Eyeing the final playoff spot in the OUA East, women’s volleyball scored a massive upset win on the road.
The team was away from the ARC for a second consecutive weekend, but pulled off two key victories against the Nipissing Lakers (0-15) and the nationally seventh-ranked York Lions (12-3).
The Gaels (9-6) made quick work of the Lakers on Saturday, sweeping them in three straight sets: 25-22, 25-23, 25-10.
Fourth-year right side hitter Kelsey Bishop led the Gaels’ attack with 18 points, 16 of which were kills. Third-year middle Emilie Normand chipped in 15 points of her own in the winning effort.
Sunday was the true test for Queen’s, as they faced York, who bested the Gaels 3-1 in their previous meeting on Nov. 8.
The Gaels lost the first set of the match 25-21, but the team recovered from the early deficit and won three straight frames: 26-24, 30-28, 25-14.
“The first set started off really slow, and we were actually down 11-3,” said Gaels head coach Joely Christian-Macfarlane. “We fought our way back and outplayed them through the first set and kept getting better throughout the match.”
Second-year left side hitter Brett Hagarty put on a show, collecting 26 points, 22 kills and 33 digs, all of which were team- and game-highs.
“Through the second and third [sets] and leading into the fourth, she really lit it up for us,” Christian-Macfarlane said.
Second-year libero Becky Wilson posted six digs in her return to the lineup. She missed the last two games with an injury, having played in all of the team’s games up until the point she was hurt.
Fellow second-year Ali Shamie continued her strong play as setter, contributing 38 assists against Nipissing and 45 against York.
The Lions, who started the season on an 8-0 run, sit in a three-way tie for first place in the OUA East along with the Toronto Varsity Blues and the Ottawa Gee-Gees.
Queen’s will close off their season over the next two weeks, with matches this weekend against the McMaster Marauders (10-5) and the RMC Paladins (4-11).
On Feb. 8 and 9, they’ll face the fourth-place Ryerson Rams (11-4) and first-place Toronto (12-3).
All four remaining games will be played in Kingston, three at Queen’s and one at RMC, and they’re all must-wins. The Gaels must overtake Ryerson for fourth to clinch a playoff berth.
“You can’t control the uncontrollable, so all we’re going to do is focus on the things we have control over,” Christian-Macfarlane said.
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