Wonderful weekend

Gaels finish both opponents in straight sets, improve to 6-3

Caroline Livingston had five kills and four digs in women’s volleyball’s straight-set victory over Lakehead.
Caroline Livingston had five kills and four digs in women’s volleyball’s straight-set victory over Lakehead.
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Queen’s made quick work of both their opponents this past weekend at the ARC.

Head coach Michael Ling was satisfied with his team’s performances against the Lakehead Thunderwolves (2-8) and the Brock Badgers (5-6), which culminated in a pair of sweeps.

“Both good matches for us,” Ling said. “Our service game was pretty good.”

The Gaels (6-3) took down the Thunderwolves on Friday in three sets: 25-16, 25-14 and 25-22.

Ling said Lakehead is a much better team than their record suggests and the Gaels had to make sure they didn’t take them lightly.

“They’re a strong outside hitting team and I think we spent a good portion of the week on our defensive play,” he said.

A spike from Gaels outside hitter Brett Hagarty ended a dominant first set against the Thunderwolves, while middle blocker Niki Slikboer finished the second in the same manner.

The women controlled the first two sets but appeared to let up in the third, making for a tighter final frame.

Both teams alternated scoring runs, with Lakehead bringing the game even at 20 after a seven-point run.

“They were starting to push a little bit harder and we didn’t respond as actively as we needed to,” Ling said.

“[We] took a quick timeout and just reminded them of kind of finishing an opponent as strongly as we could.”

A kill and a service ace from rookie outside hitter Caroline Livingston put the Gaels up and a kill by Hagarty ended the match.

Hagarty was a force against Lakehead, scoring 12 kills and 12 blocks.

Slikboer also made her presence known at the net, contributing eight kills, five blocks and three digs. Libero Becky Wilson bolstered the defensive effort with 14 digs.

Queen’s didn’t lose their focus on Saturday and ran through Brock even quicker, winning 25-9, 25-17 and 25-11.

Other than a brief Badgers’ run to kick off the second set, the match was all Queen’s.

“We did a good job on our service game and our defensive side to back it up as well,” Ling said.

Ling said the scores weren’t indicative of Brock’s potential.

“They’re a good team and we handled them pretty well,” he said.

Scoring was communal in this contest as four Gaels — outside hitter Shannon Neville, Slikboer, Brett Hagarty and middle blocker Katie Hagarty — tallied seven kills apiece.

On the defensive end, Wilson had 15 digs, Neville had 10 and Brett Hagarty had nine.

The team kept errors to a minimum against Brock, committing only one in the first set and a total of eight compared to the Badgers’ 24.

“I think it was a good performance for us because we’ve been trying to minimize our errors in each set,” Ling said.

The team has been working diligently all season on minimizing errors while maintaining an aggressive attack, according to Ling.

This weekend, the women travel to face the York Lions (4-4) and Nipissing Lakers (3-5) for their two final games before the winter break.

The match with the Lions is crucial, as the Gaels sit two wins ahead of them for the fourth and final playoff spot in the OUA East.

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