Predictions for the 2016 winter varsity season

Men’s hockey has amassed a 10-4 record so far this season.
Men’s hockey has amassed a 10-4 record so far this season.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Men’s Hockey

Current position: 5th in OUA East

Predicted position: 3rd in OUA East

Why: Queen’s has picked up their 10-4 record largely based on a strong defensive and goaltending effort led by former OUA MVP Kevin Bailie, who leads the country with a .949 save percentage. The Gaels sit just four points back of third-place Carleton, having played two less games. Even the division lead isn’t out of reach yet, with the Gaels being 11 off of the McGill Redmen, but with four less games. 

Women’s Hockey

Current position: 2nd in OUA

Predicted position: 3rd in OUA

Why: Queen’s sits just two points behind first-place Guelph, but only four points ahead of sixth-place Nipissing in a very tight league. With three of their points from regulation wins, and a heavy reliance on goaltender Caitlyn Lahonen for victories — their offence is ranked fifth in the league — it’s not hard to imagine the Gaels getting bumped down a position or two.

Men’s Basketball

Current position: 1st in OUA East

Predicted position: 2nd in OUA East

Why: After year after year of dwindling in the basement of the OUA, the Gaels have a new identity. Sparked by Sukhpreet Singh, who leads the team with 19.9 points per game, the Gaels have the province’s third most proficient offense. The year’s start — the strongest in recent history — is also a result of the team’s defensive pressure. The Gaels are ranked fifth in opponents points per game, relying heavily on second-year starter Tanner Graham to protect the rim. Through seven games, Graham leads the country with 2.2 blocks per game, and was a major factor in the Gaels defeating of the then fourth in the country Brock Badgers.

Women’s Basketball

Current position: 1st in OUA East

Predicted position: 

2nd in OUA East

Why: After starting the year unranked, a 6-1 start to the season saw the Gaels go into the break with national recognition, becoming ranked tenth in Canada. Fifth-year Gael Jenny Wright hit the 1,000-point career mark earlier this year, leading the team with 12.9 points per game. Currently forward Robyn Pearson leads the province in rebounds with 11.4 per game, and combined with stingy defence from Emily Hazlett, the Gaels have proven to be one of the strongest teams once again in the OUA. They’ve yet to create separation within the division, as the Ryerson Rams sit one

game back.

Men’s Volleyball

Current position: 2nd in OUA

Predicted position: 2nd in OUA

Why: The only thing in theGaels’ way this season is the nation’s best team: the McMaster Marauders. The eighth-nationally ranked Gaels are the only other team in the OUA within the CIS top 10, and rightfully so. Led by Marko Dakic’s .368 hitting percentage (third in the OUA) and Ivo Dramov’s 2.61 digs per set, the Gaels have become one of Ontario’s most balanced teams. While currently sitting in second, the Gaels are tied in record with the Ryerson Rams.

Women’s Volleyball

Current position: 4th in OUA East

Predicted position: 4th in OUA East 

Why: The Gaels started the season with three straight losses to Ottawa, Ryerson and Toronto, but have since gotten themselves back on track with a 5-2 record. These three teams are, in turn, the trio that’s currently ahead of them in the OUA standings.  

Key upcoming games:

Men’s Hockey vs. Carleton Ravens, Tuesday, Jan. 19 and Friday, Jan. 29 

The Gaels take on Carleton twice more at home this season after defeating the Ravens 3-0 on the road earlier this year. Ramifications for these games speak for itself, as they will be imperative in the final standings. If the Gaels enter the pair of games confident, and are able to convert their offensive chances, a major shakeup of the OUA standings could be in order. 

Women’s Hockey vs. Guelph Gryphons, Saturday Jan. 30

Queen’s hosts the Gryphons in their second and final meeting this season. A 4-1 loss on the road earlier this year saw Queen’s overmatched by the league’s best team thus far, and it will require a strong effort from the Gaels to steal points in this top of the table match-up.

Men’s Basketball vs Ryerson Rams, Saturday, Jan. 16 and Friday, Feb. 26

While the team is now regarded as one of the most dangerous teams in the OUA, they will have to worry about the Ryerson Rams. The Rams boast one of the strongest defenses in all of Canada and are ranked fifth in the nation. With these teams separated only by two games right now, trying to win at least one will be imperative for the Gaels. Recent history hasn’t gone well for Queen’s, after they lost both games last year to the Rams by a combined 184-132.

Women’s Basketball vs Ryerson Rams, Saturday, Jan. 16 and Friday, Feb. 26

Despite being recognized on the national stage, the Gaels will be in tough against the 

third-ranked Rams. Last year the Gaels dropped both games against their Toronto-based rivals, losing by a combined 18 points. Ryerson has two of the top five scorers in the province, who will test the Gaels from both beyond the arc and within the paint. For the Gaels to knock the Rams off their proverbial perch atop the OUA East, Queen’s will need to win at least one of these games to keep their distance.

Men’s Volleyball vs Ryerson Rams, Saturday, Jan. 30

After splitting last year’s series against the Rams, Queen’s already dropped their first match-up of the year in three-straight sets. In an attempt to get back on track and finish second in the OUA, this vital away game could be the decider. For the Gaels to be successful on the road, they’ll have to rely on their defense, as the Rams currently lead the OUA in kills per game.

Women’s Volleyball vs Ottawa Gee-Gees, Saturday, Feb. 13

Queen’s hosts 6-4 Ottawa in a game against the team directly above them in the divisional standings. After being beaten in straight sets in their season opener, it will be important to make a statement in this match-up, to show that the Gaels have actually improved since that initial loss.

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