Men’s & Women’s volleyball open season on promising note

Both teams split weekend games against Nipissing and York

Zane Grossinger had 50 assists against York.
Zane Grossinger had 50 assists against York.

This weekend, Queen’s got their first look at the men’s and women’s volleyball teams in their first home games of the season.

Men’s Volleyball

Going into her final season as head coach of the Gaels, Brenda Willis was hoping to make a strong first impression as the 2017-18 season got underway.

Queen’s got off to an electric start against Nipissing on Saturday afternoon, swiftly taking down the Lakers in three sets.

After handily winning the opening set, the Gaels into early trouble in the second set, Queen’s kept Nipissing at bay and took the second set 25-21. The third set saw even more pushback from the Lakers, as the two teams fought tooth and nail to get a lead. The Gaels were eventually able to put the game away and take the final set 27-25.

Going into Sunday’s game on a high from the previous day’s outcome, the Gaels knew they were going to be in for a test against a York team that had yet to be defeated. After two hotly contested first two sets, the Gaels went down two sets to one after dropping an electric third set 31-29.

Although the Gaels were able to force a final set by winning the fourth, the Lions were able to take the fifth set 20-18. Regardless of the result, Willis was pleased with the Gaels’ opening weekend.

“I thought the boys came in really prepared, they seemed to bring their ‘A’ game to start us off. It was maybe a little because of the excitement of energy of a home opener,” Willis said.

In his fifth year of eligibility, outside hitter Markus Trence shone for Queen’s. Trence finished the weekend with 45 kills, once again proving himself to be one of the most dominant players in the OUA.

The Gaels will stay put in Kingston for the week as they host Guelph and Waterloo this weekend at the ARC.

Women’s Volleyball

The tale of the tape for the women’s volleyball team largely mirrored that of the men’s.

On Saturday, the Gaels handled Nipissing with ease as they took the match in three sets.

Their following game against the York Lions was less successful, as the Gaels were unable to sustain the intensity they brought against Nipissing the day before. Unlike the Lakers, the Lions’ defence handled Queen’s attack with ease, making it difficult for the Gaels to find their rhythm.

The weekend was Queen’s first glimpse of newly signed head coach Ryan Ratushniak. Recently the assistant coach for the University of Manitoba’s men’s volleyball team, Ratushniak was signed by Queen’s in the summer to fill the vacant spot left by former head coach Michael Ling.

“In general, the team is responding well to systems we’re trying to play…the more and more we play the more I think it’s going to translate to matches. It’s a good start,” Ratushniak said.

The weekend’s standouts included Shannon Neville, who accumulated 21 kills and six aces over the two games. Caroline Livingston added to the Gaels’ performance on the offensive and defensive ends, making four blocks and eight kills.

This weekend holds another home stand for the Gaels, as they’ll welcome Guelph and Waterloo to Kingston for a set of games.

“I just want them to come out with a passion and enjoy the moment,” Ratushniak said

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