Women’s volleyball defeats Lakehead

Gaels knock off Thunderwolves in straight sets, improve to 7-6

Queen’s left-side hitter Louise Hamill goes for a kill against Lakehead’s Karla Brayshaw (8) and Courtney Felske Sunday.
Queen’s left-side hitter Louise Hamill goes for a kill against Lakehead’s Karla Brayshaw (8) and Courtney Felske Sunday.
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The women’s volleyball team began a three-game week with a three-set sweep Sunday against the Lakehead Thunderwolves. The 2-12 Thunderwolves kept it close, but the 7-6 Gaels won 25-20, 25-16 and 25-19.

The Gaels started slow and built to the finish, most notably fighting back from an early six-point deficit to win the second set. Head coach Joely Christian-Macfarlane said her teams’ early lethargy was concerning because it strayed from their usual method of play.

“Traditionally when we have won big matches against tougher teams we’ve come out strong, maintained our strength, and finished strong,” she said. “To start slow is a little worrisome.”

Christian-Macfarlane said lack of practice was also a factor in the team’s play, with bookings keeping the Gaels out of the gym all weekend.

“Not having the availability of the gym I think had an impact on us,” she said.

Adding to the squad’s problems was the Thunderwolves’ low ranking. Christian-Macfarlane said the team’s main focus going into the match was avoiding overconfidence.

“We do game tape and prep for every team we play. It doesn’t matter where they’re seeded,” she said. “For us, it’s about our execution and making sure we do the things we need to do well, and not letting the other team get into our head.”

That focus will be tested again on Wednesday when Queen’s hosts the winless Royal Military College Paladins. Christian-Macfarlane said she plans on using Wednesday’s game to prepare for Friday’s game against the top-seeded,13-0 York Lions.

“Our prep for York is going to be with RMC,” she said. “Our defence for York is what we’ll use against RMC.”

Left-side hitter Louise Hamill said it’s more difficult to mentally prepare for games against lower-ranked teams.

“Lower-seeded teams are harder for us to get psyched up for,” she said.

The Gaels go from facing RMC, the lowest ranked team in the OUA East, to taking on the highest-ranked team in York just two days later. Hamill said her team plans to maintain the same focus in both games, though.

“Whoever the team is on the other side, we have to maintain who we are on our side,” she said. “Going into RMC we’ll go with the intent to kill them in three and then going into York we’ll go with the intent to kill them in three.”

The Gaels face the Paladins at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Bartlett Gym.

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