Thrown to the Lions

Men’s volleyball earns split, women lose two on road

The men’s volleyball team suffered their second loss of the season Saturday, falling to the York Lions in four sets. They redeemed themselves Sunday, defeating the University of Toronto and improving their record to 5-2. York outside hitter Tarun Swaroop, who wasn’t listed in the pre-game roster, provided an unexpected contribution to the Lions’ game Saturday. The talented rookie tallied 15 kills and 17 points in the match.

Queen’s head coach Brenda Willis said the Gaels were unable to stop Swaroop, whom they didn’t expect.

“He was on fire and did a great job for them,” she said. Setter Devon Miller said York’s strong start was too much for the Gaels.

“I did not feel that we showed up to play against York. They outplayed us right from the start, and we were just trying to catch up the entire time,” he said.

The Lions won the first set handily 25-17, but the Gaels were able to tighten the margin as the match went on. The last three sets finished 25-23, 22-25 and 25-22.

Outside hitter Dan McCrae played well offensively, managing 14 kills for Queen’s despite nursing an injured abdominal muscle for the past few weeks. Fellow outside hitter Jeff DeMeza led the Gaels with 17 kills and Sam Pedlow added 15 more.

The men’s second match of the weekend against the Varsity Blues proved to be a close contest, but they finished as victors, with a 25-18, 27-25, 25-27, 24-26, 15-12 win. Willis said a lapse in concentration meant the team had to make substitutions to improve their passing. “[Rookie right-side hitter] Joren Zeeman played really well in the first three sets but lost his confidence a little bit later on,” she said.

Gaels’ middle hitter Chris Vandyk, who recorded seven kills Sunday, was named player of the game. “I thought that it was my most consistent game so far this year,” he said. “I suppose that it was nice finally putting to use some of the things I had been working on in practice for the past couple weeks, but really I’m just happy we were able to get the win.” Vandyk said he was happy to see a good contingent of Queen’s supporters on the weekend. “Most of the guys on our team are from the GTA, so we usually get a good amount of friends and relatives cheering us on when we play in Toronto.” DeMeza and Pedlow continued their strong weekend against the Varsity Blues, recording 17 and 15 kills respectively. Zeeman also reached double digits in kills, adding 14 for the Gaels.

The men, third in the OUA, have three remaining games before the winter break. They host the Ryerson Rams Saturday night and then go on the road to face the McMaster Marauders and Guelph Gryphons, who are in first and second place respectively.

The women also took on the Lions and Varsity Blues on the weekend. The Gaels struggled against their divisional rivals, losing to both York and Toronto in straight sets. They suffered a 25-23, 25-21, 25-23 loss to the Lions Saturday, and then were given a 27-25, 25-18, 25-22 defeat by the Blues Sunday.

Head coach Joely Christian said the team didn’t put in a full effort Saturday against York and struggled to find momentum. “Opportunities to close out sets and matches were not finished,” she said.

Co-captain Brenna Swift said Sunday’s game contained positives for the team.

“We’re a young team, so we’re still getting used to playing together, but the intensity and calibre of play against Toronto demonstrated what our team is capable of.” Right-side hitter Erin Sadler started for the first time this season on the weekend.

Christian said she was pleased with Sadler’s play.

“She played exceptional and brought the team to the next step in their development by bringing tangibles to the court,” Christian said. The Gaels also saw strong performances from their rookies. Elyssa Heller finished the weekend with 21 kills and 23 digs, while Colleen Ogilvie put up 14 kills and 17 points.

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