The Mustangs women's volleyball team is set to face off against West division rivals McMaster Marauders this Saturday at Alumni Hall.
Both teams are undefeated so far this season and are ranked in the USport top 10. The Marauders are ranked third while the Mustangs are ranked 10th. The teams are evenly matched statistically, with the Mustangs topping the Marauders in almost every statistic although they have one more game played.
The Marauders are a balanced team who have consistently played well this season with strong blocking. If the Mustangs want to keep their banner hopes alive, beating the Marauders will be a must.
“We want to go in, we want to be aggressive from the first point,” said Mustangs head Coach Melissa Bartlett. “We have to serve very tough, to try and put them out of system and I think blocking at the net is going to be key to us.”
Although McMaster is a strong opponent, the Mustangs plan to exploit what few weaknesses they have.
“They can be small on the outside as blockers, their setter on the left side can be a bit smaller and I think they they're a strong blocking team,” said Bartlett. “They tend to defend somewhat shallow in the court, so we're working on attacking nice and deep.”
The game comes at an early point in the season, but it may be one of the more important games of the season. As a divisional rival, every game against McMaster counts, especially with both teams being undefeated heading into this game. There’s a chance both of these teams could be battling it out to host the final four in February, so every win, and every point, makes a difference down the road.
“If we happen to split our games, where we win one against McMaster, they beat us the next time, it could come down to how many points we beat them by,” said Bartlett.
In the end, these are two formidable, undefeated teams. They are the only two teams in the West left undefeated, and one of them will have to loose this weekend. It’ll come down to the basics, and whichever team can execute under pressure.
“I think whichever team serves and passes the best is going to come out on top,” said Bartlett. “We've been working on having a balanced team defense, because they use so many attack options so well, it's just demanding consistency.”
The game will be played at Alumni Hall at 6 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 26.