QJ predictions for the winter varsity teams

Men’s hockey and women’s basketball holding strong, women’s volleyball likely to stumble

Credit: 
Journal File Photo
Women’s Basketball
Currently: 1st in the OUA East; 5th in the country 
Predicted: 1st in the OUA East
 
The women’s basketball team is one of the hottest teams in Canada right now. Currently ranked fifth in the nation, the team is both a defensive and offensive force. 
 
Unlike others in the league, they boast a balanced attack. Of their six highest scorers, none average more than 15 points per game, but instead combine for 59.3 of the team’s 76 points per game. Importantly, the team holds a lot of the games’ possession. By leading the OUA in offensive rebounds and currently second in total rebounds, they give their shooters more possibilities to score, while limiting the other team’s opportunities. 
 
With an average 10.8 steals per game, limiting their opponents to just 30.7 percent from the field and a mere 23.5 from behind the arc, Queen’s is efficient. After years of coming close to the U Sports Final 8 Championship, it looks like the Gaels have a real shot at bringing a banner home.
 
Men’s Basketball
Currently: 3rd in the OUA East
Predicted: 2nd in the OUA East 
 
The men’s basketball team has been delighting their fans this season with strong performances. The team’s record is currently 6-2 and they’ve managed to maintain a fast pace and cohesive team structure from game-to-game. 
 
They average 77.8 points per game, but more importantly, the team has a depth of talent this season that means those points could originate from any player. Particularly strong performances from the powerful trio of Isse Ibrahim, Sukhpreet Singh and Tanner Graham mean that the Gaels maintain consistent control of the game. When these players come together on the court, they become an unbeatable force who constantly make plays and dominate. 
 
Women’s Volleyball
Currently: 5th in the OUA East
Predicted: 6th in the OUA East
 
The women’s volleyball team had a tough first half of the season and is currently ranked fifth out of seven teams in the OUA East. The Gaels hold a record of 3-6 and will have ten more games before the OUA quarterfinals take place on March 3. The team had 11.56 kills, 10.81 assists and 15.47 digs per set this season — putting them in the top five amongst the entire OUA East league in these categories. 
 
While the young team struggled to close out sets successfully in the first half of the season, they’ve continued to improve defensively thus far and grow together as a cohesive unit, especially in terms of passing. The team won’t finish this season on top of the division with successes similar to previous seasons, but they will be able to take these matches and learn for a more experienced season in 2017-18. 
 
Men’s Volleyball
Currently: 5th in the OUA 
Predicted: 4th in the OUA
 
The men’s volleyball team currently holds a 5-4 record and has nine more games until the OUA quarterfinals. The team averages 12.53 kills, 11.64 assists and 10.50 digs per set this season — putting them in the top two amongst the league in these categories. Where they seem to be struggling is in blocking, with an average of 1.56 blocks per set — eighth in the league —and second for attacking errors with 181 total. 
 
Coming off a second place finish in the OUA last season, this season has proven more difficult with a large portion of their team graduated. The few returning players have lead the team thus far, such as outside hitters Markus Trence and Zac Hutcheson, which will hopefully allow the team to finish the season on a strong note. 
 
Women’s Hockey
Currently: 6th in the OUA
Predicted: 5th in the OUA
 
With only 10 games left until the OUA playoffs, the women’s hockey team still has a long way to go. They currently hold an 8-6-0 record and sit just above the median at sixth place out of 13 teams in the province. 
 
The team averages 2.21 goals per game on an average 27.5 shots a game. The team could have a chance to prevail this season and make a comeback — which is often their style in games. Players like Addi Hallaway, who leads the team’s scoring efforts with seven goals this season, will be key in the Gaels playoff push. 
 
In their final 10 regular season games, the Gaels will be facing a slew of teams that they by far out rank in the OUA, with the exception of two teams: the No. 3 Waterloo Warriors and the No. 4 Western Mustangs, twice. The team is also hosting the 2017 U Sports Championship, which will take place during the weekend of March 16.
 
Men’s Hockey
Currently: 2nd in the OUA East; 5th in the country
Predicted: 1st in the OUA East
 
The men’s hockey team is one of the best in the country. The Gaels have had a successful season thus far, thanks largely to the strong leadership of scoring leaders Eric Ming and Slater Doggett, and defenseman Spencer Abraham. They’re currently ranked second in the OUA East and have a 14-5-0 record with a four-game winning streak.  
 
The team trails closely behind the No. 1 team in the OUA East, the McGill Redmen. Both teams have strong defense and goalkeeping, with only 45 goals against, however the Redmen have a stronger offence with 77 goals for, compared to the Gaels’ 59. If the Gaels keep this trend going and manage to rouse their offense against the Redmen, they’ll have a chance to secure that No .1 spot. 

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