Stumbling to the finish

The Gaels go 1-1 in their final weekend at home

The Gaels will be in Ottawa on Saturday to take on the Gee-Gees. Their regular season record stands at 1-1 with Queen’s sweeping Ottawa in straight sets in November.
The Gaels will be in Ottawa on Saturday to take on the Gee-Gees. Their regular season record stands at 1-1 with Queen’s sweeping Ottawa in straight sets in November.

The women’s volleyball team split the final two games of their regular season last weekend to finish third in the OUA East. The Gaels downed the McMaster Marauders on Saturday before falling to the Guelph Gryphons on Sunday, finishing their season with a 12-7 record.

After falling behind early to McMaster, outside hitters Natalie Fisher and Natalie Gray took over, each recording 17 kills and combining for 32 digs in the match to lead Queen’s to a 25-27, 25-17, 25-19, 25-16 victory.

The Gaels were unable to complete a second comeback the following day as the Gryphons prevailed 17-25, 25-17, 12-25, 20-25. Gray lead the team with 10 kills while libero Shannon Walsh recorded a team-high 12 digs in the loss.

As a result, Queen’s will travel to the University of Ottawa on Feb. 19 to take on the Gee-Gees in the OUA quarter-final.

While the Marauders and Gryphons finished the year as the two top teams in the OUA West, head coach Joely Christian-Macfarlane said she was disappointed to see her team drop the final game of the season to Guelph.

“We didn’t come out with the same intensity that we had played [against McMaster] with,” she said. “We played well in spurts but we didn’t play well from start to finish.”

Beating the Marauders was no consolation for Christian-Macfarlane. Had the Gaels beaten the Gryphons, they would have finished second in the OUA East and would have hosted their quarter-final match-up at the ARC against the Gee-Gees.

“Winning [against Guelph] would have allowed us to host the next round of play, so the [McMaster] game was a feel-good game but it doesn’t mean anything in the long run,” she said, adding that the team would have to improve their ability to battle on the court if they want to succeed in the playoffs.

“We need to improve our ability to fight for every point and make every point important,” Christian-Macfarlane said. “There’s almost a sense of ‘we’ll get the next one,’ which is a great attitude but there should be a feeling that, ‘I want this one more than the next one.’ ”

Gray, who led the team with 191 kills and 192 digs over the regular season, agreed with Christian-Macfarlane and said that the team needs to make some adjustments in practice before the playoffs.

“Our passing was a little off,” Gray said. “We weren’t able to run the middle as much. We couldn’t open any seams for our outside hitters to swing in.”

During the season the Gaels beat the Gee-Gees in straight sets at home on Nov. 20, but lost their match-up earlier this month in Ottawa 3-1.

“Ottawa is a tough team and one of our biggest rivals,” Gray said. “We’re going to have to really prepare well this week to go there, walk in to their gym and beat them at home.

“All that really matters now is if you win in the playoffs, so that’s what we’ve got to do.”

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