Winter Varsity Sports Power Rankings

Journal staff rank the winter varsity teams

Credit: 
Journal File Photo

1. Men's volleyball 

The 2016 playoffs may have been a missed opportunity for men’s volleyball, but there’s no denying that they were the most powerful Gaels team this season.

After finishing second in the OUA regular season with a 15-5 record, Queen’s stormed through the first round of the playoffs with a dominant 3-0 victory over the York Lions.

Following three regular season wins to end the season, the team looked poised for playoff success.

But that was the end of their successes. The Gaels dropped both the OUA semi-final and bronze medal games on consecutive days, missing a chance to compete at the CIS tournament.

With six players in their final year, the team will see the departure of several veterans, including OUA All-Stars Mike Tomlinson and Marko Dakic. 

However, returning players, including OUA Rookie of the Year Chris Brunet, have the potential to step into larger roles and improve the team’s playoff performance.

2. Women's basketball

Throughout the year, women’s basketball was considered one of the best teams in the OUA and in Canada.

They regularly held a top 10 spot in the CIS, with impressive wins against both McMaster and Windsor, and a remarkable 14-5 finish to the year. 

Unfortunately for the team, they hit a rough patch near the close. After losing their last two games, the Gaels were left with an unfavorable match-up in the playoffs against the McMaster Marauders, where they lost 66-55.

OUA All-Stars Robyn Pearson and Jenny Wright led the Gaels this year. Wright graduated as the second highest scorer in the program’s history, and the team will miss her 12.3 points per game. Pearson was a force for the Gaels, averaging 10.8 rebounds per game. The team has plenty to look forward to next year. 

Myriam Fontaine, who was awarded a spot on the OUA all-rookie team, will be a key player for the Gaels in the future.

3. Men's basketball

Following years at the bottom of the OUA standings, men’s basketball broke out this season. 

While their 16-13 record might not jump out at you, it’s a significant improvement from 9-16 the year before. The last time Queen’s was at or above .500 was in 2009-10, when they finished with an even 12-12 record.

Throughout the year, the team remained competitive in the OUA East, and even went into the winter break ahead of this year’s OUA champion, the Ryerson Rams.

A defining moment was when Queen’s pulled off the upset against the then

fourth-ranked Brock Badgers. Prior to that game, Queen’s hadn’t beaten a CIS Top 10 ranked team since 2012.

The team was led this year by fourth-year guard Sukhpreet Singh. Singh flourished as the Gaels’ primary scorer, and finished third in the OUA with 22.3 point per game. For his efforts, he was awarded a First-Team OUA selection. 

4. Women's hockey

A strong regular season ultimately didn’t translate into playoff success for the women’s hockey team. With a 15-9 record, the team saw themselves tied for third on points in the OUA regular season.

Playing in a very tight league, the fifth-placed Nipissing Lakers knocked off Queen’s in two straight playoff games to end their season early. A stronger playoff performance was expected, but the Gaels only mustered three goals over the two games. Poor finishing ultimately cost a long playoff run from an otherwise strong team.

Fifth-year goaltender Caitlyn Lahonen’s play earned her a spot on the OUA second All-Star team after finishing second in the league in goals against average and in save percentage.

The Gaels play host to the 2017 CIS Championship and will concentrate on the chance of national glory.

5. Men's hockey

In the three years since goaltender Kevin Bailie arrived at Queen’s, men’s hockey has taken a step forward to join Carleton, McGill and UQTR as perennial contenders in the OUA East division.

A two-time OUA East Goalie of the Year and former OUA East MVP in his rookie year, Bailie’s play was one of the main reasons the Gaels finished this year’s regular season with a 17-7-4 record.

However, the Gaels’ first round meeting with the UOIT Ridgebacks didn’t end well. 

Battling injuries to key players such as Slater Doggett and Spencer Abraham, Queen’s fell in the first round in three games.

Eric Ming had a breakout season, leading the team with 32 points in 27 games.

The potential is high for men’s hockey in the future, but they still have to prove themselves in the playoffs before they can truly consider themselves among the class of the OUA.

6. Women's volleyball

After a 12-win season last year, a lot was expected of the women’s volleyball team.

Unfortunately with 12 of their 16 players in second year or younger, the team struggled out of the gate, limping into the winter break at 5-5.

But Queen’s came out firing in the second half, going 7-2 from January onwards to finish with a 12-7 record.

Shannon Neville was the team’s offensive leader, topping the OUA with 228 kills and finishing second with 3.35 kills per set.

In the playoffs their success was short-lived. They were dropped in straight sets against the Ryerson Rams, putting the end to the Gaels season.

 First-year Franzi Wihelm will move into the team’s primary setter role for next year. Her 8.5 assist per set is impressive for someone who only started nine games. Second-year Caroline Livingston will lead the attack next year, as the OUA second team All-Star averaged 2.23 kills per set.

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