The odds were stacked against the seventh-seeded Dinos men’s volleyball team, drawing the 19–1 McMaster Marauders in the quarterfinal round of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championships. After shocking the Marauders and pumping up the Jack Simpson Gymnasium crowd with an inspired first set victory, the Dinos eventually succumed to the better team, losing in four sets to the Ontario University Athletics champions.
“We did give them a bit of a run for their money,” said fifth-year Dinos outside hitter Greg Mann. “It would have been nice to win, but they’re a good team. To win we had to play our best volleyball, and I don’t think we played our best volleyball tonight.”
The Dinos had the Marauders on their heels in the opening set, as the clear favourites looked shaky while the Dinos fed off the hometown crowd.
“We started out really strong, and then we kind of went away a little bit there and just let them back in,” said Mann. “We were really flying in the first set, just didn’t bring it in the second set and you can’t do that at this level.”
Fourth-year Dinos middle Ivan Kartev had key kills late in the first set to pull his team ahead by one on two occasions. Kartev then served it up on match-point and the Marauders botched the return to secure a first-set victory for the Dinos.
However, the Dinos fell behind early in the second and third sets, making an improbable upset attempt an almost impossible task.
“It’s hard to chase,” said Mann. “You just can’t give them a four-point cushion at the start of the set and just play catch up.”
The Dinos looked poised to make a stand in the fourth set, flipping the table on the Marauders and giving themselves a four-point lead. However, they could not take advantage of the lead and were out-matched by the Marauders’s power and accuracy. McMaster, lead by fourth-year outside hitter Jori Mantha, took the set with ease and secured a berth in the semifinals.
The Dinos will move onto the consolation round in order to sort out the fifth to eighth place rankings for 2014.