Gaels rebound then relapse

Gaels down Blues but fall to Paladins over the weekend in Kingston

The women’s volleyball team have struggled in their past four games despite a 9-1 start to the season.
The women’s volleyball team have struggled in their past four games despite a 9-1 start to the season.

The women’s volleyball team had an uneven weekend. They beat the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in three sets and then lost to the RMC Paladins in four sets. Queen’s is now fifth in the OUA with a 10-4 record.

The weekend began with a confident victory over the Blues. After a decisive win in the opening set, the Gaels fought hard in the second taking the lead for the first time at 25-24.

Although the Gaels were down in the beginning, middle Katie Matthews said Queen’s was never worried about losing the set.

“It was a fantastic game,” she said. “After last weekend, we were really focused on our side of the court... We showed a lot of guts in the second set coming back when we were down and we just showed Toronto no mercy.”

Queen’s took the third set 25-14, beating Toronto for the second time this season. With two losses on January 21 and 22, the Gaels’ win over the Blues was a welcome rebound.

“There are a lot of teams who are pretty excited about us losing last weekend,” Matthews said. “We’re one of the top teams now and it was nice to go out there and show other teams that they’re going to have to work hard if they want to beat us.”

On Sunday, the Gaels traveled across Kingston to face their regional rival, the Paladins. Down 1-0 after the first set, Queen’s battled to win the second. With the game on the line in the fourth, the Gaels couldn’t pull off a win, despite erasing an eight point deficit. Head coach Joely Christian-Macfarlane credited the 6-9 Paladins with great play.

“They played a fantastic volleyball game and we just didn’t come with the same type of intensity to the match as they did,” she said. “It was unfortunate because the game required more of us and we just didn’t bring it today.”

While the Gaels were frustrated with a disappointing ending to what started as a good weekend, Christian-Macfarlane said certain players played particularly well. Third-year outside hitter Lorna Button totalled 21 kills and 29 points.

“She played really well in the Toronto match and then, once again, today, she had a great match against RMC,” she said. “The subs all went in and did a great job when they had the opportunity to step on the court.”

The Gaels are struggling with consistency at the moment. In their first 10 matches, they achieved a near-perfect record, only to go 1-3 in their past four matches, all four against teams with worse records. With the postseason only five games away, the Gaels need to start playing their best volleyball in order to repeat their final four finish from last season.

“Everything’s a little nerve-wracking now,” Christian-Macfarlane said.

Next weekend, the Gaels travel to Toronto to face the Ryerson Rams and the York Lions. While the Rams are last in the OUA with a 1-14 record, the Lions are just above the Gaels at 11-4. In their last meetings, the Gaels rocked the Rams in three sets and lost narrowly to the Lions in five.

“We talked about the [RMC loss] and learning from it and finding a way to fix the things that hurt us this weekend,” Christian-Macfarlane said. “Both matches [next weekend] now have more importance than they would have previously, so it’s step-on-the-court-and-play, that’s really what I’m thinking. We just need to step on the court and take care of business.”

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