Strong homestand for volleyball

Men win two, move to 4-1, women split pair against Ottawa, Brock

Women’s volleyball fell to the Ottawa Gee-Gees, but rebounded to defeat the Brock Badgers, leaving them at 2-3 this year.
Women’s volleyball fell to the Ottawa Gee-Gees, but rebounded to defeat the Brock Badgers, leaving them at 2-3 this year.
Amanda Digel serves up the ball against Ottawa.
Amanda Digel serves up the ball against Ottawa.

Volleyball put on a good show this weekend with both the men’s and women’s teams victorious in regular season OUA play.

With their defeat of the Waterloo Warriors, the men claimed their third straight win of the season, improving their record to 4-1. Saturday’s match against Waterloo capped off a good weekend for the men, who had already come out on top after a hard-fought five-setter against Laurier on Friday.

Having lost to the Golden Hawks last season, the Gaels took to the court looking to redeem themselves. Head coach Brenda Willis said Friday’s match was a good indication of the level of her team’s play.

“Laurier was a reasonable measuring stick for us,” she said.

It took just three sets for the Gaels to dismiss the Warriors but despite the score, Willis said she did not feel that the team played to its full potential.

“It was a match riddled with unforced errors,” she said. “[Waterloo] had a lot of trouble hitting the court.”

Nonetheless, Willis said it was a good opportunity to get some of the less experienced players on the court.

Willis said she was especially pleased with the performances of left side hitter Luke Lichty and outside hitter Jeff DeMeza, who is recovering from a minor ankle sprain. DeMeza led the team offensively with twelve kills, while Ryan McCracken and Chris Vandyk headed up the defence. McCracken claimed seven block assists and Vandyk had two block solos and three block assists.

Looking ahead to the team’s forthcoming trip to McMaster, Willis said she is anticipating a high-calibre game.

“I don’t see that being an error-filled game,” she said.

She also said she believes disciplined defence will be the key to overcoming the Marauders, and that she is confident the team will stack up.

“We are certainly two of the teams that will vie for the title,” she said of the Gaels’ championship aspirations. The team hopes to earn a host berth for the first round of playoffs.

On the women’s side the Gaels took on the Ottawa Gee-Gees and the Brock Badgers.

The weekend started out slowly, with the women falling to the Gee-Gees (25-10, 25-14, 26-24). Head coach Chris Galbraith said the team was extremely flat going into the opening set.

“We just didn’t go out there and perform the way we had to,” he said.

The first set saw a lot of balls hitting the floor and an overall lack of focus. Two sets and some major changes later, the women began to pull it together. In the third set left-side hitter Erin Sadler, who had switched sides, and left-side hitter Amanda Digel led their team in the turnaround.

“[Digel] looked like she picked the team up and carried them on her shoulders,” said Galbraith.

The Gaels fought hard for the set but came up just short. However, they carried their momentum into Saturday’s match against Brock.

The two teams are closely matched in the standings and it showed from the start. The Gaels shed much of the tension of the previous match and played much more consistent volleyball.

A solid effort resulted in a score of (24-26, 25-23, 25-21, 25-15). Digel led the offence with 16 kills while Melissa Wright and Amanda Robinson had 10 kills apiece.

As for overall improvements, Galbraith said it’s all in the team members’ heads.

“It’s more a question of team cohesiveness on the floor [than physical skills], having the mental toughness to battle through adversity,” he said.

Like the men, the women are headed to Hamilton next weekend. Galbraith said they will be focusing on process goals more than outcomes and looking to implement some new strategies.

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