Gaels start season strong

Men’s volleyball off to 4-0 start after OUA Championship season

Despite a difficult preseason in which they went 2-7, the Gaels have enjoyed a strong start.
Despite a difficult preseason in which they went 2-7, the Gaels have enjoyed a strong start.
Journal File Photo
Journal File Photo

The men’s volleyball team continued their perfect season this weekend, defeating the Waterloo Warriors 3-2 on Friday, and topping the Laurier Golden Hawks 3-1 on Saturday. The wins improve the undefeated Gaels’ record to 4-0.

Captain Joren Zeeman, who had a stellar weekend with 25 kills, pointed to his team’s readiness as a main key to their success.

“We were ready from when the first whistle blew,” he said. “We had great mental preparation.”

The captain also said that his team’s experience playing together last season has been a helpful factor this year. The OUA championship-winning Gaels underwent little change during the off-season, only changing one starting position.

“The experience level we have is a positive this year,” he said. “The core of the team is pretty much the same this year. Most of the guys have been here for at least a year; going forward, that will definitely be a positive.”

Though happy with the victories, Zeeman was careful not to overestimate their significance.

“I’m pretty happy,” said Zeeman. “But those two sets we dropped on Friday showed us how vulnerable we are. We started slow, we were lucky that they started slow as well.”

Zeeman said the Gaels’ performance in the simple areas of their game need improvement. “We need to work on our serving and passing”, he said. “Basics as always. Just our systems in general, we need to work on cleaning them up.” Head coach Brenda Willis showed a caution similar to Zeeman’s.

“I would be quite disappointed if we were not 4-0,” she said. “With the way the schedule has unfolded, we have been kind of working our way up through the standings. We started out with RMC, who last season, finished last and then we had Toronto who is usually at the lower end of the standings. Laurier and Waterloo are not really top teams either, so we haven’t had a good contest yet.”

The Gaels met tougher opposition during the preseason, where they dropped all but two of their nine contests. Despite her team’s disappointing display, the head coach said she felt the Gaels learned a great deal from the losses.

“It wasn’t about having a winning record,” she said. “It was about playing against the best teams we could and measuring ourselves up against them. It would have been nice to win more games but that wasn’t what it was about.” With the Gaels facing the winless York Lions next Friday, Willis was confident that her team could come up with the victory.

“If we play the way we are capable of, they should be well within our grasp,” she said.

Coaching volleyball for the 36th consecutive year, Willis was fairly positive about her team’s chances for the rest of the season.

“A lot depends on if we stay healthy or not,” she said. “A lot depends on what happens in the second half [of the season]. But if all the pieces come together, I think we have a good shot at winning.”

The Gaels will be at home this weekend to face the York Lions on Friday at 8 p.m. Queen’s will then play against the Ryerson Rams on Saturday at 8 p.m. Both games will be at the ARC.

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