a big lead in the first set and that that was a big reason Seneca made a comeback.

With the win, the Thunder now sit at seven wins and nine losses and are in a tie with Durham for fifth place in the East. Their next games are Feb. 10 against the first-place Georgian Grizzlies and Feb. 14 in a crossover match against the La Cité Coyotes.


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