Men’s Volleyball finishes seventh at U Sports National Championship

Gaels lose to the McMaster Marauders in consolation Semi-final, end season 12-4

The Gaels ended their season with losses to the University of Alberta and McMaster at the U Sports Championship.
Photo supplied by Athletics and Recreation

The Queen’s Men’s Volleyball team finished seventh at the U Sports National Championship over the weekend.

The Gaels side lost in straight sets in their quarterfinal matchup against the University of Alberta Golden Bears on Mar. 25, then proceeded to fall 1-3 to the McMaster Marauders in the consolation semifinal on Mar. 26. The losses marked the end of the team’s 2021-22 campaign, of which their overall record stands at 12-4.

“I'm very happy with the effort put forward by the team. I think we put ourselves in the best position to be as successful as we could be, but we didn't get the results that we were hoping for,” head coach Gabriel deGroot said in an interview with The Journal.

In their first matchup, the Gaels never seemed find their footing, with the Golden Bears building on early leads in the first two sets—Queen’s losing 14-25 in the first frame, and 16-25 in the second.

Queen’s found life late into the final set, pulling to within one point after being down six. However, a four-point Alberta service run killed the momentum of the Gaels, ultimately causing them to drop the set 20-25 and lose the match.

DeGroot attributed the key difference between the teams to the service pressure University of Alberta was able to generate.

“[It’s] a consistent problem year over year, but I think it was even bigger coming out of a COVID year where were our number of matches were significantly reduced,” he noted.

“We didn't have the experience to manage it better, [but] as the third set rolled around, we started to settle into the speed and the velocity that some of the serving was coming at, which I think was probably the biggest difference.”

In the consolation semi-final against McMaster, the Gaels started off strong, taking the first set 25-22 and keeping the second set close before a three-point service allowed the Marauders to seal the deal 28-30.

The third set mirrored the second, with neither side building a substantial advantage until a four-point run allowed McMaster to win again, 20-25.

In the final frame, the Gaels appeared to have bounced back, going up 10-4 early. However, more service pressure from the Marauders put them down 15-23, creating a deficit they couldn’t recover from. They lost the final set 18-25 and the match 1-3.

DeGroot highlighted the key takeaway from their matchup against McMaster.

“I think we matched up just fine against McMaster; our offense, our defense compare, except that serving pressure that Sam Cooper can bring,” he said.

“From a coaching perspective, I used almost all my timeouts to try to stop his serving run.”

Looking forward to next year, deGroot hopes to bring a similar aspect to Gaels.

“We're also going to have to find ways to increase our serving pressure in our own gym and in our own training moving forward,” he said.

When asked about his season highlight, deGroot emphasized gratitude to be back competing.

“We'll all take just getting the opportunity to be back on court and the opportunity to compete again. It was a pretty long and depressing couple years following COVID and the shutdown,” he noted.

“We’re trying to take a bit of an attitude of gratitude for the opportunity we have.”

However, deGroot is also eager to move forward, and take the lessons learned from this season and turn it into a potential national title run next year.

“I think we'll definitely have to turn our thoughts away from ‘just being grateful to be here’ to ‘how are we going to close the gap and take a serious run out a national championship?’”

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

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.