Late-season lapse

Nine-game win streak preceded early elimination

A first-round playoff elimination didn’t seem likely during Queen’s season-long nine-game win streak, which extended from early November to late January.
A first-round playoff elimination didn’t seem likely during Queen’s season-long nine-game win streak, which extended from early November to late January.
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There wasn’t a championship hangover for the women’s volleyball team — but there wasn’t much of a playoff run, either.

One year after winning the OUA championship, the Gaels made a quick exit from the postseason, losing 3-1 to the Toronto Varsity Blues in first-round play.

The team had a strong season, finishing fourth in the OUA standings at 12-6 — only one win short of last year’s regular season win total. They looked unbeatable during a season-high nine-game winning streak.

There were several bright individual performances for the Gaels. Fifth-year outside hitter Colleen Ogilvie was an integral part of the Gaels’ offensive attack, making the OUA First All-Star Team. First-year left side hitter Brett Hagarty was named to the All-Rookie Team after a standout defensive campaign.

Despite many highlights to the season, the team struggled against top OUA competition. The Gaels went 0-5 against the league’s top three teams — York, Ottawa and Ryerson.

The team’s play also raised warning flags at the end of the regular season. The Gaels lost in three and four sets against Toronto and Ryerson, while exhibiting some worrying trends. They fell behind to open sets, struggled to work around their opponents’ blocking schemes and couldn’t return serves.

To succeed next season, the team needs to limit these errors and account for the loss of key fourth-years Anna Pedjase, Katie Neville and Shannon Walsh. Neville and Walsh were co-captains this season and played important roles on and off the court.

While some of the fourth-year players may return for their final year of eligibility, the absence of Ogilvie will be significant for the Gaels. Outside hitter Kelsey Bishop, who was second on the team in kills, should be expected to take on larger offensive responsibilities next season.

Gaels head coach Joely Christian-Macfarlane exposed most of her first-year players to the OUA competition this season to prepare them for the future.

Libero Becky Wilson, middle Shannon Neville and setter Ali Shamie can be expected to expand their role in their second season, in addition to Hagarty. The Gaels have a lot of promise moving forward and will maintain their place amongst the OUA elite for years to come.

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