Squash scores final spot

Wins seven matches, earns playoff berth

The women’s squash team returned from their tournament at the University of Toronto in possession of the fourth and final playoff spot for the upcoming provincial championships.

In two days of play, the Gaels narrowly split their games, winning seven and losing five. The Gaels opened the tournament losing five of their first six matches against Western.

“Two of our matches went 3-2,” assistant coach Stacy Bell said. “They were pretty close matches, but we didn’t end up winning the crucial matches at the end.

“It wasn’t deflating, but we were hoping to do better.”

Queen’s Allison Verney won the only match for Queen’s in the number six position.

“She’s really improved from last year to this year,” Bell said. “I think if anyone’s improved the most, it has to be her.

“She has a mentality of going out there and beating her opponent handily.”

On Sunday, Queen’s faced McMaster and a possible elimination from the provincial championships. McMaster was winless on the weekend, having lost 6-0 to both Toronto and McGill.

“We really got beaten pretty badly in the eastern sectionals, so we knew had to accumulate points in this tournament,” Bell said. “We needed to beat McMaster as badly as we could and scrape up some points.”

McMaster continued their weekend trend, losing 6-0 to Queen’s, allowing the Gaels to secure a spot in the provincial championships.

“Going into it, they were pretty comparable with us,” Bell said. “But I think our girls came out really ready to play and they took the bull by the horn.” Bell added that the 6-0 sweep of McMaster made Verney the only double-winner for Queen’s on the weekend.

“[Next year] I think she can make the top four at Queen’s,” he said. “She’s super competitive too. That’s part of why she’s so good.”

The Gaels will play the top-seeded McGill Martlets in the provincial championships on Feb. 10 and 11 at McMaster. In their only contest of the season, McGill beat Queen’s 6-0, at the eastern sectionals in November.

“We lost to McGill pretty handily at the east sectionals, although we were missing our number one and three [players],” Bell said. “I think we have a chance against them, but everyone has got to increase their game in order to beat McGill.”

Both Bell and Verney said the Gaels are starting to prepare for the tough match.

“[Our coaches] have changed our practices a bit,” Verney said. “It has really increased our level of intensity. I think we can beat them.”

“We’re doing a lot of speed work over the next few weeks to get faster, because there was a noticeable difference in speed on the court,” Bell said. “Other than that, it really comes down to being aggressive and not sitting back at the beginning.”

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