OUA playoff roundup: Gryphons, Gaels battle for OUA title
HAMILTON, Ont. - It is rare that a team can sweep a season
series against an opponent and then beat them a third time in the
post-season, but that is exactly what the Guelph Gryphons did in
the first semifinal of the 2010 OUA Final Four men's volleyball
championship. The Gryphons came back from a two-set deficit to
defeat the top seeded and defending OUA champion McMaster Marauders
3-2 (16-25, 25-27, 25-15, 25-21, 15-8) on Friday night at
McMaster's Burridge Gym.
The Gryphons will take on the Queen's Gaels in Saturday's OUA final. The OUA Final Four is presented by Mikasa and AMJ Campbell Van Lines.
The match got off to a booming start with a large contingent of student cheering sections on hand from both schools. The Marauders scored the opening point and moved ahead 5-3 on a huge block from Shawn Bench (St. Catharines, Ont.) and Josh Lichty (St. Catharines, Ont.). A Jeremy Groenveld (Welland, Ont.) ace and a Bench kill sent the Marauders into the first technical timeout ahead 8-4. Another kill from Bench and one from Tyler Santoni (Kingston, Ont.) moved the Marauders ahead 10-6. The two teams traded points until the second technical timeout and McMaster was still out in front, 16-11. A Kevin Stewart (Ancaster, Ont.) block cut the McMaster lead to 17-13, but that was a close as the Gryphons would get in the set. The Marauders showed some great defence on set point with Josh Nederveen (Dundas, Ont.) diving to keep the rally alive and Lichty finishing the point to give McMaster the early one set advantage.
Set two started out the same as the first with the Marauders scoring first. Lichty scored back-to-back points to give MAC a 5-1 advantage. McMaster continued to build their lead and when Paul Podstawka (Ancaster, Ont.) pounded a ball from the back row that the Guelph liberio took in the chest the Marauders moved ahead, 8-3. Another Podstawka kill made it 10-5 in favour of McMaster. That is when Guelph started to creep back into the set. A couple of errors from the Marauders and an Andrew Bartram (Aurora, Ont.) block made the lead only three, at 11-8. The teams would trade errors until a Jonathan Whitton (Edmonton) kill cut the McMaster lead to 15-14. A couple of Guelph errors rebuilt the Marauder lead and a well placed Lichty tip made it 19-15 in favour of McMaster. A Jamie Stamler (North Bay, Ont.) kill and another Bartram block cut that lead to 19-17. Santoni and Stamler traded kills and a Winston Rosser (Whitby, Ont.) tip made it 21-19 still in favour of McMaster. Consecutive errors by the Marauders then tied the set at 21-21. The score would end up tied three more times with a Stewart kill making the score 24-24 to send the set to extra points. Tied at 25-25, a Groenveld kill gave the Marauders a 26-25 lead and Santoni finished off the set pounding a ball to the floor.
Down two sets things started to turn in the match for the Gryphons. Tied at 2-2, a Stamler block, followed by another block from Bartram, started to build a Guelph lead. The Marauders would miss on four of the next six points giving Guelph a 9-3 lead. The Guelph lead remained at six points for a while until a Bench ace reduced it to four at 13-9. Riley McAllister (Whitby, Ont.) responded with a quick tip, and then a block, to rebuild the Guelph lead to six at 15-9. The Guelph margin increased to seven points on a Rosser kill to make it 19-12. The Marauders didn't get any closer after that and a block by McAllister and Stamler gave Guelph the set.
Santoni came out hot in the fourth set scoring three of the first five McMaster points to give the Marauders an early 5-0 lead. A combination of a Rosser kill, McMaster error, and Stamler ace cut the McMaster lead to 6-4 and the teams headed to the first technical timeout with McMaster ahead 8-5. The teams traded points until a Stamler kill made the McMaster lead only two at 10-8. A triple block from Bartram, Stewart, and Rosser cut the MAC lead to 12-11 and Stamler followed with an ace to tie the set. As they did most of the match the teams continued to trade points, but it was a Stewart block that sent the teams to the second technical timeout with the Gryphons ahead 16-15. Another Bartram ace and a McAllister solo block would build an 18-15 Guelph lead. Out of a time out the Marauders responded with a Podstawka kill to narrow the gap to two points. The Guelph lead remained two until a McAllister point made it 20-17. Whitton and Stamler teamed up to make it 22-17, but another Podstawka kill kept it close at 22-19. A big block from Santoni had the Marauders in striking distance at 22-21 in favour of Guelph, but the Gryphons rattled off three consecutive points with kills from Stamler and Rosser and an ace from McAllister to secure the set.
Rallying from two sets down the Gryphons had momentum at the start of the fifth set. A block from Stamler and Rosser gave the Gryphons a 2-0 lead, but back-to-back kills from Groenveld tied things at two apiece. Whitton responded with a kill and an ace to make it 4-2 Guelph. Another Groenveld kill made it 5-3 and a Guelph error made it 5-4, but the Gryphons had increased their lead to 8-5 by the change. A Stewart kill improved the Guelph margin to 10-6 and after trading serving errors a McAllister tip made it 12-7. Another Groenveld kill kept the Marauders close at 12-8, but that was a close as the set would get. The Gryphons closed out the set and the match with kills from Rosser and Stamler.
Stamler was named the Mikasa player of the game for the Gryphons with 14 points on seven kills, three aces, seven block assists, and one solo block.
Santoni was selected as the Mikasa player of the game for McMaster with his match high 22 points on 16 kills with a 65 percent hitting percentage. He also had five solo blocks and ace on the night.
Rosser was the high scorer for the Gryphons with his 15 points on 11 kills, two aces, and five block assists. Stewart also scored in double figures with 11 points on five kills, four solo blocks, and one ace. McAllister directed the Guelph offence with 24 assists also contributing eight points on four kills and two solo blocks.
Groenveld finished with 14 points on 12 kills and an ace along with 20 digs for the Marauders. Lichty also scored in double figures with 11 points on 10 kills and a solo block. Hudson had 46 assists and 12 digs.
The Queen's Gaels won the other semifinal in similar come-from-behind fashion, defeating the Western Mustangs 3-2 (26-28, 16-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-12).
With the score tied 12-12 in the fifth set, the Mustangs committed two costly errors, hitting one ball into the net and another ball long to put Queen's up 14-12 in the fifth set.
Queen's would close out the match on a double-block from OUA first-team all-star Michael Amoroso (Toronto) and Bryan Fautley (Oakville, Ont.) to give the Gaels the victory.
Western led the match 2-0, before Queen's rallied to take the next three sets.
In the first set with the score tied at 26, Queen's committed a service error before Western outside hitter Mathieu Poulin (Winnipeg) put the game away with a kill giving Western a 1-0 lead.
In set two, Western galloped out to a 5-1 lead and easily captured the set 25-16 going ahead 2-0 in the match.
In the third set of the evening, with the score knotted a 23-23, Queen's Amoroso recorded a kill and on the next play teamed up with setter Daniel Rosenbaum (Hamilton, Ont.) on a block to give Queen's the 25-23 win and trimmed the Western lead to 2-1.
In the fourth set, Queen's took an 8-6 lead. Coming out of the first technical time-out, Western was called for a double-contact. On the ensuing play, Western misjudged a Queen's serve, letting it fall, but the serve caught the back line to give the Gaels a 10-6 edge, and an eventual 25-22 victory in the set, tying the match 2-2.
Queen's was led by OUA first-team all-star Joren Zeeman (Cambridge, Ont.) who recorded on 17 kills.
Queen's setter, Daniel Rosenbaum (Hamilton, Ont.) tallied 51 assists. Amoroso added 14 kills for the Gaels and was named the Mikasa player of the game for Queen's.
Western received strong play from Poulin who had 17 kills.
OUA player of the year Eric Simon (London, Ont.) returned from injury for the Mustangs to record nine kills. The fifth-year graduating left side hitter was named the Mikasa player of the game for Western.
The Gaels advance to the OUA men's volleyball final against Guelph on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Burridge Gymnasium on the McMaster University main campus.
Courtesy of McMaster University Department of Athletics & Recreation
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