By: Matt Penstone
The match went the distance, but the Thunder women’s volleyball team were able to salvage a win against Loyalist College in their home opening weekend thanks to a clutch final set.
After battling for the first four sets it was a strong spike by the Thunder that sealed the victory as they took the fifth-and-final set 15-11.
“We just played our game,” said middle Alix Burkart. “We kept our energy high at all times.. One of the main goals so far this season was to be doing a lot of communication and we kept that up a lot during the game. We were really energized. We kept it at the perfect level and our bench was really loud which helps a lot.”
A blocked spike, which gave the Thunder the game’s opening point, set the tone for the rest of the game.
“Our good communication, our good passing skills, our serve receives and our defence did well and everyone was working together today,” said left side Tess Peterson.
There were no easy points in the first set as each team battled hard back and forth. Towards the end of the first set there was a spectacular rally that had the crowd on their feet as each side made desperation saves and sent the ball back-and-forth. The Thunder eventually took the point and the set by a score of 25-18.
After dropping the second set 25-19 the Thunder rallied to take the third set 25-20.
“In the second set we just got a little down on ourselves,” said Burkart. “Just after them getting a huge streak of points we were able to come back and fight towards the end but just got more down on ourselves than we should have been able to.”
The fourth set was a back-and-forth battle as neither side held more than a four-point lead. After building a bit of a gap between them, the Thunder were looking to close the game out, but Loyalist fought back to tie the score 19-19. The Lancers went on to win the set, setting the stage for a fifth and deciding set.
“We stayed upbeat, we had a little lull in the second set where we were down on ourselves but for the most part we were pretty upbeat and played through any little adversary,” said head coach Everton Senior.
Nothing came easy during the final set and every point was hard-earned. However, when crunch time came, the Thunder played their best as their defence was impenetrable. The Thunder’s shot blocking abilities helped seal the game as they took the final set 15-11.
“We’ve been harping on minimizing our errors,” said Senior. “We’ve been making a lot of errors all year and, the first set especially, we came out and didn’t make nearly as many errors as we normally do and that was good ground work for the rest of the match. It was a good match, it was back and forth and someone has to win these matches.”