Men’s, women’s volleyball dominate pair of home games

Gaels finish strong against York Lions and Nipissing Lakers

The men’s volleyball team currently has a 6-2 record.
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In their last home games of the fall term, the men’s and women’s volleyball teams won against the York Lions and Nipissing Lakers on Saturday and Sunday.

Women’s volleyball

The Gaels (4-4) had two convincing 3-1 wins over York (4-1) and Nipissing (3-2) over the weekend. 

Despite dropping the first set to York 25-23 on Saturday, the Gaels turned around to win the second 25-13, and both the third and fourth sets 25-20. The win gave the Lions their first loss of the season.

Of the Gaels’ most notable performances, fourth-year Caroline Livingston had 13 kills and 12 digs.

On Sunday afternoon, the Gaels again topped Nipissing, also winning in four sets.

After a narrowly successful first set of 26-24, the Gaels missed numerous chances and let the second set slip away 27-25. However, the Gaels pulled away in the third and fourth sets, wearing the Lakers down enough to win the closing sets 25-20 and 25-10.

After the second set, the team realized they could be more aggressive in all areas of the game against Nipissing, Head Coach Ryan Ratushniak told The Journal in a post-game interview.

“I think in the third set our team just came out and decided to go after it,” he said.

The Gaels put up 16 aces in the match, with 15 kills by Livingston and 14 digs from Isabelle Korchinski.

For the rest of the season, the Gaels’ focus will be playing the game their way.

“We have aggressive offense. We’re a tough serving team. When we’re playing free out there and playing our game we’re going to do well,” Ratushniak said. “We have a chance in every match.”

So far this season, the Gaels have a split 4-4 record, putting them in fourth place in the OUA East. With only one regular season game left before the winter break, the team will have what Ratushniak referred to as “a little bit of an offseason” before their 2018-19 campaign properly begins.

After the winter break, the Gaels have 10 games prior to the playoffs.

“Last year, our team stayed in really good shape, did all of our workouts and extra workouts, and came back after learning a lot from the first half,” Ratushniak said. “I’m hoping the second half will be similar.”

Men’s volleyball

Mirroring the women’s team, the men’s volleyball team (6-2) won both home games this weekend against York (2-3) and Nipissing (3-1).

Against York, the Gaels were able to win 3-1 in four sets. It was the first time this season where a match fell below five sets.  

The Gaels proved their ability to rebound after a minor setback on Saturday. With York tying the game in a tight second set, Queen’s grinded through two intense final sets, which they won 25-20 and 25-23.

In a post-game interview with The Journal, Head Coach Gabriel DeGroot said his team came out strong to open the match but “let [York] in” in the second set.  

On Sunday afternoon, the Gaels took on the Nipissing Lakers, winning 3-1. Similar to Saturday’s game, the Gaels lost the second set 20-25, but dominated the next two. In the fourth set, the Gaels came out on top with a 25-15 win.

“It’s a little easier to get through, emotionally, than the five set roller coasters that we’ve been putting ourselves through,” DeGroot said. “It’s good to get this weekend’s two wins and do them in this fashion.”

The Lakers made 25 errors to Queen’s 17.

DeGroot said that the team’s biggest strength was the contribution from their outside hitters.

“We’ve got four or five guys contributing on the outsides, and anyone of those guys is stepping in at anytime,” he said. Of the Gaels’ strongest performances from outside hitters, Adam Bolijkovac had 14 kills while third-year Joel Rudd made 13 digs throughout the game.

But DeGroot indicated there’s more to work on.

“We needed to come out strong in the second set and we let it slip away,” DeGroot said. Overall, though, DeGroot said his team adapted well to opposing competition.

“The thing is, these are good teams and these are good coaches, and they’re making adjustments, so we have to make the adjustments back,” he said. “As long as we’re staying on top of that, the guys seem to be responding well to the adjustments we’re making as a coaching staff–it’s working for us.”

The Gaels’ next game will be against the Trent Excalibur in Peterborough on Saturday.

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