Don’t count out the Gaels—even down 2-0.
Queen’s Men’s Volleyball beat Windsor twice this weekend. Friday’s game was a clean sweep for the Gaels, as the Lancers didn’t even take one set, but they pulled out all the stops on Saturday.
“[Windsor] came out way more aggressively than last night,” Head Coach Gabriel DeGroot said in a post-game interview with The Journal.
While the Gaels had been dominant the night before, on Saturday they struggled to even keep up. The teams consistently matched each other point for point during the first two sets. The Lancers ultimately took the first two sets 30-28 and 25-22.
“When they got in tough situations last night, they kind of just continued the ball and gave us opportunities to score and tonight they took those opportunities away from us. So, we had to end up adjusting to a more aggressive style of play from them,” DeGroot said.
Heading into the third set, anxieties at the ARC were high. Fans felt disappointed because they expected the same sweep from the night before. Players, on the other hand, decided the game wasn’t quite over.
“The conversation in the locker room before this was just about building one point at a time,” DeGroot said of the team’s game plan.
This season, Queen’s has struggled with getting ahead of themselves and thinking too far ahead of the current point. DeGroot says that’s what they’ve been working on lately.
“[We’re] just staying in the moment and going back to what we’re good at, which is good technical and tactical volleyball which just keeps us grounded in what we have to do in each and every moment.”
Even down 2-0, that’s what Queen’s did—they kept focused on only the very next point.
The third set stayed neck and neck and the game dragged on. For each kill Queen’s Erik Siksna earned, Zach Albert from Windsor earned one right back. Neither team could get within two points of the other.
The teams were tied 23-23 as the pressure rose in the ARC. Queen’s had the ball but fumbled the serve, giving Windsor a point and possession. However, Windsor botched their serve as well, prompting Queen’s to call a timeout with the score tied again 24-24.
That timeout altered the game as Queen’s got back on the floor and immediately won two points in a row. The Gaels had stayed alive but weren’t yet safe, with two more sets to win.
The fourth set stayed close, ending the same way as the third: 26-24. Queen’s was one step closer to a crazy comeback.
As the fifth set started, the gym found new life. Queen’s got out to a four-point lead—the largest they’d held all night—before Windsor called a timeout to disrupt the flow.
Queen’s, however, wasn’t fazed. Instead, they began to play like they had the night before and emerged victorious after the longest fight of the season.
The Gaels have had a tough start to their season because one third of their roster are new recruits this year. With so many new players, they’ve needed new strategies for team chemistry and time to get team culture on track.
“It’s taken time. Building team culture is really important to me,” DeGroot said. “It’s a big piece to integrate [the first years] into what our culture looks like.”
Over the break, the team competed at a four-day exhibition tournament in Laval, Quebec which helped to bolster team chemistry and support.
“In our box and our bench, guys are just having a blast supporting each other. So that’s the most important thing to me,” DeGroot said.
ARC, comeback, sweep, Volleyball
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