Gaels top Gee-Gees in comeback win

Women’s volleyball team beats Ottawa Gee-Gees for first time in four matches and moves into second place

The women’s volleyball team celebrates a five-set win over the Ottawa Gee-Gees at the ARC on Friday night.
The women’s volleyball team celebrates a five-set win over the Ottawa Gee-Gees at the ARC on Friday night.
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The Ottawa Gee-Gees were only one set away from leaving Kingston with their fourth-straight win over the women’s volleyball team on Friday night.

But the Gaels rebounded in an exhilarating five-set win, jumping past the Gee-Gees in the OUA standings to take sole possession of second place with two regular-season games remaining.

Outside hitter Natalie Gray dominated the game with 19 kills and 19 digs.

“I never feel at any point that we’re going to lose a match,” she said. “I know that’s the same with all the girls on the court.”

In front of a 150-person crowd at the ARC, the Gees-Gees were up 2-1 after three sets. But the Gaels countered with a 25-12 fourth-set win to force a tiebreaker. After several close points, they prevailed 15-12 in the fifth set to earn a standing ovation from the crowd.

Head coach Joely Christian-Macfarlane said her team showed poise and resilience that she hadn’t seen earlier in the season.

“We’ve been on the other side of that when we’ve been up 2-1 and lost,” she said. “It was nice to see us show that we are capable of coming back.”

Friday’s game showcased the OUA’s top two offensive players — Gray and Gee-Gees outside hitter Karina Krueger Schwanke — promising to be a hitting clinic. But Ottawa opted instead for finesse at the net and capitalized on several tip plays to catch the Gaels off guard for the first part of the match.

“They scouted us well and scored a lot on tips,” Christian-Macfarlane said. “It gives us something to focus on being better at so that’s no longer somebody’s first option to score on us.”

The 11-5 Gaels will close out the season at home against the Western Mustangs on Saturday and the Windsor Lancers on Sunday.

It will be an emotional weekend for Gray and fellow fourth-year outside hitter Becky Billings — they suit up for their last regular-season games as Gaels.

“Becky and I have been trying not to think about it,” Gray said. “Every time we do we tear up.”

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