Women ready for playoff run

Gaels set for home quarter-final against Brock

The women’s volleyball team practices at the ARC on Wednesday afternoon.
The women’s volleyball team practices at the ARC on Wednesday afternoon.
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The women’s volleyball team hosts the Brock Badgers in an OUA quarter-final on Saturday afternoon.
The women’s volleyball team hosts the Brock Badgers in an OUA quarter-final on Saturday afternoon.
Photo: 

Women’s volleyball coach Joely Christian-Macfarlane got what she wanted — Queen’s will play the Brock Badgers in the first round of the OUA playoffs.

“I didn’t want to give it away as to who I wanted to play,” she said, “but actually I really wanted to play Brock.” The Gaels are riding a five-game winning streak into the playoffs while the Badgers have lost four of their past five games. Queen’s finished third-place in the OUA at 13-5 — 8-1 at home. Brock finished sixth with a 10-8 record and was 5-4 on the road.

The Gaels beat the Badgers 3-2 when they met in St. Catharines on Nov. 12.

Heading into the playoffs, Christian-Macfarlane said her team knows what it has to do to win.

“Right now it’s about confidence,” she said. “There’s nothing new that we can learn.”

Before the season, Christian-Macfarlane said her team’s goal was simply to compete on a nightly basis — the Gaels’ third-place finish was better than expected.

Christian-Macfarlane said the goal remains the same going into Saturday against Brock.

“I don’t want our focus to be on [anything] else,” she said. “I want the focus to continue to be that we keep competing … just as we competed in every [regular-season] match.”

Fourth-year outside hitter Becky Billings said it’s an added benefit to play at the ARC, where the Gaels have only lost three times since moving into the building in January 2010.

“I’m really excited to just play anyone in our own gym,” she said. “I’ve never been so confident in a team.”

Billings is averaging 3.4 points per set this season. She said the Gaels have been working on a strategic addition to their offence in practice this week.

“We’ve been running stuff that people haven’t seen from us before,” she said. “Hopefully [we’re] getting an edge up on Brock.”

Billings said she and fellow graduating outside hitter Natalie Gray are approaching Saturday’s game as an opportunity to extend their Queen’s careers for at least one more game.

“Joely’s been referring to us as diamonds and I think that’s shown in the last couple games,” Billings said. “The urge to perform at our best will lead to the outcome we’re looking for.”

The Gaels and the Badgers kick off at 2 p.m. at the ARC on Saturday afternoon.

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