Golden Hawks men’s volleyball starts playoff push
The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s volleyball team appears to be getting hot at just the right time.
After losing four out of their five matches since the holiday break, the Hawks won two in a row last weekend -downing the York Lions and the Ryerson Rams- to put them in the thick of the playoff race.
“I think we were playing with a lot more confidence than we have been lately,” said head coach Shayne White. “We were really consistent for the majority of the two games this weekend and that’s definitely something that we’re going to need to maintain in our two games this week.”
The consistency that White mentioned is something that the young Hawks’ team has lacked throughout the season, leading to the struggles of this semester, as well as a five-match losing streak, that spanned from late-October to mid-November.
However, thanks to timely two-game winning streak they are currently riding, the purple and gold are now in position to challenge for the final Ontario University Athletics (OUA) playoff spot.
The Hawks are currently tied for the final post-season spot with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, however as of now, the Blues would make it in because they won both of the meetings between the two teams this season.
“Toronto owns the tie-breaker against so we’re going to have to win two of our three matches left or maybe even all of them,” said White. “[Toronto] has a tougher remaining schedule than us but we’ve still got a few tough games, starting with Windsor [on Friday].”
On top of possessing the tie-breaker, the Blues also have a match in hand on the Hawks.
However, two of Toronto’s contests come against the Western Mustangs and the Queen’s Gaels – who rank second and third in the OUA respectively – while Laurier has more manageable matches against the middle-of-the-pack Windsor Lancers and the winless Royal Military College Paladins before a tough regular-season finale against the Gaels.
Despite his team’s inexperience – with no fourth or fifth-years on the roster – White is confident his team will be able to handle the pressure of their final matches.
“Mentally, there is a lot of pressure on us and I think we’ll be able to handle that properly,” he said. “Physically, we have no problems. We’re well rested, we’re healthy; I don’t think we’ve been overworked.”
The Hawks begin their fight for the post-season this Friday with a home match versus the Lancers.
Should they end up making the playoffs, White believes his team will be able to turn some heads.
“I think if we do get in [to the playoffs] we’ll end up with a good match-up against a team like Western, who we’ve played well against this season. And usually we play Queen’s pretty tough, so I think we’d do pretty well,” he said. “But right now, we’re really just focused on getting in.”