RMC is no match for the Gaels

Men’s volleyball wins in straight sets in first game back

The men’s volleyball team opened the second half of their season last weekend with a dominating straight-sets victory over their Kingston rivals, the RMC Paladins.

Middle Michael Amoroso and outside Will Sidgwick had 14 points apiece and setter Jackson Dakin provided 19 assists to lead the Gaels to the 25-22, 25-17, 25-18 decision. The win moved Queen’s into second place in the OUA standings with a record of 9-2, trailing only the Western Mustangs.

Head coach Brenda Willis said she took the opportunity to play some of her younger players against the winless Paladins.

“We got better and better as the match went on,” Willis said. “There was a bit of tentativeness at first, as they don’t get a lot of starts. When you’re playing a team that you know isn’t going to pose a huge threat to you, it is a good opportunity to develop some of the younger players and play some guys who are really itching to get out there.”

While this was their first league game in over a month, the Gaels stayed game ready over the break, travelling to British Columbia to take part in the Trinity Western Spartan’s Holiday Classic. Queen’s finished third in the tournament, winning games against the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack and the University of British Columbia T-Birds, but falling to the host Spartans.

Willis said she was pleased with her team’s level of play against the top teams from the Canada West division.

“[Thompson Rivers University] struggled with their serving game and made a lot of errors and we seemed to get momentum,” Willis said. “Even when they settled in, we pushed back and we won fairly handily three straight. That was great as they’re ranked [ninth] going in to the tournament whereas we had fallen out of the rankings.”

Queen’s battled the top ranked team of the tournament, Trinity Western, taking them to four sets in the semifinal game.

“We … had a chance to win it,” she said. “There were a few situations where we could have taken control and broken away butwe made unforced errors.”

Queen’s battled injuries over the first half of the season but the Spartan’s tournament marked the first time that the team was back to full health.

“When we were in BC we were 15 deep for the first time this year,” she said. “I feel pretty good that the talent we have will actually get to be utilized in the second half.”

Willis said she hopes the experience gained against these teams in friendly competition will be helpful to the Gaels should they meet again at the national championships.

“We’re very much over the mental hurdle that a team is from Canada West,” Willis said. “There used to be this idea that ‘we need to play Canada West teams because they’re better than we are.’ I don’t think the guys think that now, I think they think that the top three or four teams in the country are better than us but we’re legitimately fighting to be in that top four or five.”

However, before the team can begin to think about the playoffs, they must first take care of the remaining regular season schedule, beginning with the arrival of the Waterloo Warriors and the Laurier Golden Hawks this weekend.

“When we’re playing the teams in Ontario now, I don’t think our team should be satisfied by performing well enough to win,” she said. “We need to set the tone of the match and keep playing with the shots and the execution that is going to get us a medal at the national level.”

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