Young Gaels drop both home games against Toronto opponents

Takeaways from the women’s volleyball weekend

Isabelle Birchall spikes the ball against U of T.
Isabelle Birchall spikes the ball against U of T.

Last weekend, the women’s volleyball team faced off against their toughest adversaries in the East division, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and the Ryerson Rams. 

Last year the two Toronto based teams placed first and second respectively in the division, with Toronto going undefeated through 19 regular season matches to later take the OUA championship title as well as a national CIS title.

On Friday the Gaels met the Ryerson Rams, keeping the scores close throughout the match, but eventually fell in three straight sets. 

The next evening, the Gaels took on the defending OUA and CIS champions, University of Toronto, winning the opening set and later falling to Toronto in the next three. 

Here are The Journal’s takeaways from the weekend, including the strong play of outsider hitter Victoria Wensley.

Taking a set from the defending champions

One of the ways that Queen’s was able to take the first set from Toronto was their defensive control around the net.

Nicola Ros and Danielle Corrigan were a stone wall on Saturday’s game against U of T, having back-to-back blocks in the first set that helped the Gaels take it 25–19.

The passing skill demonstrated by the Gaels throughout the games last weekend demonstrated why the young team is still a force to be reckoned with this season. A prime example was a passing series executed by Queen’s that lead to Caroline Livingston being set up for consecutive points. In the loss against Toronto, Livingston registered 13 kills and two blocks.

Errors separate Queen’s from the upper tier

It’s never easy to face off against two of the top teams in the OUA. For Queen’s, last weekend was no different. 

While they were able to keep the sets close in score, there was one major difference — errors. In their Friday matchup against Ryerson, Queen’s committed 19 attacking errors — 11 in the game’s final set — compared to Ryerson’s 12 for the entire match.

Against U of T, Queen’s hitting percentage was only .100, which was a whole 100 points below their opponents. Currently, Queen’s ranks 10th in the OUA in hitting percentage and is tied with Western for the fourth most errors in the league with 62.

For Queen’s to make the next step going forward, they’re going to need to be more efficient on the court.

Looking ahead for positive outlook  

While last weekend’s loses had their fair share of negatives, Victoria Wensley tried to look to the positive outcomes. On the weekend, she recorded collective 13 kills, three aces and one block.

“A huge positive is always taking a set off of Toronto, especially as such a young team,” Wensley said. Queen’s has nine first years on their 15 person roster. 

“Every game we have a new game plan and a new attitude,” Wensley said in regards to how the team handles 

back-to-back games. She emphasized the learning experience that the team takes away from each game. Wensley said that the next step is simple — “back to the gym and practice.”

The Gaels have two home again this weekend, playing the Windsor Lancers on Friday and the Western Mustangs on Saturday.  

 

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