Women's volleyball ready to fight through last half of season

Team enters final stretch with 5-4 record

The women’s volleyball team currently boasts a 5-4 record.
The women’s volleyball team currently boasts a 5-4 record.

The women’s volleyball team has to work for the OUA playoffs—but it’s not out of reach yet.

The Gaels (5-4) resume play this weekend after a winter break on seven weeks of rest. In an interview with The Journal this week, Head Coach Ryan Ratushniak said his team is looking good since the hiatus from the competitive action.  

“We were improving our game, certainly, in different areas at the end of November,” Ratushniak said. “We were a little bit rusty at the end [of first semester], but we’ve gotten them back to where we want and we’re continuing where we left off.”

Despite being on the heels of a three game winning streak, the Gaels have struggled this year relative to their play last season. 

In 2017-18, Ratushniak’s first as head coach, Queen’s was 6-2 heading into the winter break. But the pressure doesn’t loom from one season to the next, the coach said. 

When playing Western in October—the team who knocked the Gaels out of last year’s OUA playoffs—Ratushniak said his team did well to stay in the moment, despite losing the match 3-2.

“We try to focus on the moment,” Ratushniak said. “Basically, nothing is won on paper or lost—it’s whichever team goes out and performs the best.”

“We’re going out and focusing on our performance. Taking it point by point and set by set.”

Statistically, Queen’s is on par with its play last season. The team averages roughly the same amount of kills, hitting percentage, assists and blocks per game—the only anomaly comes by way of digs, where last season the team had 14.40 a game to this year’s 11.5. 

Although the results haven’t favoured them, Ratushniak said his players have shown signs of extra motivation going into the final stretch. 

“It’s exciting—we have some seniors on the team that I think want to finish strong this year, and they want to get good results. The key is focusing on the process to get those results,” he said.

Ratushinak added his team, considering last season’s early exit, still has the playoffs looming in the back of its mind. 

The Gaels haven’t won a first-round playoff match since 2011-12, when they were crowned OUA champions.

“Making the playoffs is very important to us and we still have some work left to do there,” Ratushniak said. “We can’t take anything for granted, and [we’d] love to make it to the Final Four and compete for an OUA Championship.”

Despite a near-.500 record, Queen’s has together some impressive performances this season, including taking both the University of Toronto Varsity Blues (8-3) and Ryerson Rams (8-1) to five sets. 

While the team fell to Ryerson away from home in a tight five sets, it beat U of T in a game which saw the Gaels commit no errors in the final set.

On schedule for this weekend, the Gaels hit the road to play successive matches versus the Guelph Gryphons (5-5) and Waterloo Warriors (9-0). The following weekend, the women return home to host  current OUA East leaders U of T and Ryerson.

With ten games to play before the postseason, Ratushniak knows his team will be tested—but it’s nothing they wouldn’t be prepared for. 

“I don’t think there’s any team in this league that’s unbeatable, that we can’t beat. But having said that, there’s a lot of work to do to be competitive,” he said.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.