Key matchups for the 2016-17 Gaels

Journal staff look ahead to the most important games of the season

Men's volleyball key matchup is against the Ryerson Rams on November 4.
Men's volleyball key matchup is against the Ryerson Rams on November 4.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

With varsity seasons quickly approaching, Queen’s teams are starting to gear up in their quest for a championship. Some will succeed, and others won’t, but there’s sure to be a lot of action in the coming season. Just last month the OUA released the full schedule for all varsity sports. With the grand opening of the newly

Just last month the OUA released the full schedule for all varsity sports. With the grand opening of the newly revitalised Richardson Stadium in September, the 2017 women’s hockey CIS national championships in March and all the rivalry games in between, we’ve compiled a list of the key matchups for the coming season.

Football | Soccer | Rugby | Hockey | Basketball | Volleyball

 
Football
September 17 at Richardson Stadium
vs. Western University
 
 
In recent years, Queen’s and Western have been one of the biggest rivalries in the OUA, with the teams meeting in the provincial championship Yates Cup final in 2009 and 2013. Last year, the Mustangs were the envy of the OUA, going undefeated during their regular season. The young Gaels played one of their best games of the year against the Mustangs but lost 48-25. With most of the Queen’s team coming back, another chapter in the rivalry will be written at the historic grand opening of the newly revitalised Richardson Stadium.
 
Men’s Soccer 
September 25 at Richardson Stadium
vs. University of Toronto
 

 
Men’s soccer will look to build on an impressive 2015-16 campaign after finishing third in their conference. Last season, these two teams split their regular season games, with the Varsity Blues knocking the Gaels out of the playoffs. Look for Queen’s to avenge their early post-season exit and give the crowd something to celebrate in the new stadium.
 
Women’s Soccer
September 30 at Richardson Stadium
vs. University of Ottawa
 
 
Although the Gaels finished their 2015-16 regular season fifth in the OUA, they made a great post-season run, winning the championship over Wilfred Laurier. Although the Gaels didn’t have the opportunity to meet the undefeated Ottawa Gee Gees in the playoffs, this early season fixture will be a test whether the Gaels’ impressive playoff run was more than luck.
 
Women’s Rugby
October 1 at Nixon Field
vs. Guelph University
 
 
In recent years, Guelph and Queen’s have been at the pinnacle of women’s rugby. From 2008-13, Guelph was the most dominant team in Canada, winning five-straight OUA championships. Now, three years removed from their last title, Guelph will contest Queen’s for the top spot in the division. Last year, Queen’s lost both their games to the Gryphons, including a 38-3 defeat on the road. 
 
While the Gryphons finished second in the OUA last year — ahead of the Gaels — the Gryphons were snubbed from the CIS National Championship playoff in place of the tournament hosting team – the Gaels. With the Gryphons likely seeking revenge, the game on Nixon field could help to solidify Queen’s credentials from last year’s Cinderella run to a silver medal at the CIS championships.
 
Men’s Rugby 
September 11 in Guelph, ON
vs. Guelph University
 
 
After winning four straight OUA Championships, can anyone defeat the Gaels men’s rugby team? On paper, the toughest challenge they’ll face this year is on the road at Guelph. In a similar early season game against them last year, Queen’s lost their only game of the season, 35-28. In a close OUA final, a missed conversion by Guelph in the final moments of the game kept the Gaels on top, winning 24-23. With Guelph seeking redemption, Queen’s will face a tough matchup on the road.
 
 
Women’s hockey
October 30 at the Memorial Centre
vs. Guelph University
 
 
The Gryphons are coming off an OUA Champion season, only losing two games in regulation. In their two match-ups last year, Queen’s was outscored 7-1, dropping both games. For the Gaels to be a legitimate contender for the CIS National Championship in March – which will be hosted by Queen’s at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Nappanee – they must be more competitive against the OUA’s highest scoring team.
 
Men’s hockey
December 3 at the Memorial Centre
vs. Université du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres (UQTR)
 
 
As last year’s OUA Champions, UQTR only lost three games in regulation, including a 4-3 nail-biter to Queen’s. Last year, these two teams couldn’t have been more opposite in their playing style. UQTR led the province in goals scored with 142, while Queen’s finishing tied for the second lowest goals against total with 67. Known as a middle of the pack OUA team, the Gaels will need to use this game prior to the December break to ensure they’re included in conversations about the OUA elites.
 
 
Women’s Basketball 
January 13 at the ARC
vs. Ryerson University
 
 
The Gaels split their season series against the OUA Champions last year, with both teams being consistently ranked in the national CIS top 10. They’re division rivals too, so look for the Gaels to kick it into high gear in hopes of gaining an advantage for the early playoff spot hunt.
 
Men’s Basketball 
February 11 at the ARC
vs. University of Ottawa
 
 
When the Gaels were bounced from the post-season after a last-second shot by the Ottawa Gee-Gees, a few things became evident: one, being the obvious, their season was over; but two, and more importantly, the Queen’s men’s basketball team could hang around with some of the country’s best teams. In regular season play nearing the end of the year, this matchup will make it evident for the Gaels whether a deep playoff run is in their cards.
 
Men’s Volleyball
November 4 at the ARC
Vs. Ryerson University
 
 
After finishing the 2015-16 season second in the OUA, a lot was expected of the men’s volleyball team in the playoffs. In their opening round game against Ryerson, they only managed to win one set, resulting in an early exit. To get rid of the sour taste left by the Rams, the Gaels will look to their early season fixture to prove who's at the top of the OUA.
 
Women’s Volleyball
November 5 at the ARC
vs. University of Toronto
 
 
After starting out slow last year, the women’s volleyball team won eight of its last 10, only dropping games to Toronto and Ryerson. To prove this wasn’t a fluke, the Gaels will need to knock off the defending national champions.

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