Rebels men’s volleyball team struggles to win its first game
By Nikola Elash
The Red River Rebels men’s volleyball team lost their seventh straight game, but the players remain positive.
The Canadian Mennonite University Blazers played the Red River Rebels for an evening match-up on Nov. 24. The Blazers won all three sets, making the Rebels’ win-loss record 0-7.
The Rebels lost the first set 25-10, but gained momentum in the second set with a close score of 25-21. Paolo Racano, left side, kept the team’s energy up with a serving streak. Though outside hitter Josh Goossen, 24, of the Rebels provided consistent attacks, the team fell short in the third set, 25-20.
“The guys know that I’m here for support,” said Lindsey Habib, head coach. “They also need to keep themselves motivated. Without that, there’s nothing.” Habib, 26, said he tries to keep the team motivated by keeping things lighthearted.
There are two veterans on the team, Zach Knight and Goossen. The other six players are first-year students at RRC. The team dropped to eight players this season compared to 15 from last season, a change that has proven to be a difficult shift for the Rebels,
Habib said he’s glad the team has a top hitter, but he can’t be used as often because the team struggles to be consistent.
“We need to work on passing and serving well,” Habib said.
This is Habib’s second year as the Rebels’ head coach. He was the recipient of the Volleyball Manitoba Elite Coach of the Year award with the WinMan Clutch 17U Boys team.
Habib said he believes the team will become stronger as the season continues.
Left side Neil Cymbalisty, 23, said he liked the energy and felt confident going into the game.
“CMU has a great team,” said Cymbalisty. “We have to stay positive and work with what we have, our strengths and weaknesses.”
Justin Gallego, 19, is the libero for the team but played left side during Saturday’s game. He said he hasn’t played left side for a while, but he believed he performed well playing in a different position.
“I thought that one of my strengths during the game was helping to lift the team’s spirit,” said Gallego. “I did well on defense, my passes were consistent.”
Gallego said that Habib reminded the team of their strengths at the end of the game.
“You have to perform well playing your position, both physically and mentally,” said Gallego. “We have to learn from our mistakes and create better results for the next game.”
The Rebels play at home on Jan. 11, 2019 at 7:30 against the Canadian Mennonite University Blazers.