Volleyball kept on its toes

Men’s volleyball overcomes illness and injury for 2 wins on the road

The men’s volleyball team is recovering from a weekend riddled with illness and injury. Fortunately for them, winning seems to be the best medicine. The Gaels returned home with two four-set wins over
Western and Windsor. Gaels’ starting setter Devon Miller came down with a bad cold shortly before the opening game against the Mustangs but played through it because backup setter Kohl Forsberg sprained an ankle last week.

Power hitter Luke Lichty injured his shoulder in the first game and didn’t play against Windsor. Head coach Brenda Willis said she was impressed by the whole team’s ability to fill the gaps.

“I give [Miller] a lot of credit. He played through a miserable head.”

Miller said he wasn’t bothered much until after the first set. “It didn’t really hit me until I was in the game,” he said. “It was in the second or third set when it hit.” But he said the team had no trouble compensating. “We just talked a lot more. Everyone knows I’m not going to get every ball.”

Willis said the Gaels were helped by the absence of two of Western’s top players. “I think they’re a better team than they were able to put on the floor,” she said. “We were ready for a big game and we went in there, and it was a bit disappointing.” The Gaels took the first, third and fourth sets for the win.
Despite having Lichty on the sidelines, the team was feeling better on Sunday, Willis said.

She used the game to get some of her developing players onto the court and rest the starters.

But she switched the lineup back in the fourth set after Windsor took advantage of a comfortable Queen’s team to win the third set. She said having two sets in hand can give the team a false sense of
security, adding that her team was legitimately beaten in the third set. “Windsor played better than us.
They were passing well and hitting more aggressively.” The Gaels recovered in the fourth and were no
longer threatened. Willis said it’s no surprise to her that the team is looking a little ragged.

“It’s typical for this time in the season. It’s a lot to put your body through.” She said most teams are coping with wear and tear injuries. “It’s not an excuse. It’s just a reality we have to deal with.”

The men will take on York tonight and Ryerson on Saturday in Bartlett Gym in their last home games of the regular season. Miller said York will be a big game, but the highlight of the weekend will be Saturday’s match against Ryerson.

“Ryerson’s always a big game and we’re always pumped up for that.”

The Rams are the only team to beat the Gaels this season, having won their only match this season
in November.

If the Gaels win both games, they will clinch the top spot in the league heading into the playoffs.
While the team can finish no worse than second in the league, Willis said they will not be resting on its laurels. “Nothing’s done. We have to keep winning.”

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