After another victory by St. Thomas University Tommies men’s volleyball team against the Holland College Hurricanes at the Lady Beaverbrook Gym on Feb. 20, the Tommies are feeling prepared for this weekend’s Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association Championship held at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John.
The Tommies toppled the Hurricanes three sets to one. The first set was taken by STU 25-23, but in the second set the Hurricanes increased their compete level—winning the set 25-13.
STU came back in the third set avenging the last by winning 25-16.
The score remained close throughout the fourth set and with the score 24-22, Tommies Setter Nicholas Levesque served the ball for the win but was spiked by Hurricanes Right-Side Tynan Murphay killing the ball brining the score 24-23 for STU.
Hurricanes Outside Darcie Handrahan served the last HC ball of the night, but the ball was killed by Tommies Middle Blocker Thomas Trembley bringing the score 25-24 for STU.
The crowd’s intensity was heated during the previous serves due to the close point ratio by both teams, but when the Tommies served next, the ball was refracted by the Hurricanes back to STU giving Levesque the spike to kill the ball in HC court that won the game 26-24 STU.
Tommies Head Coach Francis Duguay said it was a good game and his team had control of the ball for most of it but felt the team could have finished it in three sets.
“It was close at 22-20 but we were able to get the last foul points to seal the deal,” said Duguay. “Nick gave us good energy and Jonah was getting some pretty big digs.”
Duguay is hoping to see the team go to Nationals and finish in a metal position.
Libero Jonah Burridge also felt it was a good game with a good team win, especially at this time of the season with the ACAA Championships coming up, and the Nationals.
“I’d like to see us go to Nationals, we have what it takes to make it because how well we are playing and these games this weekend were good statement games,” said Burridge.
Burridge admits the team did make some errors but they are fixable through consistency and leveling out their compete level during gameplay.
“I thought we were really good defensively, we had some really good blocks and digs,” he said. “We also had plenty of scrappy plays and never gave up.”
Middle Blocker Douglas MacFarlane felt the team flourished and got good digs and rallys.
He also feels the team needs to improve by closing up blocks. “If you don’t have good blocks, you can’t set up good block penetration,” he said.
MacFarlane feels confident about the ACAA Championship this weekend. “We’re peaking at the right time,” he said. We got a couple wins under our belt coming in, I feel really good about that.”
Middle Blocker Jimy Beltran is also excited about the ACAA Championship. “It’s going to be a big challenge and big opportunity to make it to the Nationals this year,” he said. “There are good teams to give us a good match.”
“If we keep playing like this we will keep our place,” said Beltran. “To win the Nationals is our big goal. We just need to get there, show who we are, and get the best of it.”
He feels the day’s game was a good win for the team and felt the Tommies were ready to play the Hurricanes. “Skill-wise we are better,” he said. “We maintained stamina and moved faster to win.”
“The last set was more of a challenge. We have to contain the powers and we have to block better,” he said.
“But we played good volleyball,” said Beltran. “Although we could have played a little better when we went down in the second set.”
Setter Marc Blinn believes the team played a solid match but made some mental mistakes.
Despite the Tommies dominance, Blinn felt the team should have made every point 100 per cent by, “not making many mental errors, (and) focusing on every pass,” he said.
But the best part of the day’s game for Blinn was, “when our servers were on, we passed and forced errors on the other team.”
“We played a great game today, our next game is huge,” said Blinn. “But next weekend at the ACAA’s is our main focus.”
This will be Blinn’s third time at Nationals if the Tommies make it past the ACAA Championship.
“ACAA is what we have to practice and focus on,” said Blinn. “The ACAA’s are everything. We want to represent the ACAA at Nationals again.”