This past Sunday, November 19, the UTM women’s d-league volleyball team played the St. George Blacks in a well-fought match, taking place in Gym A/B.
In the first set, UTM struggled to keep up with St. George. UTM’s Cheryl Chin was up first to serve where she successfully hit the ball over the net but a St. George player was quick to smash the ball back allowing her team to take the lead first. Following this play, St. George scored seven more points making it 8-0. UTM was doing well to keep a rally going but could not seem to gain any points from it. A St. George player served the ball into the net, giving UTM their first point of the game. Right after this, UTM made an amazing block making the score 8-2. However, this was short lived as St. George came back to make the score 13-3, allowing a 10-point difference. UTM’s team captain, Jessica Maltese, made an outstanding block gaining her team a point. This still was not enough for UTM as they continued to trail by more and more. UTM was diving for balls, and working well as a team but it was no match against St. George as they took the set 25-11.
The second set of the game was filled with excitement, intensity, and a desire to win from both teams. St. George served first in this set and unfortunately got a point as the UTM player bumped it out of bounds. The Blacks lead by two but this did not last long as UTM quickly came back to lead the set 3-2, putting them ahead for the first time in the game. Following this, Maltese tipped the ball over the net, getting another point for UTM. A lot of excitement was coming from the UTM bench as the coaches and players cheered and encouraged their teammates and players on. St. George began to catch up making the score 7-6. However, UTM continued to keep their composure and work as a team. A St. George player served the ball into the net, giving UTM another point. Right after this, Maltese smashes the ball into the St. George end where they failed to block it. An amazing rally took place where both teams had players diving for balls and trying to keep their team in the game. Unfortunately, Maltese ended the rally by hitting the ball out of bounds but she quickly made up for it in the next play where she made her signature smash hit.
Frustration was building on the St. George bench as the coaches called for a time out in the hopes of calming their team down and allowing them to regroup. St. George began their comeback and even started leading the set 20-18. Fans were on the edge of their seats as there was only a few more points needed to end the set. UTM’s coach, Bryan Calucag, called for a time out as he saw his team slowly starting to fall behind. This did well for UTM as they collected themselves and came back to take the lead 21-20. The remainder of the game was a series of back and forth play with St. George scoring a point to tie the set, and then UTM scoring a point to lead the game. It was not until the score was 26-26 that St. George broke the pattern and took the lead 27-26. A UTM player unfortunately hit the ball out of bounds, allowing St. George to win the set and also the game.
A third set was played but this did not make a difference to the end result of the game since St. George won two out of three sets. St. George lead the set 4-0 until one of their players hit the ball into the net, making it 4-1. UTM players Brianna Webb and Madeleine Myers teamed up to make an outstanding block and get their team a point. UTM began trailing by eight points then ten points, before ultimately allowing St. George to take the set 25-11.
Calucag was very impressed with his team’s performance and said that “in the second set they came strong and played their game and they almost took the set.” He mentions that all of his players have been improving immensely and that is all he asks from his team.