Queen’s tops first-place Mustangs

Men’s volleyball beats first-place Western and takes Windsor in straight sets at the ARC

Outside hitter Matthew Taylor and libero Alex Oneid dive for the ball during the Gaels’ 3-1 win over Western at the ARC.
Outside hitter Matthew Taylor and libero Alex Oneid dive for the ball during the Gaels’ 3-1 win over Western at the ARC.

The men’s volleyball team closed out their home regular season schedule with authority last weekend, beating the OUA-leading Western Mustangs 3-1 on Friday before a straight-sets victory over the fourth-place Windsor Lancers on Saturday.

The wins leave the Gaels in a tie with the McMaster Marauders for second place in the OUA, two points behind the Mustangs.

Against Western, middle hitter Michael Amoroso led the way for the Gaels with 19 kills. Right-side hitter CIS All-Canadian Joren Zeeman had a big game on Saturday against the Lancers, also tallying 19 kills to go along with 7 service aces and a total of 28 points on the evening.

Zeeman, who turned the tide of the third set, which finished 32-30 for the Tricolour, said he was pleased with his team’s effort, even with many players fighting off illness.

“Overall I think it was a good weekend. We had some players who were sick and we also had players who stepped up and played their roles,” he said.

Zeeman said the Gaels had to adopt different styles of play against their two opponents.

“[Against Western] for sure it was the play of our own middles that helped us pull it out in a more defensive game,” he said. “With the Lancers we were playing more with our passing and offense. Our defence wasn’t quite there [against the Lancers], them as well, so it very much an offensive game.”

Zeeman said playing against the league’s top teams exposed some of the Gaels’ weaknesses.

“It showed a couple of things,” Zeeman said. “We definitely have to work on stopping the other team’s middle, that’s one of our weaknesses right now.”

Head coach Brenda Willis also commented on the depth of the team and how it was crucial in helping to knock off the two top-tier teams.

“We’ve had some sickness in our team, Joren was really sick [against Western], so I couldn’t play him for more than five rallies,” Willis said. “However, Matt Taylor came in and did a nice job taking his place.

“[Saturday], setter Dan Rosenbaum had the same thing and was unable to play for long and I was really proud of Jackson Dakin coming in and finishing the offence off.”

The team now hits the road to finish off their season with games against the seventh-place University of Toronto, the fifth-place University of Guelph and the eighth-place Wilfrid Laurier University in the next two weeks.

Willis said the team needs to finish the season strong.

“We have to get through the midterm hump and the illness,” she said. “Nobody is injured, which is a good thing, it’s just wear and tear and sickness.”

Both Willis and the team have their minds on only one thing moving forward.

“Our goal is another banner,” Willis said. “We’ve been in the OUA final the last four years and we’ve lost the last two, so nobody’s going to be happy not bringing another banner home and making a statement at nationals.”

Queen’s faces the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Feb. 14 at 2 p.m. in Toronto. They will finish their season on the road next Friday and Saturday in Waterloo facing the Laurier Golden Hawks and the Waterloo Warriors.

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