The men’s volleyball team won its second game in a row and its first at home of the season after defeating the Loyalist Lancers in convincing fashion 3-0 on Nov. 24.
The Thunder came out firing on all cylinders as they managed to play the entire game without falling behind on the scoreboard.
It’s Algonquin’s first sweep of the season and the team is hoping to build off of its latest success.
“It’s huge,” said Jarrod McNaughton, Algonquin’s second year middle. “Every other game we’ve had so far, we’ve had a tough battle going four or five sets. So to be at home and to sweep a team, that’s huge for us. It gives us so much momentum going into tomorrow. We have to be so happy.”
The Thunder played a sound game on both sides of the ball, from beginning to end, as their effort never relented.
The 3-0 win marked the first time the Thunder held a lead in a match that could be defined as a blowout. This allowed the coaches to give their less experienced players an opportunity to show what they’re made of. All in all, the coaching staff was happy with the results.
“We managed to win the second set. I was really happy with that,” said Patrick Boileau, Algonquin’s assistant coach. “Every game this season, we won the first set, except for the Georgian game. Tonight, winning two in a row, I was really happy.”
“If we would’ve dropped the third, I would’ve said “alright we’re building on it”. But we won the third one and the boys answered really well to the substitutions throughout the second set and the third set. If you were in the gym tonight you could really feel a certain vibe when we put on those players,” said Boileau.
As a team, they led the game in both digs and blocks. They limited Loyalists’ best hitters’ kills to under double-digits and only allowed them to hit .179, collectively.
Third-year setter Jonah Nieman was the key facilitator as he usually is, dishing 22 assists – twice as many as the entire Loyalist lineup managed to get.
McNaughton played a key role in the victory as he led players with 12 digs and racked up 10 kills, which was good for second highest on either team. Freshman left-side hitter Jonas Zeithammel also made his presence felt as he recorded a game high with 16 kills on 24 attempts for a phenomenal .524 hitting percentage.
Zeithammel leads the Thunder with 77 kills this season and is making a strong push to follow McNaughton’s footsteps and be named on the OCAA all-rookie team.
For their next game, the Thunder will host the 3-2 Durham Lords on Saturday afternoon. A win would move Algonquin to 4-4 and potentially up two spots in the East division standings. The coaching staff knows it won’t be easy.
“It’s a tough one,” said Mohammed Shaheen, Algonquin’s head coach. “Durham is one of the best teams in the East division, so it’s a tough one. They have stronger guys who are more physical, so it will be a challenge. It’s a 50\50 chance. Whoever controls the game and whoever controls his own mistakes will definitely have the upper hand. Hopefully we can achieve that.”