The York Lions men’s volleyball team battled back from a two-set deficit Tuesday, winning three clutch sets to take a one-game lead over the Western Mustangs in the best-of-three Ontario University Athletics final series.
The Lions found themselves on their heels as Western dominated the opening two sets with big plays and a poised defence. The Mustang hitters had little trouble finding open spots, dropping several kills down the centre where they fell mostly unchallenged by York’s defence. Western constantly challenged the Lions’ blocking unit which struggled to stop Western’s hitters early on.
Right: Lions’ James Battison hugs teammate Jason Kinoshita, sitting, while Ryan Anderson offers his hand at OUA volleyball finals at the Tait MacKenzie Centre Tuesday
The Mustangs held the lead for most of the first two frames and clearly outplayed the Lions. After dropping York 25-22 and 25-21, Western seemed on the verge of making it an early night.
With a display of the perseverance and tenacity that have helped them all season long, the Lions responded with a more energetic effort in the third frame, going on a 4-0 run to take the lead and carried it throughout the set. The Mustangs fought back to within a point but the Lions then ran away with it to claim a 25-20 victory. Powered by better defence and shot-blocking, the Lions also won the fourth set 25-23 to stay alive.
Both teams fought hard, diving for loose balls and making spectacular plays in the fifth frame. York played what was by far its best set of the match and never trailed. Sholan Trivedi became the hero of the night when his match-point spike slipped off the hand of a Western defender to give York the 15-13 victory.
Trivedi, Ryan Anderson and Paul Podstawka each scored double-digits in kills. Anderson led all players with a game-high 25 kills, while Trivedi and Podstawka had 14 and 12, respectively. York setter Jason Kinoshita had a game-high 63 assists and nine digs.
The final series continues Thursday as the Lions visit Western for game two at 7pm. Game 3, if necessary, is set for Saturday, 1pm, at the Tait McKenzie Centre.
This article was submitted by Keith Boshart, sports information assistant with Sport York. Photo by York student Andrew Craig.