Men’s volleyball comes up short

Gaels lose second straight provincial championship to McMaster

It was a familiar scene for the men’s volleyball team, as once again their season ended in a crowded gym in Hamilton packed with hostile fans cheering at the top of their lungs after the triumph of their McMaster Marauders. For the second year in a row, Queen’s advanced to the OUA finals but fell in two straight matches to McMaster. The Gaels dropped the first match at home Tuesday and the final blow came Thursday night in four sets.

Queen’s kept it close early and led 11-10 in the first set, but McMaster recovered to win 25-20. The Gaels pulled off a 25-21 win in the second set and used that momentum to build an early lead in the third set, but the Marauders came through with a late comeback to win 25-22. That loss seemed to deflate the Gaels, who dropped the fourth set 25-7.

McMaster head coach Dave Preston said it was his team’s continuous defensive effort that led to the victory.

“A term that we’ve been throwing around this year is relentless,” he said. “We just kept going and kept going, and even the points we didn’t win, we just kept going. We showed a little bit of that at Queen’s, and I think we showed a little bit more of that tonight.”

Queen’s head coach Brenda Willis said the Marauders deserved the win, adding that she’s optimistic that they’ll perform well at next week’s nationals in Alberta, which could lead to an increase in the number of berths allotted to OUA teams.

“I’ve said all along that Mac’s a real good team,” she said. “I just hope they medal and bring a second berth back to Ontario.”

Peter Hrkal led McMaster with 15 kills, and Jeff DeMeza recorded 12 kills for the Gaels. Hrkal was named the Marauders’ player of the match, and libero Stu Hamilton was named Queen’s player of the match, recording a team-high nine digs.

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