An unusually inconsistent men’s volleyball team went 1-1 at the ARC on the weekend. Queen’s suffered a shocking four set loss (22-25, 20-25, 30-28, 20-25) against the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday, but bounced back on Sunday with a sweep (25-18, 25-18, 25-20) of the Laurier Golden Hawks.
Saturday’s defeat left the home crowd in disbelief as the defending OUA Champions, aside from a strong rally in the third set, put on a lacklustre performance. The game was not expected to be a tough contest for the Gaels, who had defeated the Warriors in November. Waterloo sits in sixth place with a 4-8 record.
Outside Joren Zeeman, who totaled 31 kills over the course of the weekend, said that Saturday’s loss helped remind the Gaels not to be complacent.
“We definitely underestimated Waterloo a bit and it cost us,” he said.
Zeeman was quick to add that it was not just complacency that lost Queen’s the game and applauded the Warriors’ strong performance.
“They really brought their ‘A’ game and we brought our ‘B’ game,” he said. “They were really excited to play us. I mean when you’re the defending champions you always have a bit of a target on your back … and [they] prepared very well.”
Sunday saw a complete turnaround, as Queen’s cruised to a comfortable straight-set win against Laurier in the ARC. The weekend leaves the Gaels with a 10-3 record and tied for third place in the OUA along with the 10-4 Guelph Gryphons.
Zeeman added that the sting of the loss to Waterloo was factor in their win over Laurier.
“We learned our lesson about underestimating the other team,” he said. “No one wanted a two-loss weekend, so we prepared well and played well.”
Head coach Brenda Willis also highlighted the importance of Saturday’s loss for the team.
“When we played them in the fall, we went five sets with them,” she said. “They play fast, low and quick. I think we didn’t give them enough respect before the game. It was a bit of a wake-up call. It showed us what happens if you don’t take care of your side of the net.”
A win over Waterloo would have put the Gaels within striking distance of league-leading Western as the Mustangs suffered a defeat against the McMaster Marauders on Saturday.
“Not only was [the loss] a lesson, it was an expensive one,” she said. “With Western losing to McMaster, we would have been in prime position to host the Final Four.”
The Queen’s Gaels will face the Western Mustangs next weekend, in a hotly anticipated contest between two of the OUA’s top contenders. Willis said she was optimistic about her team’s chances.
“We’re pretty even with Western,” she said. “When we played them in the fall, we went five sets.” Willis added that her team could now take on the Mustangs with some of her top players who were not in the line-up for the Gaels’ loss to Western in November. “Last time we played them, we didn’t have Niko [Rukavina] or [Daniel] Rosenbaum,” she said. “It will be good to have some of or top guys back with us.
“It should be two good teams, playing to the best of their abilities, which is what sports is all about,” she said. “We had a bit of a shaky match last time we played them. We didn’t pass very well so this should be a chance to improve on that.”
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