Despite being swept by the Ottawa Gee-Gees last Saturday, women’s volleyball still controls their own playoff destiny this weekend.
The Gaels (11-6) sit fourth in the OUA East heading into the season’s final games – two games back of the Ryerson Rams (13-4) for third place in the division. They also hold a two-game lead over the York Lions (9-8) for the East’s final playoff spot.
They’ll either have a post-season rematch with the Gee-Gees or take on the first-place Toronto Varsity Blues (17-0) in the first round.
The Gaels wrap up their campaign on the road against the top two teams in the OUA West – the McMaster Marauders (14-3) on Friday and the Guelph Gryphons (9-8) on Saturday.
Gaels head coach Michael Ling said the Gaels are focused on coming out with wins in those games, instead of fixating on who they’ll face in the playoffs.
“We can catch Ryerson, but we have to win,” Ling said. “The thing we have to do is win these two matches this weekend. We don’t really care who our opponent is. Whether it’s Toronto or Ottawa, they’re both great teams, and we’d love a chance at both of them again.”
The Gaels fell 3-0 on the road to Ottawa on Saturday, one week after losing in straight sets to Toronto at the ARC.
Queen’s came out sluggish in the opening frame against the Gee-Gees, dropping the set 25-14. Ling said the Gaels were well prepared for the match, but they struggled to return Ottawa’s serves.
“They got on us early with tough serving,” he said. “We made probably five or six in a row serve receive errors, so that set the tone for the first set.”
Ling added that the Gee-Gees had an additional emotional boost. The match was their seniors’ final regular season home game.
Queen’s couldn’t bounce back in the second set and continued to struggle against Ottawa’s serving game. The Gee-Gees recorded 10 service aces during the course of the contest.
The Gaels dropped the second set 25-18 and the third 25-19. Ling said the team’s struggles in the return game impacted the rest of their offence.
“With our serve receive game off, we can’t score many points,” he said. “It’s like two ships going in opposite directions. Ottawa was good going in one direction and we were bad going in the opposite direction and it just magnifies itself that way.”
Ling said the team’s resilience is the most important thing for the Gaels to improve on from this game, adding that the team is seeking consistency and mental toughness.
“I think we’ve shown that we’re a little bit hot one day, cold another day,” he said. “We just need to be that resilient team that doesn’t freak out over ‘okay, that was a good play’, and just goes out there and tries again and sees what happens.”
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