Queen’s rolls over Ottawa at home

Queen’s rolls over Ottawa at home

Middle Katie Matthews spikes the ball during the Gaels’ straight-set win over the Ottawa Gee-Gees last Saturday at the ARC.
Middle Katie Matthews spikes the ball during the Gaels’ straight-set win over the Ottawa Gee-Gees last Saturday at the ARC.

In an OUA East showdown, the women’s volleyball team powered past the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees in straight sets last weekend at the ARC. Both teams entered the match with identical 5-1 records, but the Gaels swept aside the Gee-Gees to grab a share of the division lead heading into the winter break.

Head coach Joely Christian-Macfarlane was extremely pleased with her team’s play on the court.

“For the first time since the season started, we actually played like we’ve been training,” Christian-Macfarlane said. “We were very intense, we dictated the pace of the game and focused on our side of the court and what we had to do. I feel really good about the game and really good about what I saw tonight.”

The Gaels’ defensive effort was led by outside hitter Natalie Fisher who, along with nine kills, picked up a match-high four solo stuff blocks. The team recorded nine blocks compared to Ottawa’s four, helping Queen’s defend their lead in the final set when the Gee-Gees scrambled to close the scoring gap and force a fourth set.

Outside hitter Natalie Gray boosted the Gaels’ offence with seven kills, two service aces and a team-high ten digs.

Christian-Macfarlane said she was expecting a stronger opposition from the Gee-Gees.

“It does feel good [to beat Ottawa],” she said, “They’re a fantastic team. They’re young and physical, so for us to be able to, not only play with them, but beat them so handily, it’s a bit of a surprise despite how well we’re playing.” Queen’s put their talent on showcase during the successive 25-19, 25-18 and 25-22 set victories.

“Even though we missed a couple of critical serves, we served tough and took them out of their passing game,” Christian-Macfarlane said. “We blocked well, we’ve been training our blocking and working on being a strong blocking and defensive team. Also, we hit well; we just kept attacking the ball and being aggressive.”

Gray echoed her coach’s words, adding that the entire team contributed to the victory.

“Everyone played great,” Gray said. “It’s always nice to win in three, obviously. We had some good blocking up front and some nice kills from [Natalie Fisher]. It was just a good game all around. It’s always great to beat Ottawa, it’s the best feeling ever.”

Since opening at the beginning of the calendar year, the ARC has been extremely welcoming to the women’s volleyball team. The Gaels have only dropped one match at home.

“Playing at the ARC is the best,” Gray said. “Obviously, we’re 11-1 now. It’s just a fun a time and we seem to do well.”

Queen’s now sits 6-1 with 12 points heading in to the winter break, tied with York for first place in the OUA East.

“We’ve definitely been playing really well,” Gray said. “We can’t be unhappy with that kind of a record. We’re just going to have to practice hard and get a rest over Christmas and then carry that into the second half of the season.”

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