Emily Goodwin | Editor-in-Chief
Featured Image: Sarah Williams goes in for a kill during Saturday’s game against the Lakers. | Courtesy of Jeremy Zheng/York Lions
The Lions volleyball teams had a roller coaster weekend on home court. They had been on the road for their last three matches, and returned to the Tait McKenzie Centre to take on the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Friday and the Nippissing Lakers on Saturday. Both teams met their match against the Varsity Blues, but went on to dominate the Lakers.
The women’s team kept up with the nationally-ranked Varsity Blues in Friday night’s opening set, finishing just behind them at 25-21. When they hit the court for the second set though, they quickly fell behind and struggled to get the ball past the Varsity Blues.
An early kill by fifth-year Sarah Williams put the Lions just behind their opponent at 3-1, but by the time they earned their second point — which came off a Varsity Blues service error — they were down by five. They could not make up this deficit, and the set once again went to the Varsity Blues, this time 25-11.
The Lions came back recharged for the third set, and were the first ones on the scoreboard thanks to a kill by Wesley-Ann Bailey.
The Varsity Blues briefly took the lead early in the set, but the Lions overcame them and continued to climb the scoreboard. A series of kills by Aleksandra Steins and Olivia Kim and two service aces from Williams secured the Lions’ lead. The Varsity Blues began to catch up later in the set, but the Lions hung on to lead 25-21.
Unfortunately for the Lions, they could not keep this up heading into the forth set. The Varsity Blues took the lead early on and extended it throughout the set. They went on to win the set 25-16, and claim the match 3-1.
The men’s team also fell to the Varsity Blues three sets to one. The first set opened with a back-and-forth lead over the first nine points. After that, the Lions began to pull away. They kept their lead until the end, when the Varsity Blues caught up and tied the score at 24. The Lions quickly got the two points they needed to win thanks to a kill by Luke de Greeff and an attack error Benedikt Licht of the Varsity Blues, and closed the set 26-24.
This would be the Lions only victory of the match. In the following three sets, the Lions remained on the tails of the Varsity Blues but just couldn’t tip the scales in their favour. They finished behind them in each of these sets at 25-22, 25-20, and 25-21.
The Lions were looking for redemption on Saturday, and that is exactly what they found. The women’s team won the first two sets with ease for final scores of 25-9 and 25-20.
The Lakers came out swinging in the third set and went on to edge out the Lions with a 25-21 victory. They still were no match for the Lions, who came back to dominate in the fourth set and walk away with a 25-19 win and a final match score of 3-1.
The men’s team defeated the Lakers in straight sets, making it the second time the Lions have won in straight sets this season.
After taking an early lead in the first set, the Lions caught up to the Lakers to tie the score at 12. The Lions continued to climb and soon opened a gap the Lakers could not close. The first set finished 25-22 in favour of the Lions.
Set two saw the Lakers once again take an early lead. Despite this, the Lions were able to rise up and surpass the Lakers, as well as press pause on the Lakers’ scoring. While the Lions climbed to 25 points at a rapid pace, the Lakers were only able to gain 15 points in the set.
The Lions could not be beat in the third set, no matter how much the Lakers stepped up their game. After briefly losing their lead after a 12-12 tie, the Lions regained it in the end and closed out the set 25-20.
Following last weekend’s matches, the women’s team is positioned in fourth in the OUA East division, with nine wins and seven losses for 18 points. The men’s team is in fifth place in the same division with a 6-9 record and 12 points.
The Lions will travel downtown to the Mattamy Athletic Centre this Saturday, February 15 to take on the Ryerson Rams, who are currently positioned higher in the OUA East than the Lions. They will be back at Tait the following weekend to square off against the Trent Excalibur on February 21. The men will play at 6:00 p.m. followed by the women at 8:00 p.m.