As the opening serve echoed throughout the RAWC at the beginning of the UTM Eagles’ game against the UTSC Maroons in the men’s tri-campus league, spectators knew they were in for a gritty and exciting match. The energetic UTM crowd cheered the Eagles on as they took on an early lead, dominating play after play and capitalizing on numerous chances. The Eagles came out on top after the first set, despite a valiant late rush by the UTSC Maroons.
As the second set began, UTSC took an early lead, but the margin grew smaller as the set progressed and the Eagles inched their way to a tie through the outstanding work of the players on the forefront, led by Milosh Solaja. Halfway through the set, UTM took the lead in the set. UTSC battled to take advantage of every opportunity, but it wasn’t enough to match the tremendous defensive blocks and offensive spikes by the UTM Eagles, who won the set 25–21.
UTM continued to surprise UTSC; they began the third set with the same momentum of the first two, which allowed them to take a commanding five-point lead over UTSC. In the final minutes, UTSC surged with an unexpected and well-deserved comeback. There was a timeout to discuss strategy during a crucial moment when the teams were tied at 25 each. As the game came to a close, a lucky bounce off the net and onto the court led to relief and roaring applause from the crowd; the Eagles won the third set with a score of 27–25.
“We played and passed very well,” said one of the Eagle’s leading scorers, Milosh Solaja, who was fundamental in his team’s success. “A great effort overall, and luck was on our side.”
The Maroons left unhappy. One player on UTSC was dealt a yellow card as he stepped off the court, an unexpected disappointment for him and his teammates.
Samuel Chow, a fourth-year U of T Scarborough student and member of the Maroons who had to sit the game out due to a knee injury, commented on his team’s performance. “To be honest, our team did not expect UTM to fight like this,” he said. “Despite playing our best, we do not look like we can overcome the height disadvantage. I hope this final set sees us making more precise passes and smart sets.”