Ook’s men’s volleyball look for a bounceback

by | Dec 15, 2022 | Sports

The NAIT Ooks Men’s Volleyball Team is looking to regain momentum as they prepare for the second half of the ACAC season. In September, the season was up in the air as the team lost critical players Winston Voogd and Jonathon Shapka. But the team has been able to dispel any doubts from others as they are currently 7-5 in conference and 19-8 on the season. 

Their season has been consistent so far. After an opening loss to Olds College, the Ooks had a four-match win streak against high-power opponents in the University of Alberta and College of the Rockies. The Ooks finished pre-season strong at 9-3 and had momentum going into October, which was the start of the conference season. The Ooks went 5-1, with a loss against King’s University. Head Coach Jordan Taylor was proud of how his team played in the five-set thriller. He praised Outside’s Jarod Roberts and Shae Mclntyre for stepping up in big moments as three middle blockers were out with illness. These adjustments Taylor made showed the depth his roster contained, as some players were able to make an immediate impact off the bench. The Ooks had a rough go in November, going 2-4 with losses against Briercrest, Keyano, and top-three-ranked Lethbridge. The team has completed its fall season and will travel to San Diego in late December to verse Premier NCAA and CCAA teams. 

This year, the team’s offensive firepower makes them dangerous. The team is hitting .316 on the season, its highest clip in the last three years. They returned ACAC Conference All-Stars in Carter Hills and Shae Mclntrye while other players filled key roles. All five starters have been hitting at high clips all season. Carter and Shae lead the team in kills, with Hills hitting .347 while Mclntrye is hitting .275. The other stars, Ross Bishop, Félix Dufour, and Daniel Ward, are hitting .357, .476, and .260 respectively. The hitters are doing an amazing job terminating the ball, but it would not be possible without setter Karter Godin. The fourth year from Edmonton, Alta. has led the team in assists for the last two seasons. 

Godin said that his goal “every game, [I want] to put the ball in the best position for them to score.” This mentality allows him to set a high-caliber offense very effectively. Godin also ranks third in assists per set in the ACAC with 9.14. With all-star hitters and a great setter, the team has the key pieces needed for a deep playoff run. 

With the first half of the season complete, the team’s goals shift as they go through December break. One significant change is the emphasis placed on the gym and increased weight training. 

“We want to be physically prepared for the challenges semester two will bring us. Games will become more challenging, ” said Godin. The Ooks will also focus on their trip to San Diego, where they will face top NCAA and CCAA teams like the Limoilou Titans and Humber Hawks. This trip can be a great momentum swing for them as they want to start the second part of the ACAC season on a high note. 

The next home action for the NAIT Ooks will be on January 13th, 2023, against SAIT. Find their full schedule on the NAIT Ooks website.

Cover Image: NAIT Athletics

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