The Queen’s Men’s Volleyball team beat the Brock Badgers in straight sets to claim the OUA bronze medal on Mar. 19.
With the win, the Gaels keep their season alive and will travel to Manitoba for the U Sports Men’s Volleyball Championship, where they’ll face the No. 3 seeded Alberta Golden Bears on Mar. 25.
“Great bounce back from our disappointing semifinal loss against Toronto […] If we were going to dwell on it, we were screwed,” Head coach Gabriel deGroot said of the game in an interview with The Journal.
In a closely contested first set, the Gaels and Badgers traded points, neither side building a lead of more than two. Then, at 14-14, a service error from the Badgers sparked four straight points from the Gaels. After that run, the team never gave up the lead, winning the set 25-23.
The second set started off similarly, but it was the Badgers who built a four-point lead late, going up 19-23. However, the Gaels side fought back, going on a 7-1 run to eventually win 26-24.
After a start strong in the third, going up 9-3, the Queen’s side commanded the rest of the match with a 25-21 score in the final frame to claim the victory.
deGroot touched on the team’s ability to quickly forget their previous match, an 0-3 loss against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Mar. 16.
“I thought the guys did a great job this week of just going back to work. Figuring out that our end goal was not just the OUA Championship’s, but to get to the National Championship,” he said.
“We did execute the game plan really well.”
However, deGroot ultimately attributed the key factor to a change in their starting lineup.
“We went with a little bit lower-risk lineup today, and it ended up paying off. We were able to just keep the pressure on them,” he explained.
Looking forward to Nationals, deGroot acknowledged that a more conservative approach won’t be sustainable facing the nation’s best teams.
“We’re going to probably have to find a balance, […] because teams are just going to get better, and this kind of safer volleyball isn’t going to work at the highest level,” he noted.
An aspect of the Gael’s game he does want to bring is the fighting spirit they’ve shown throughout the playoffs.
“The competitive nature of this group is really starting to show through that second set […] To show that resilience and come back and to do it in a way that just brings the team together was really good,” he said.
“That ultimately is what we’ll take from this and move forward.”
Bronze medal, Men's Volleyball, OUA
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