What hoped to be payback for a season opening loss turned out to be déjà vu for Trent’s women’s volleyball team Wednesday night. The Excalibur suffered another loss Wednesday to the Loyalist College Lancers, putting their berth to the Ontario championships in jeopardy.
Sitting with an 8-2 record at the Christmas break and a firm hold on second place in the OCAA women’s volleyball east division, the Excalibur have struggled since returning to regular season play. While the women have added four wins to their record, the addition of three damaging losses has reduced their lead over their competition.
Holding a four point lead over the Lancers prior to the match, the Excalibur lacked inspiration in their play to maintain their grip on their second place standing. On again off again passing and an inconsistent offense plagued Trent in the first two sets, causing the Excalibur fall short with 19-25 and 17-25 losses.
The third set however, showed a glimmer of the Trent seen in the first half of the season.
Strong serving and solid defense anchored the Excalibur’s play throughout the set. The Lancers were unable to gather a decent attack or handle theirs host’s offence. Trent made short work of their opponents, dropping them with a decisive 25-14 victory.
Trent, however, wasn’t able to maintain their dominant form in the fourth set. The Lancers forged ahead early, leading the set 12-17 until the Excalibur battled back to tie the match at 20. From there, a seesaw battle ensued as both teams went point for point until Loyalist was able to break free.
The Lancers went on to finish off the Excalibur 26-24, handing Trent their fifth loss of the year and casting a shadow on their goal for another visit to the provincial championships at the end of this month.
Excalibur head coach Peter Carter confirms that he and his squad have a serious challenge ahead of them if they are to return to provincials.
“We’re in a real dog fight,” states Carter. “We could finish anywhere from second to seventh possibly.”
Carter, however, has faith that his team will react to the task at hand.
As for why tonight’s results weren’t what he and his team were hoping for, Carter gives credit to the Lancers for getting ahead of his squad and keeping the pressure on.
“We came up against a strong, well-coached team,” says Carter. “They out played us the first half of the match and we weren’t able to dig out way out of the hole we were in.”
Now with a 12-5 record, the Excalibur are going to have to stay focused for the rest of the season. As of Wednesday night, four points separates places second to fifth, leaving Trent at risk of tying with any number of teams.
Top scorer for Trent in their cause was Emma Schlegl with 15 offensive points and 10 digs. Loyalist’s Sherene Einarsson led the way to victory with 12 points total.