Women’s volleyball had a win and loss in their return to OUA competition after promising holiday results.
Coming off a bronze medal finish at a holiday exhibition tournament in Clearwater, Florida, the Gaels made quick work of the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday afternoon. The Guelph Gryphons returned the favour on Sunday, pulling off a rapid win of their own.
Queen’s (6-5) won the Waterloo (3-9) match in three straight sets, outscoring their opponents 25-16, 25-11, 25-16.
Second-year middles Shannon Neville and Niki Slikboer chipped in 12.5 and 12 points, respectively, to lead the charge for the Gaels. Fellow second-year Ali Shamie got the starting nod at setter and managed the offence efficiently, contributing 34 assists.
The team executed with precision on Saturday, totaling only nine errors in the match.
“The [Florida] tournament prepared us for the game pretty well,” said Gaels head coach Joely Christian-Macfarlane.
The tables were turned on Sunday, as Guelph (9-4) surprised the Gaels with a three-game sweep of their own. After getting stunned in the first set 25-15, the Gaels pushed back in the second and third sets but still came up short: 25-22 and 25-23.
“I’m a little surprised ― I expected four or five sets,” Christian-Macfarlane said.
The Gaels came out flat and struggled to come back after some early errors. One bright spot was Kelsey Bishop, the Gaels fourth-year outside hitter, who dominated the right side, notching 14 points ― a team and game high.
After the weekend, the team sits at 6-5, maintaining their fifth spot in the OUA East.
Over the break, the women participated in the Innisbrook Resort Women’s Volleyball Invitational Tournament in Florida, facing off against a variety of opponents from Ontario and New Brunswick.
With everyone getting equal playing time, the squad captured a well-earned bronze medal and gained valuable experience for their depth players.
Their only loss in the tournament came against the McMaster Marauders (8-5), who led the OUA West before this weekend.
“The tournament was a good mid-season test for us,” Christian-Macfarlane said. “Usually we perform pretty poorly mid-season.”
Performance at the tournament resulted in Shamie starting in place of fifth-year setter Shannon Walsh on Saturday against Waterloo. Although the two setters split time against Guelph, Shamie could be a valuable depth option for the Gaels down the stretch.
The team is on the road next weekend to take on the Windsor Lancers (6-5) and the Western Mustangs (2-9). Queen’s is currently two games behind the Ryerson Rams (8-4) for fourth place in the OUA East.
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