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HeadlinesSportsVarsityHawks break down in first set against undefeated Fanshawe

Jeremy YudinFebruary 4, 20197 min

Jeremy Yudin, Sports Reporter

LONDON, Ont. — For only the second time this season, the Humber Hawks’ men volleyball team lost a game.

The Hawks came out flat to start the game on Feb. 2. At one point, Humber was down 17-5.

Coach Wayne Wilkins said his team’s performance was “quite comical.”

“In the first set we were still on the bus. We were asleep,” he said.

Hawks player Rafael Hilario (left) tries to explain an issue with a referee. Rrezart Sadiku (right) and John Obi (far right) wait for the game to resume. (Jeremy Yudin)

After losing the first set 25-14, Humber bounced back in the following set and tied the second set at 24. A kill from Humber’s outside hitter Rrezart Sadiku put the men in blue and gold up by one. And an attack error from Fanshawe’s James Jackson sealed the second set for Humber.

“All I said to them was we can’t play any worse. So let it go, we can’t change the outcome of that, just go out and play,” Wilkins said.

Humber continued to be competitive in the third set, tying it up at 19-19 once again. A few quick strikes from the Falcons gave Fanshawe the set, and a 2-1 lead in the game.

The fourth set was played in a similar fashion, and Humber lost 25-23.

Humber’s only other loss in the season was also against Fanshawe on Nov. 24. The Hawks lost in three sets in that in-game compared to four sets last weekend.

Outside hitter Sadiku said the Hawks had almost no advance scouting on the Falcons. But the loss this time suggests the difference between the Hawks in November and now is preparation, he said.

The team made some advances on Fanshawe by being to able to keep the sets close, Sadiku said.

“The first time was really to test the ropes and see what (Fanshawe) had, and the second time we were just prepared. Every rotation we knew what to do,” he said.

Heading into the game, Fanshawe’s head coach Patrick Johnston was expecting something new from his opponent.

“It’s a different team from the first half” of the season, he said.

Wilkins agreed.

“We matured quite a bit,” he said. “I was very happy that they couldn’t stop us as much as they did in (November’s game).”

Even though Wilkins is confident in his team, he still praises Fanshawe’s talent.

“They’re a veteran squad. They know how to ball,” he said.

The Hawks aren’t letting the loss get to them.

“It’s just like any team: we gotta slow them down. We’ll be there,” Sadiku said.

“You know we lost to them in three straight (sets) in the beginning of the year, now we lost in four at their home,” Wilkins said.

He’s confident, however, that the next time the teams meet, Fanshawe won’t come out on top.

“If I had to forecast anything, I’m calling a five-set victory in the gold medal final at Humber,” he boasted.