No repeat feeling for Gryphs as they take this year’s quarter-final
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons remember the feeling they had a year ago when they were knocked out of the OUA men’s volleyball playoffs and it wasn’t a feeling they wanted to experience again this year.
“That’s a great win by our guys,” Gryphon coach Cal Wigston said. “They have been dialed in all week. I’ve never had a team as dialed in as these guys are. They wanted that bitter loss out of their mouths from last year when we lost in five and they did it. Super happy.”
“Last year we lost in the fifth set to a really tough team, Queen’s, and we said that that would never happen again,” Gryphon captain Jakson Paterson said.
Last year the Gryphs were knocked out of the quarter-finals with a 3-2 loss to the Queen’s Gaels at Kingston. Queen’s took the first two sets of that match before the Gryphs rallied with two consecutive set victories. However, the Gaels won the match by taking the final set that went long as the hosts won it 23-21.
Saturday, the Gryphs swept the Ryerson Rams 3-0 in the league quarter-finals to gain a berth in next weekend’s OUA Final Four tournament at Hamilton. The Gryphs won 25-21, 25-20, 25-19.
“It was not an easy three straight,” Wigston said. “When you’ve got a guy like Xander Ketrzynski on the other side and Taryq Sani who are phenomenal players and two really good middles, they make life tough for you. It was just a fantastic win. The guys executed everything that we wanted them to do right down to the wire. I’m just so so proud of my guys — so proud of them.”
““They’re obviously an incredible team and in playoffs everyone is going to play as hard as they can,” Paterson said. “I was honestly surprised that it went three straight. It was great that all the guys showed up today. That was great.”
The Gryphs had a .320 kill percentage with 37 kills, 35 assists, five aces, 32 digs and five blocks while Ryerson had a .210 kill percentage with 32 kills, 30 assists, four aces, 21 digs and seven blocks.
The Gryphs have been thinking of the quarter-final match with Ryerson since before the end of the regular season as they had secured second in the West behind McMaster with three games to go in the regular season. They finished their regular season with a 3-0 sweep of the Waterloo Warriors at Waterloo Feb. 22.
“Before we played Waterloo, they had their Ryerson game plan and they knew what we were going to do,” Wigston said. “We didn’t want to overlook Waterloo by any means and we didn’t. We took care of business. I was just so proud of the guys and their focus. As soon as that Waterloo game was over, they celebrated and then it was like ‘OK, make sure you’re in the gym’ and that’s them policing themselves.
“It was like a very business-oriented week this week,” Paterson said. “It was very successful for all of us.
Zarko Ubiparip had 15 kills, two assists, five digs and a block for the Gryphs while Oliver Hissink had eight kills, an assist, two aces and five digs. Gideon Dresser had 30 assists and nine digs while Arjun Selhi had two aces, Ben Kissack had six digs and Paterson had three blocks.
Taryq Sani had 12 kills and an ace for Ryerson while Xander Ketrzynski had nine kills, an assist, three aces and two digs. Saad Shaikh had 28 assists and six digs while Greg Vukets had five digs and Navreet Suhan had two blocks.
The other semifinals Saturday saw the McMaster Marauders sweep the Nipissing Lakers 3-0, Toronto Varsity Blues defeat the Brock Badgers 3-1 and Queen’s Gaels sweep the Windsor Lancers 3-0.
McMaster gets to host the Final Four thanks to their quarter-final win.
The Gryphs are to play Toronto in a 5:30 p.m. semifinal match Friday at McMaster while the Marauders are to play in the 8 p.m. game.
Friday’s winners are to play in the gold-medal game Saturday at 8 p.m. while Friday’s losers are to play in the bronze-medal match Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
“We have to treat this coming week the same way we did last week,” Paterson said. “It’s just very business oriented and also casual, still having fun and not being too focused on every fine detail. I think we do the small things very well. Keeping the overall goal of just going out there and playing hard is the main goal.”
The championship-game combatants and the bronze-medal winner are to advance to the U Sports national championship tournament March 13 to 15 at Winnipeg.
“One more win at Final Four and we go to the national championships and we’re super happy about that,” Wigston said.
The Gryphs will make their fourth appearance in the OUA Final Four since in 11 years as they also played in the Final Four 2010, 2011 and 2017.
Gryphons 3 Rams 0
Guelph 25 Ryerson 21
Guelph 25 Ryerson 20
Guelph 25 Ryerson 19
- Guelph Sports Journal