Men’s volleyball rolls past RMC in straight sets

Veteran middle, Will Hoey, makes his season debut after sitting out first semester with an injury

Will Hoey makes his season debut after sitting out first semester with an injury.
The men's volleyball team played last semester without injured veteran middle Will Hoey who made his season debut this weekend. 

Even though they’re more than halfway through the season, Sunday’s matchup against RMC had a playoff-like atmosphere for Queen’s. In front of a boisterous home crowd, the Queen’s men’s volleyball team kicked off the second half of their season with a convincing straight-sets win against the neighbouring RMC Paladins on Sunday afternoon.

More importantly than their victory, Sunday’s game marked the return of the Gaels’ veteran middle, Will Hoey, who sat out the first half of the season due to injury.

Head coach Brenda Willis was impressed with her 6’11” middle in his season debut. “He’s still getting his jump back but he controlled the net pretty well. It’s kind of nice when you’re almost seven feet.”

His return came at a good time for the Gaels, as Dylan Hunt, Hoey’s replacement during his time off, sustained an injury prior to Sunday’s game. “We got [Hoey] back just at the right time, and now Dylan’s almost healthy,” Willis said.

Hoey put up an efficient 10 kills on 12 attempts.

“We had a pretty specific game plan and followed it pretty well,” Willis said after the match. “[RMC] plays tremendous defence. Our goal was to match them in digs and we actually out-dug them, so I’m pretty happy with how we did.”

The Gaels and Paladins both came out strong in the first set, with each team displaying their defensive skills.

However, the momentum appeared to shift in Queen’s favour when outside hitter Zac Hutcheson made a diving save into the courtside protective cardboard to keep a play alive, leading to a Gaels’ point and putting them up 9-7. The play, met with audible admiration from the crowd, seemed to ignite a fire under the Gaels, as they went on to take the set 25-15.

The next two sets weren’t smooth sailing, with RMC continuing to pressure Queen’s, as the Gaels found themselves in a five-point deficit to start the second set. The Gaels managed to claw their way back into the set off several errors by the Paladins and strong defence. From the conclusion of the second set and on, it was smooth sailing for Queen’s. They went on to win the third set by a score of 25-14.

As emphasized by Coach Willis, the Gaels defence has been something the team has put under the microscope recently. Following Sunday’s game, Willis rated the team’s defence as “good, not excellent” but followed it up saying “we’re working hard on playing a better perimeter defence and not getting sucked into the court and getting balls high, and that was better.”

Many players contributed to the successful defensive outing, as Zac Hutcheson led the game in digs with 10 and Jamie Wright finished with seven digs as well as a spectacular 34 assists. Meanwhile, the OUA leader in kills, Markus Trence, put on a strong offensive performance with a game-high 11 kills.

The Gaels will remain in Kingston for another week as RMC plays host to the Gaels next Sunday in a rematch of this week’s game. Queen’s will look to accomplish the same result and make a push for the top spot in the OUA East division.

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