The St. Thomas University men’s volleyball team concluded their exhibition weekend in Sherbrooke, Que. with a 2-2 record.
The Tommies faced new teams that are not a part of their regular conference: two Cégep teams, Cheminots du Cégep de Saint-Jérôme and Cégep de Sherbrooke. Also, STU took on the Université de Sherbrooke, who were finalists at last season’s U SPORTS National Championship.
Third-year outside hitter Austin Hamilton wasn’t intimidated by the prospect of playing new teams and expressed faith in the Tommies’ ability.
“It really all depends on how we play, if we’re on our game I don’t really think that there’s a team that can stop us,” said Hamilton.
He said the exhibition weekend helped the team come together.
“I think we gelled together a lot better than I ever expected.”
Hamilton was also impressed with the new additions’ contributions and attitude over the weekend.
The Tommies have added seven new players to their roster this year, three of which are transfers. Oscar Luk, Kalan Billard, Parker Melnick, Kensea Aaron, Jacob Chiasson, Tim Juvonen and Thomas Blizzard have all joined the green and gold.
“They really impressed me this weekend with their enthusiasm altogether and off the court,” said Hamilton.“They’re just great guys.”
STU dropped their game against Cégep Sherbrooke in a disappointing 0-3 loss. The weekend did produce results for the Tommies however, with wins in their first and fourth games against the Cheminots du Cégep de Saint-Jérôme with a 3-1 win and 3-2 win, respectively.
Completing their weekend results was a 0-3 loss to Université de Sherbrooke who finished last year’s U SPORTS regular season 15-1, and were ranked nationally second overall.
Hamilton expressed that the team was most disappointed in the loss against Cégep Sherbrooke and that they’re hoping to play consistently and with self-discipline this year.
“That was a game I believe we should have won,” he said.
Second-year transfer Thomas Blizzard echoed that statement.
“We had a really good start in the first set and then we let it get away from us with a couple of service runs from the other team,” said Blizzard.
Blizzard, who previously played for the UNBSJ Seawolves, said the transition to the Tommies has been smooth so far.
“All of the coaching staff and players have been super welcoming,” said Blizzard, adding that his teammates have shown him around campus and helped him get to class.
The Tommies’ regular season officially starts on Nov. 4, with an away game against the Chargers, a brand new program at Crandall University in Moncton.
The Tommies, who finished third in the regular season last year and were knocked out in the semi-final round of the ACAA championship by the Holland College Hurricanes, are looking forward to the upcoming season and hoping to shake things up from last year’s standings.
“I’m very confident. I believe that these teams that we’re going to be playing are going to be surprised at how well we play together,” said Hamilton.
The Tommies will be in action next on Sep. 29 with a home exhibition game against Collège La Cité, at 4 p.m. at the Lady Beaverbrook Gym.