Women's volleyball coming back from slow start

Team returns to .500 winning percentage

Shannon Neville (#6) is having a strong start to the season, leading the team with 95 kills.
Shannon Neville (#6) is having a strong start to the season, leading the team with 95 kills.
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After a 0-3 start to the year, women’s volleyball has begun to turn their season around. 
 
“It feels like we’re really settling in more as a team and are coming together,” fourth-year Shannon Neville said. 
 
The Gaels won their second game in a row on Saturday, defeating the Guelph Gryphons 3-1 in sets. Queen’s dropped the first set of the match 25-21, but proceeded to take the next three 25-23, 25-20 and 25-19. 
 
After opening the season with three straight losses, the Gaels are now 4-4. 
“In terms of preparation over the past few weeks.  We’ve really upped our intensity in practice,” she said.
 
It looked as though Queen’s would need to overcome a 2-0 deficit, after a Guelph run that gave the visitors a 22-19 lead near the end of the tightly contested second set. 
 
The Gaels regained the serve to make the score 22-20, though  the ensuing serve from second-year Makayla Keith was initially ruled out.
 
However, after consulting with the other officials, the ref overturned his decision, determining that prior to landing out of play the ball had deflected off of the unsuspecting head of a Gryphons’ backcourt player. Gifted with a second chance, the Gaels made no mistake, taking the set following an exchange of timeouts.
 
The Gaels were in charge the rest of the match, winning the third set riding a six-point run. The team finished off the comeback in the fourth after getting out to a 16-10 lead and not letting up. 
 
Neville led the Gaels with 16 of the team’s 51 kills, adding 20 digs on the return. 
 
“After the first set we kind of recognized that we were almost trying too hard — trying to make every pass too perfect and every hit perfect,” Neville said. “In the second, third and fourth set, we turned it on and our game became a little scrappier, getting more touches on balls we weren’t getting in the first set.”
 
Neville said the team’s efforts in practice have finally started to translate into positive results.
 
“We always have both sides battling to win every point and really put the pressure on ourselves in practice to make the dig and get the kill when it matters the most,” she said. “It seems to be clearly paying off with our stats over the past few games.” 
    
This weekend the team has a set of home matches against the McMaster Marauders and Waterloo Warriors.
 
“We’re really excited to play McMaster and Waterloo this weekend and end off the first half of the season with a bang,” Neville said.
 

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