Gaels christen ARC with win

Women’s volleyball begin winning tradition at Queen’s Centre gym with comeback victory

Middle hitter Katie Matthews serves during the first-ever game in the Queen’s Centre ARC gym. Matthews had eight kills in the 3-2 win over the York Lions on Sunday.
Middle hitter Katie Matthews serves during the first-ever game in the Queen’s Centre ARC gym. Matthews had eight kills in the 3-2 win over the York Lions on Sunday.
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The women’s volleyball team concluded the first-ever varsity game in the Queen Centre’s main gym in dramatic fashion yesterday against the York University Lions.

After losing the first two sets 29-27 and 25-17, the Gaels faced defeat and potentially blemishing a historic occasion with a loss.

The first-ever point in the gym went to the Lion’s Kristina Vlcek. The Gaels battled back, winning the last three sets.

Middle hitter Katie Matthews said the team didn’t doubt the possibility of a comeback.

“It’s always tough at that point but the most important thing is we know we’ve been there before.” The team practiced in the new gym four times before the game, but Matthews said she was still nervous.

“It’s just a new gym,” she said. “We haven’t played in it that much ... We weren’t really sure if it was going to be that much of a home-court advantage, but the fans made all the difference.”

Head coach Joely Christian-Macfarlane said the game’s implications were a factor in the Gaels first two sets.

“I knew there would be pressure,” she said. “I think it did have an impact for the first two sets and then we settled in ... We had more errors than we had points. That was the reality for the first two sets.”

Queen’s entered yesterday’s game two points behind the second-place Lions after a 3-0 win over the Royal Military College Paladins on Friday.

Christian-Macfarlane said she decided to rest her starting players for the game against the 0-13 Paladins to be prepared for York.

“We made a decision strategically,” she said. “We knew we’d need fresh legs coming into this match.”

Queen’s outside hitter Natalie Gray led Sunday’s game with 19 kills while outside hitter Elyssa Heller and middle hitter Colleen Ogilivie both had 11 kills. York’s Vlcek and Sarah Sutton had 16 kills each.

Now tied for second place in the OUA East with the Lions, the Gaels host the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Friday and the Brock Badgers on Saturday.

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