Two close battles, one solid victory

Women’s volleyball splits weekend, finds itself tied for third in the OUA

Queen’s outside hitter Lorna Button goes for a kill Saturday.
Queen’s outside hitter Lorna Button goes for a kill Saturday.
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It was a long weekend of volleyball for the women’s team. They fell in five sets to the 10-2 McMaster Marauders on Saturday but recovered to beat the 7-5 Guelph Gryphons in five sets on Sunday. With the weekend split, the Gaels are 6-6 on the season and tied with the University of Toronto Varsity Blues for third in the OUA East division. Second-year outside hitter Colleen Ogilvie, who recorded 15 kills in 24 attempts on Sunday, said she was happy the Gaels were able to eke out a win.

“It was a good start for the second half of the season,” she said. “It was better than yesterday, for sure.”

Queen’s got off to a strong start Saturday with seven straight points and took the first set 25-16, but McMaster rebounded to win the next two sets 25-17 and 27-25. The Gaels bounced back and claimed the fourth set 25-14, but the Marauders prevailed 15-8 in the fifth and deciding set. Lorna Button and Natalie Gray led Queen’s with 13 kills each, and Heidi Bench and Kaila Janssen each recorded 14 kills for McMaster.

Ogilvie said the team turned in a strong performance Saturday, but they couldn’t finish.

“We were executing our plays really well,” she said. “We just need to work on executing those last few plays.”

Sunday’s match was a mirror image of Saturday’s, with the Gaels losing the first set 25-20 but winning the next two sets 25-20 and 25-18. Guelph took the fourth set in a close 25-23 battle, but Queen’s pulled out a 15-7 victory in the end. Ogilvie said the team felt less pressure against Guelph, which contributed to the win.

“We just approached the game a little more relaxed,” she said.

Setter Kristin Collins, who recorded 90 assists and seven service aces over the weekend, said Sunday’s win came as a relief after Saturday’s close defeat.

“It was good to come back and have a win instead of another five-game loss,” she said. “I thought our team stepped up today.”

Collins said the win should give Queen’s some momentum.

“Being confident and knowing that we can win the big games will help us move up in our conference,” she said.

Head coach Joely Christian said she would have liked to put Guelph away before the fifth set.

She said Sunday’s close battle was perhaps inevitable because of fatigue from the break and the McMaster game, though.

“Knowing we had the break, I knew it would be tough for us to get back into it,” she said. “We put in five tough sets against Mac last night. We didn’t have a lot left in the tank.”

Christian said the scrimmages the team played against other universities over the break helped them stay in form and made the difference from last year, where they lost their first two matches in January.

“The difference for today was that competition,” she said.

Christian said she was particularly pleased with the team’s passing and serving.

“Those two things really helped us maintain our offence,” she said.

The Gaels’ next match comes Sunday against the 1-12 Lakehead Thunderwolves. Christian said Lakehead will be a tougher task than their record indicates, thanks to their passion and intensity.

“They play with a lot of fire,” she said.

The Gaels host the Thunderwolves Sunday at 2 p.m. in Bartlett Gym.

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