Agony of defeats

Toronto trip yields two tight losses for battered Gaels

The Gaels were unable to put away sets in Toronto this weekend.

Queen’s (3-5) dropped two close road games last Friday and Saturday, falling in five sets to the Ryerson Rams (7-3) and losing in four to the Toronto Varsity Blues (4-6).

With two games to go before the holiday break, the men are looking to secure some victories, with the hope they’ll enjoy the home-court playoff advantages they’ve had in the past.

Both of last weekend’s games featured close sets, with the Gaels failing to come out on top.

“We’re playing well enough to win, but made a couple errors you can’t make in those games,” said Gaels head coach Brenda Willis.

Friday’s game against Ryerson set the Gaels against one of the province’s top teams. All five sets were needed, but the men eventually lost 18-16 in the final frame.

Queen’s dropped the first two sets 25-20 and 25-20, before taking the next two 25-22 and 25-17.

Libero Ivo Dramov and setter Thomas Ellison put forth strong defensive efforts, registering with 13 and 10 digs, respectively.

Middle blocker Darren Edwards provided four solo blocks and seven kills. Outside hitter Will Sidgwick had 13 kills, while fellow hitter Stephen Holmes supplied 11.

Saturday’s game against Toronto had Queen’s take on a team that traditionally finishes under .500. Each set was competitive, but the Gaels couldn’t close and dropped the contest in four sets: 24-26, 25-22, 20-25 and 26-28.

“We didn’t take them lightly,” Willis said, “but we thought we could beat them.”

Middle blocker Tyler Scheerhoorn was the offensive force for Queen’s, recording 17 kills. Standing strong at the net were Scott Brunet and Edwards, who each put up seven solo blocks.

Hitter Aaron Nusbaum made 12 digs, while Dramov added another 11.

The Gaels only managed to win one set as Toronto worked to get digs and challenge their blocks.

“We got tooled to death and couldn’t match their defence,” Willis said.

Injuries are still a factor for Queen’s. One key player, outside hitter Philippe Goyer, is now battling the flu. After putting up big numbers earlier in the season, he played only three sets this weekend.

“Injury is part of sport,” Willis said. “It’s not an excuse, but it takes a toll.”

The Gaels have two home games this weekend, before a winter tour of Bulgaria. The tour will have them take on feeder teams for professional Bulgarian squads in an exhibition tournament.

Gaels head coach Brenda Willis said it’s critical that the Gaels win at least once this weekend. They’ll face the Western Mustangs (6-2) tomorrow and Windsor Lancers (3-5) on Saturday.

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