Volleyball confident despite two losses

Rookies’ performances bode well for team’s future

Women’s volleyball played three games in four days last week.
Women’s volleyball played three games in four days last week.
Credit: 
Anne Kloosterman

The women’s volleyball team had what appeared to be a rollercoaster of a week, losing two of three games in a four-day homestand. But head coach Chris Galbraith was satisfied with his team’s performance.

“I wouldn’t have described it as an up and down thing at all,” he said. “I’d say it was mostly an up.” He said that, despite the results, he has seen marked improvement in the team over the course of the season and believes it’s only a matter of time before their record starts to reflect it.

The team kicked off the econd half of their regular season Wednesday at home against the York Lions. Galbraith said it was a taxing match, and the Gaels went down in straight sets. They didn’t let it get to them, though, and came back with a convincing three-set win over the visiting Laurier Golden Hawks on Friday.

Setter Jenna Willis, in her first game of the season, led the team in a strong offence with 48 assists, and Amanda Digel posted a game-high 25 kills.

The Gaels were in action for the third time in four days against the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday. In
a marathon match lasting more than two hours, Queen’s went down in five sets. Digel again led both
teams with 23 kills, 15 digs and six service aces. Rookie Louise Hamill contributed 16 kills and 20 digs. Willis, a first-year law student, set for the McMaster Marauders last season but was forced to sit out the first half of this year with a broken thumb.

Her arrival comes just in time for her to step in for rookie setter Ellen Gray, who also suffered a broken thumb just before the break. Galbraith said Willis has proven that she deserves the starting spot.

“I think she has shown that her set selection and her running of the offence give the other teams a lot of trouble.” He said that while every team tries to cultivate a certain level of stability on the floor, a competitive environment helps to bring out the best in the players and ensure that each of them earns her position. “I think we haven’t handed the job [of setter] to anybody.” Galbraith said the rookie class
as a whole has had a strong season so far.

“They’ve been doing an outstanding job, no question about it.” He said many of the first-year players made the team as walk-ons, never having been recruited by the coaches. Annika Green had let the coaches know she wanted to come, but none of them had seen her play before she arrived in Kingston.

Karlye Wong has been given the starting spot in the last few games, and Galbraith said she had shown that she can handle the pressure. He said the strength of the rookies bodes well for the future of the program. He also said the team is slowly building its confidence. “Although we lost to York and although we lost to Waterloo, there were a number of times where we were serving for the match … we were right in there.”

The team next faces the Royal Military College Paladins Friday at RMC.

RMC recently lost their starting setter for academic reasons, and Galbraith said he’s prepared to exploit the weakness. “Not that we wish them any ill, but if they’re having difficulties then we can take advantage of that.”

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