Both St. Thomas University women’s and men’s volleyball teams enjoyed a celebratory night on Jan. 25 after beating the Holland College Hurricanes in a pair of intense games that reassured their first-place positions in the Atlantic College Athletic Association (ACAA).
The combination of STU’s Julia Campbell and Kathleen Boyle was unstoppable against the Hurricanes. Campbell dished 22 assists while Boyle’s 11 kills were crucial for the Tommies’ 3-1 win.
“She serves well, passes well, hits well and she can block — she can do it all,” said coach Don McKay about Boyle’s performance.
The game started with a stunning 25-9 first set for the Tommies, which paved the way for the rest of the game. A strong defense was essential for this win as they only allowed five kills from their rivals in the first set.
After a slow start to the season losing their two first games, the STU women’s volleyball team has won nine straight.
McKay said there’s no secret when it comes to winning.
“We must have the best left-side hitters in the league, and if we are able to get a good pass, we can run other people,” he said.
After the game, Campbell said the passion that drives from the team’s love for the sport has been key to their success. The Tommies currently hold a record of nine undefeated games, the team’s biggest streak since the 2019-20 season.
“I think it’s honestly just wanting to be on the court and wanting to play. Our goal is to go to nationals,” said Campbell.
They’re well on their way to the playoffs as they cruised to a 3-0 win against Université Saint-Anne on Jan. 28, putting them clear of first by six points.
As for the men’s volleyball team, a world-class comeback was set in stone after their thrilling win against Holland. After losing the first two sets 25-21 and 33-31, respectively, the Tommies were able to flip the flow of the game to end up winning 3-2.
Coach Henri Mallet said the key to this comeback was player mentality.
“We’ve got leaders … Even if you’re down to nothing, you still have a good chance of winning,” he said.
In a heated game where Holland’s coach, Brett Butler, saw the red card — a deduction of a point and loss of a serve — Mallet, who saw the yellow card — a warning — said that the team is prepared for this kind of situation where they have to keep their focus on the court.
“Coaches might get heated, but just let us deal with that, and they’ll just play volleyball and that’s what they did today. I was really proud of that,” said Mallet.
Coming off the high of the comeback win, the Tommies men’s team lost back-to-back on Jan. 28 and 29. They sit tied for second with Holland while the Dragons remain in first.