Men’s volleyball makes statement against U of T, Ryerson

Gaels solidify first place in OUA with straight-sets victory over conference rival

Zac Hutcheson (15) landed 18 kills against Ryerson on Sunday.
Zac Hutcheson (15) landed 18 kills against Ryerson on Sunday.

This weekend, the men’s volleyball team (10-3) enjoyed two wins in a weekend that was expected to be anything but routine.

Going up against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues (9-5) and Ryerson Rams (9-4), the Gaels beat the teams 3-1 and 3-0, respectively. The three squads currently round out the top spots in the OUA East—Queen’s game against Ryerson was a tiebreaker between the two, with both sharing identical records ahead of their match on Sunday.

“We had a great weekend—I think the guys really bought into the game plan this week,” Head Coach Gabriel DeGroot said after Sunday’s win against Ryerson.

Against U of T, the teams split the opening two sets—the Gaels took the first 25-17 while the Blues pushed back to win the second 25-22. While both teams were tight across the statistics—Queen’s hit 51 kills to U of T’s 46 and made 48 assists to the Blues’ 42—U of T fell victim to their errors. The visiting side committed 23 errors, 10 more than Queen’s.

DeGroot said his team’s consistent defense was particularly key to its win.

“[We had a] little more of a balanced, disciplined defense from us […] it worked really well,” he said.

Against Ryerson, the Gaels rolled by the Rams in just over an hour. The win pushed Queen’s past Ryerson to first in the OUA East. The two teams shared a 9-3 record ahead of the game.

While the Gaels commanded a quick match, all three sets were tight. Queen’s held Ryerson to 23 points in the first two sets and 20 in the third. Logging just three less errors than the Rams, Queen’s edged out Ryerson in kills 43-34.

“[We] worked hard at making really specific adjustments to our components, and that showed in this game,” DeGroot said.

Fourth-year Zac Hutcheson had one of his strongest games of the season against Ryerson, punching in 18 kills and recording two blocks. DeGroot said Hutcheson has been the Gaels’ most well-rounded player this season.

“We had a great weekend from Zac […] he’s stepped up in every aspect,” DeGroot said. “Defensively, offensively, he had an awesome weekend.”

In addition, second-year Zane Grossinger led Queen’s offense, accounting for 38 of the Gaels’ 42 assists.  

Next weekend, Queen’s will travel to Northern Ontario to play the Nipissing Lakers (3-7) on Saturday, then back down to Toronto to take on the York Lions (4-6) on Sunday. Now first in the OUA East, Queen’s has the opportunity to keep hold of its position in the standings, considering each of its last five opponents has a losing record.

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