By: Cassie Dresch
It wasn’t the outcome the Algonquin Thunder men’s volleyball team was looking for in the first game of their home opening weekend.
After trading the first four sets back and forth against the Durham Lords, the Thunder ultimately fell in the fifth and deciding set as their game broke down and they couldn’t recover.
“The guys have to learn not to tighten up in the fourth and fifth sets,” said head coach Jay Mooney. “A little bit of inexperience came out, I think. Things that we’ve been working on in practice need to get better.”
The Thunder took an early lead in the game, winning the first set 25-20. Three straight points late in the set put the men up enough on Durham for them to take the set.
A close second set saw the Thunder lose 26-24. The Lords led for the majority of the set and, despite a push towards the end by the Thunder, took the set.
The men played a dominating third set, complete with solid blocking and reliable serving, and pulled out a 25-17 score over Durham.
It was in the fourth set when things started to unravel for Algonquin. Despite a good rally to close out the set, the Thunder watched as the Lords took the set 25-20.
The fifth set capped off what ended up being a rather disappointing home opener as the Thunder lost 15-10, losing the match 3-2.
“When we play our game, no one can stop us,” said middle and co-captain Ian McAlpine. “It’s been the same story all year. We didn’t play our game. You saw it in three sets tonight where we just let the other team come in and get points that they shouldn’t [have].”
As a young team, this men’s squad was prone to mistakes that can only be corrected with more experience on the court. The game, however, was not all bad news.
“There are so many positives because it’s so early,” said co-captain Alex Oneid. “My worry about losing tonight is at about a zero out of 10. We’ve got a young team and [breakdowns] happen.”
“Our blocking, I thought, was pretty good tonight which has not really been
the case the rest of the year,” McAlpine said. ”Our serving was better than it has been in the past. We’ve been blowing serves like no one’s business but we cleaned that up tonight.”
There was no rest for the weary as the Thunder headed back to the drawing board in preparation for their game the next day against the Loyalist Lancers. If they were going to get back to .500 volleyball, Algonquin needed to move on from the loss.
“From this loss, the guys are pretty angry for tomorrow,” said outside hitter Shabir Sakha. “That will be some motivation for all of us to regroup and take out all our anger on that team.”
“Tomorrow is a new day,” Mooney said. “They need to reflect on where they held back today and make sure they don’t hold back given the same situation tomorrow.”