Women's volleyball roars past Lions into semifinals

Queen’s set to play first-place Marauders for OUA final berth

Sunday, Feb. 21 - 11:40 p.m.
The women’s volleyball team hosted the defending OUA champion York Lions in the quarter-finals on Saturday, coming out on the winning end of a four-set decision.

Head coach Joely Christian Macfarlane said the Lions presented a stiff challenge for the Gaels.

"They're a good team," she said. "[Although] we started well, I don't feel we kept the same intensity for the whole match. Usually we're pretty good at finishing, but today we struggled."

Scoring was spread around for the Gaels, with third-year middle hitter Colleen Ogilvie leading with 17 points from 12 kills, three aces and two blocks. Second-year outside hitter Natalie Gray added 16 digs and eight points. Second-year setter Julie Lockwood led assists with 31.

The first set saw the Gaels come out to an early 11-3 lead. York narrowed the gap to 19-15, but the Gaels held on to clinch the set.

The second and third sets saw a slump for the Gaels. In the second, the Lions sailed to an early 7-1 lead, but the Gaels clawed away until surpassing York at 21 points to go up 2-0. The Lions came out strong once more in the third, going into the first break up 8-1. This time, the Gaels were unable to overcome the deficit and gave up the set to go into the fourth up 2-1.

"Our passing broke down" Christian-Macfarlane said. "We got tentative and I think we were worried we'd lose, so the players stopped passing the ball doing the things they need to do to run our offence."
The Gaels surged in the fourth quarter on a wave of crowd support and Colleen Ogilvie's strong serve.

"When we served tough, we dominated," Christian-Macfarlane said, adding that support from the stands made all the difference.

"We have the best fans in Ontario. We need to savour it, we need to love it, we need to enjoy every minute of it and get them involved as much as possible."

Natalie Gray said the ends justified the means for the Gaels.

"Overall, we were the better team and we pulled out the win," she said. "It doesn't matter how you get it, as long as you get it."

This win catapults the Gaels into their first OUA semifinal appearance since 2004. They visit the McMaster Marauders on Friday in Hamilton. The Marauders were first in the OUA during the regular season.

"I think we went to five [sets] with them in the preseason, so we know we can beat them," Gray said. "Right now, where we are in the season, we're peaking at the right time, and we can beat anyone."

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