Homeland security

Gaels sweep York, assure first-round rematch on home court

Gaels head coach Brenda Willis focused on middle blocking after Queen’s 3-1 loss to McMaster.
Gaels head coach Brenda Willis focused on middle blocking after Queen’s 3-1 loss to McMaster.
Photo: 
Photo: 

The Gaels have secured home-court advantage for their first-round playoff matchup.

The Gaels finished off the York Lions in three straight sets at home on Saturday, clinching fourth place in the OUA and setting up a first-round rematch with them on Feb. 16.

The victory extended Queen’s winning streak to three games, but the run was snapped on Sunday when the undefeated McMaster Marauders came to town.

The first-place Marauders topped the Gaels 3-1 to preserve their unbeaten record.

The Gaels managed to win Sunday’s first set 25-23 — a feat they weren’t capable of when the two first met on Oct. 26.

“It was disappointing, but I mean we came closer,” Gaels head coach Brenda Willis said. “We didn’t take a set in the fall so taking a set was good.”

McMaster responded with a strong 25-14 second set, and never looked back. The Marauders proved too much for the young team, taking the match in four sets.

Service errors were a problem for the Gaels on Sunday afternoon.

“We have to make sure we serve aggressively from start to finish,” Willis said. “I thought at times we served tough enough and then at times we got conservative.”

The Gaels felt the absence of recent acquired middle hitter Daniel You. The fifth-year Dalhousie transfer missed action due to important midterms, but is expected to rejoin the team for their road trip this coming weekend.

“We could have used [You] today,” Willis said. “The best way to counter a team with a good middle is to beat them right back with it.”

If the Gaels can top York in the first round two weeks from now, they’ll likely get another shot at McMaster in the OUA Final Four.

“We know that if every guy on the team brings their A-game, we can push them, we can potentially beat them,” Willis said.

The team will wrap up the OUA regular season this weekend, travelling to play the Toronto Varsity Blues and the Ryerson Rams. The Gaels beat both teams in the first half of the season.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.