Confidence sky-high

Fifth straight win pushes Gaels to second in the OUA

The Gaels are undefeated this season with a 3-0 record.
The Gaels are undefeated this season with a 3-0 record.

Men’s volleyball continued their winning ways this past weekend, taking down both the Windsor Lancers (1-5) and Western Mustangs (4-2) in a convincing fashion. 

The Gaels (6-1) were riding a three-game wining streak into the weekend, and extended it two more games, pulling them within two points of the McMaster Marauders for first place in the OUA. 

Queen’s first match of the weekend came against a weaker Windsor team who had lost their first four matches of the season. The Gaels added to the losing streak, taking down the Lancers in four sets, 25-21, 25-21, 25-27, 25-21.

One standout from the game was rookie Zac Hutcheson, who tied Matt Golas to lead the Gaels with 13 kills each. This was Hutcheson’s first action of the season as a Gael, and he was happy to get the first game under his belt.

“My first experience as a Gael was great,” he said. “It felt good to go out and just play like I know I can and contribute to the team.”

While Queen’s won the first two sets by identical scores of 25-21, they weren’t able to put away the Lancers in the third set, falling 25-27 before taking the final set and the match. Hutcheson says when facing weaker teams, it all comes down to focus.

“In that game it was a mixture of us losing some focus, not executing and not being able to limit our errors in the third set,” he said. “We came out strong in the fourth with the focus and execution we needed to finish the game off.”

The Gaels’ second match of the weekend was against a stronger opponent in the Western Mustangs (4-2), but just as Windsor did, Western fell to the Gaels in straight sets, 25-19, 26-24, 25-18.

The match was closely contested throughout, but Queen’s was able to push strong to the finish and the Mustangs weren’t able to keep up. 

In the first set, the Gaels and Mustangs went back and forth, trading points with no team having a lead of more than three points until Queen’s was able to pull away late and take the set 25-19.

The second set was equally well contested, with Queen’s picking up the two-point victory following a Chris Brunet kill and Western attacking error.

The Mustangs took their foot off the gas in the third set and the Gaels made them pay for it, finishing the match with a service ace by Dylan Hunt to secure a convincing straight set victory. 

The Mustangs had no answer for Marko Dakic, who continued his strong season with a team-leading 16 kills. Dakic is now leading the OUA in kills per set as well as hitting percentage, and is third in total kills. He said the team was feeling good coming out of the weekend. 

“It was a really good weekend for us. We played as a cohesive unit and our level of execution was really high,” he said. “I think everyone was really happy to have performed so well in consideration of the long road trip we had.”

The Gaels are now on a five-game winning streak, and have only dropped four sets over that stretch. Even more impressive is the Gaels’ 5-0 road record, by far the best in the OUA. Dakic credits this to the teams overall depth and adaptability.

“Our team depth has helped us sustain through injuries, and the guys do a great job of adapting to new roles and confronting pressure,” he said. 

“But to improve, we need to begin to go on more serving runs to extend our lead in each game,” he said.

The Gaels will come home and play the remainder of their games this semester at the ARC, starting this Saturday, Nov. 21, against the Guelph Gryphons.

Guelph (1-5) is sitting near the bottom of the OUA standings with a two-game losing streak. The Gaels will look to use this game as a tune up before a showdown with the No. 1 nationally ranked McMaster Marauders (7-0) on Nov. 27. 

 

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