Hurt but not out

One day after loss to Windsor, wounded squad tops Western

The injury-plagued women’s volleyball team bounced back with a win against the Western Mustangs this weekend, after suffering a narrow defeat at the hands of the Windsor Lancers the day before.

Queen’s (7-6) fell to the Lancers (8-5) Friday evening despite a solid effort.

The Gaels suffered injuries to two key players — fourth-year left side Shannon Neville and second-year libero Becky Wilson — during the contest. The injuries weren’t overly serious, although it’s unsure when the two will be back.

The women charged back after losing the first set 25-15 before taking the lead with two straight set wins of their own. The Lancers didn’t roll over though, taking the fourth set 25-17, and the fifth 15-8, ultimately leading to Queen’s loss.

The team’s attack was relatively balanced on Friday with Niki Slikboer, Kelsey Bishop and Katie Hagarty each contributing 13 points. Hagarty also contributed on the defensive side of the ball, posting 22 digs, a team high.

Second-year setter Ali Shamie managed the offence and contributed 44 assists. Shamie’s strong play since the holidays has helped her earn a larger role on the team as of late, especially due to the recent injuries.

“We’re playing with the first off the benches,” said Gaels head coach Joely Christian-Macfarlane, “and they’re doing a great job of keeping us together.”

The team managed to bounce back on Saturday to earn a four-set victory against Western (3-10) by scores of 25-23, 21-25, 26-24 and 25-23.

Bishop was dominant again offensively, notching 21.5 points, while left side hitter Brett Hagarty chipped in 15.5 of her own to help lift the Gaels past the Mustangs.

The team currently sits fifth, four points back of Ryerson and the final playoff spot in the OUA East. In the coming weeks, they’ll face three opponents ahead of them in the OUA East: Ryerson, Toronto and York.

“Our backs are against the wall,” Christian-Macfarlane said. “These are all must-win games if the team wants to keeps its playoff hopes alive.

“Right now, a lot is out of our control, the only thing we can control is us stepping up and playing some great matches,” she added. “Hopefully, something will fall our way in terms of playoffs.”

This coming weekend, the team will be on the road again, facing off against the Nipissing Lakers (0-13) on Saturday.

Sunday will be the true test, as the Gaels will face the York Lions (11-2). This game is a must-win for the team, who lost to the Lions 3-1 in their first meeting of the season..

OUA East Standings

1. Ottawa [12-3]
2. York [11-2]
3. Toronto [10-3]
4. Ryerson [9-4]
5. Queen’s [7-6]
6. RMC [3-10]
7. Nipissing [0-13]

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