Volleyball clinches playoff spot

Women sweep Lakehead twice at home

Karlye Wong makes a pass for the Gaels on Friday night.
Karlye Wong makes a pass for the Gaels on Friday night.
Photo supplied by Changuk Sohn

A two-win weekend for the women’s volleyball team means they’ve clinched the final playoff spot in Ontario’s eastern conference and gained a boost of confidence going into their final game of the season.

The Gaels swept the Lakehead Thunderwolves twice in two days. Lakehead sit 10 points below Queen’s in sixth place in the eastern conference. On Friday, the team cameout strong, overpowering the Thunderwolves 25-16, 25-18, 25- 15. Amanda Digel led the Gaels with 14 kills, seven digs and two
blocks, followed closely by Louise Hamel with 11 kills, seven digs and two service aces.

Setter Julie Facey-Crowther had 28 assists. “Confidence is a fleeting thing so it’s important and we’re getting the results we didn’t get earlier in the season,” head coach Chris Galbraith said.

The Gaels continued to roll on Saturday, jumping out to an early -0 lead. They never let up and won
the first set easily, 25-14. Galbraith said playing the same team two days in a row can affect
players mentally but he was pleased with the way the team handled the situation.

“You always wonder if the second night you’ll have an emotional letdown but there was no complacency and the girls came out really tough.” The Thunderwolves were a sharper team in the second set, but the closest they got was 19-17.

Brianna Marchildon served out the set for a 25-17 win. “We had a game plan but we focused more on ourselves because there wasn’t really a player we had to focus on [on Lakehead],” Marchildon said.
The third set was more evenly matched, and with the score tied at 23, Gael Lisa Cooke served two
service aces to win the match. Louise Hamill and Victoria Goodday finished with eight kills apiece, and Marchildon and Digel had six kills.

Adrianna Robinson led the Gaels’ defence with nine digs. “We’re getting some outstanding performances from our players, and it all starts with Amanda Digel,” Galbraith said. “She brings focused performances to every match.”

Digel, the veteran captain, has had an outstanding season, and is now third in the province and seventh in the country in points per game. She said the wins were big for the team.

“We knew that, if we beat them, we would clinch a playoff spot and we wanted to show that we deserve
to be there this year.” The Gaels now have a record of 7-11, good for fourth in the eastern conference and the last playoff spot. Their final regular season game is on Sunday against the Ryerson Rams at home in Bartlett Gym. Digel said the team wants to build on it’s confidence from this weekend.

“I want to go into the playoffs on a four-game winning streak.”

The Gaels will face a challenging opponent in the Toronto Varsity Blues next Friday in the first round of the playoffs. Toronto has only one regular season loss this year, and the Gaels have yet to beat the Blues this season.

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