Not going to be an easy ride for men’s volleyball as new season opens

Nov 9, 2023 | Headlines, Sports

The Humber Hawks men’s volleyball team opened up its 2023-24 season but not how they expected, starting with a 1-3 record. Despite this, they are using the poor start as a learning opportunity.

The team looked good in the preseason, winning four of the five games, but unfortunately, they couldn’t continue that momentum in the season opener as Fanshawe would take the game three sets to one.

Third-year setter Christopher Bowen said the team struggled to find its footing in the home environment.

“We had a good preseason, but they came in hungry and we were still trying to get settled in at home,” Bowen said.

In back-to-back seasons, the team had begun with three to one set losses. Unlike the year prior, however, their first win of the season would come before November.

The Hawks faced off against Sheridan College in the second game of the season and the first of a three-game road trip.

The team was kill-hungry the entire game and would bounce back after the opening night loss and smother Sheridan to win the match three sets to one.

Bowen said the team was eager and ready to get that first win.

“Felt great, cross-town rival Sheridan, so we wanted to go in there hungry and win that game, so it felt great,” he said.

Mendes blocking the Fanshawe point attempt

Gabriel Mendes blocking a Fanshawe point attempt in a recent game. Photo credit: Kyle Gilmor / Humber Hawks

The team had hoped to ride that momentum into the next game but lost throw-away game three of the season after being dominant, going up two sets to one. Complacency and errors allowed the Redeemer Royals to bounce back and get a narrow win in the final set.

Game four of the season would be much the same, and the travel to Windsor did not make it easier. The team would again lose narrowly as St. Clair would again steal the game in the final set.

Assistant coach Terence Pragg-Singh says he’s not worried about the men’s Hawks starting 1-3.

“Having a slow start isn’t always a bad thing,” Pragg-Singh said. “It’s all about how you finish, and I’d rather us peak later on in the season than have us peak early.

“Having losses like this early is something that can build character for the guys and let them know there are certain things they have to work on,” he said.

A slower start to the season is common for this team. Last year, the Hawks dropped the first two games of the season and four of the first eight.

The second half of the season was flawless, as the team would only lose one of the remaining 10 games. They would take that momentum into the playoffs, winning four straight games to take home the OCAA gold medal.

Pragg-Singh says the boys still have a long way to go until they can get back to the OCAA title.

“We just need to work hard,” he said. “We have to come in every day and play every practice and every game like it’s gonna be our last.”

Pragg-Singh said the team has multiple key players in their final year, and with those players not being able to return next season, this year’s squad will need a big push to bring home the gold.

The team is not reminiscing about the start and is already rebuilding their season after defeating the Mohawk Mountaineers in a dominating 3-0 set sweep.

They look to build on that dominance against Cambrian College on Nov. 8.