After losing five of their last seven games, men’s volleyball is back to their winning ways.
The Gaels had a dominant showing against the RMC Paladins at the ARC on Sunday afternoon, handily beating their crosstown rivals 3-0 in straight sets.
“It’s very easy with a small crowd and an opponent that’s not making the playoffs to come in and kind of just play,” men’s volleyball head coach Brenda Willis said after her team’s win. Despite the Paladins’ 2-13 record, Willis said “I thought we played pretty determined.”
Willis further credited her team’s strong play to their efficiency. The Gaels’ offense recorded 49 kills to the Paladins’ 23 and 10 blocks to their opponent’s four — all the while hitting an impressive .481 per cent.
Queen’s also did a good job of distributing the ball to their primary hitters. Willis in particular alluded to the play of first-year setter Zane Grossinger’s, who accounted for 37 of the team’s 46 total assists on the afternoon.
“I think that was the biggest thing,” Willis said about Grossinger’s ability to get multiple players involved. “We got a lot of one-one situations and our hitters were efficient. [W]e’re making strides in everything we do … it just takes a little [bit] of time.”
Although it was important to snap their three-game losing streak, Willis hopes her team approaches every game with a clean slate.
“To me, it’s one match and we try to win one match,” she explained. “[The win] doesn’t [re]write what happened before and it has no effect on what’s next — it’s just about winning today, and we did that.”
Despite RMC’s standing in the OUA — which is second-to-last — the Gaels prepared for this match like it was a playoff game. Willis said they’ve taken this approach for the last few weeks.
“We said we were gonna practice a playoff mentality from match preparation right through to the last point, and I think they did that really well,” Wills said.
Queen’s is currently 7-8 and tied for fourth in the OUA East with two games to play. In order to host a postseason game, they’d have to finish in third place.
“We’re in a situation now where every match is, in a way, a playoff match,” Willis said, “because it affects our draw and whether we’re in [bad form] all the way through the playoffs.”
Things don’t get easier for Queen’s, with games this upcoming weekend against the University of Toronto and Ryerson. With the Varsity Blues just one spot behind Queen’s in the standings, securing a playoff berth would likely require Queen’s to defeat U of T.
Despite the pressure, Willis said she feels confident her team can either remain in fourth place in the OUA East or, hopefully, move up to third.
“If we have a good week of practice, I feel pretty good,” Willis said when asked how she felt heading into what’ll be her final two regular season games as a Gaels head coach. “We beat Toronto in their gym so we have every reason to think we can beat them at home.”
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