Early elimination

Gaels officially knocked out of OUA playoff race

The Gaels won two sets against second-place McMaster, but fell 15-10 in Saturday’s final frame.
The Gaels won two sets against second-place McMaster, but fell 15-10 in Saturday’s final frame.

Women’s volleyball won’t return to the OUA playoffs this season.

Needing a pair of wins this weekend to keep their post-season hopes alive, the Gaels went down swinging, suffering two hard-fought losses. At 9-8, they’re three games behind the fourth-place Ryerson Rams (12-5) in the OUA East, with just two regular season contests remaining.

On Saturday, Queen’s squared off against the McMaster Marauders (11-6). The Gaels fought hard but were unable to emerge from the lengthy five-set affair with a win, losing 27-25, 21-25, 24-26, 25-23, 10-15.

“It was point for point – we would score and then they would score,” said Gaels head coach Joely Christian-Macfarlane. “It was a good battle.”

On Sunday, the team faced the RMC Paladins (6-11) in an all-Kingston matchup.

Queen’s came out flat, dropping the first set handily 25-14 and falling 25-22 in the second. They improved throughout the match and turned the tables on the Paladins, snatching the third set 26-24 and dominating the fourth 25-11.

The Paladins hung on in the fifth set, ultimately winning 15-13.

“RMC played really well. They played great defence and outworked us towards the last two points for sure,” Christian Macfarlane said.

Outside hitter Brett Hagarty notched 18 points on Saturday and another 21 on Sunday, leading the Gaels in both matches. She’s now 20th in the OUA in scoring, 12 spots behind fellow Queen’s hitter Kelsey Bishop.

If the Gaels had come away with one win this weekend, their playoff hopes would have remained slim, but intact. The two losses mean that they won’t be playing any more OUA volleyball past next weekend. This comes a year after finishing 12-6 and two years after winning the provincial championship.

Despite the losses, the team showed promise this year. With second-years Hagarty, Ali Shamie and Becky Wilson all playing prominent roles on the court, the team looks to be in good hands moving forward.

“As they go into their third year, we have to make sure that we are in a position to finish stronger than we did this year,” Christian-Macfarlane said.

This coming weekend, the Gaels will be at home for the final two games of their 2013-14 campaign. Although these games no longer have playoff implications for Queen’s, they’re against some of the top competition in the OUA.

The Gaels will host the first-place Toronto Varsity Blues (14-3) on Saturday and fourth-place Ryerson on Sunday.

“We may not be in playoffs, but we can still impact playoffs,” Christian-Macfarlane said. “We’re still going to try and finish the year with two wins.”

OUA East Standings

1. Toronto [14-3]
2. Ottawa [14-4]
3. York [13-4]
4. Ryerson [12-5]
5. Queen’s [9-8]
6. RMC [6-11]
7. Nipissing [0-17]

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