Women’s volleyball team hopes to improve in their second year in RSEQ

Last season represented a significant change in the Gee-Gees women’s volleyball program, as the team made the jump from the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) division to the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ). The team missed the playoffs on a tie-breaker, finishing fifth out of six in the conference.

This year they will look to improve on that finish, with most of their players returning. That being said, the Gee-Gees lost a couple of major contributors from last year in setter Kira Tome and middle Kaiva Mateus.

However, the Gees have third-year setter Emily Lenton ready to step in for Tome, and second-year middle Dana Bulloch should be able to fill in admirably for Mateus.

The Gees attack will largely be the same, with Caroline Lemay, Kara Hayes, and Kaly Soro returning from last year to lead.

The Gees participated in a preseason tournament this past weekend, which head coach Lionel Woods says is a great way to assess the team.

“For us preseason really is all about getting our feet wet, finding our rhythm. Who are we? Who aren’t we?”

Woods will take all of the information he gathered over the weekend to determine which areas to focus on.

“We video the crap out of this, we write a lot of notes, and we sort of say ‘okay, well this is all the stuff we worked on and we’re not very good at, here’s all the stuff we worked on that we are pretty good at,’ and then we can reset for this two weeks what we’re going to do. So it’s all about assessment.”

After seeing their numbers dwindle over the last few years, the Gees brought in a large recruiting class this year.

“The biggest thing about this tournament for us is that we’re a little bit young, a little bit new in terms of the people together on the court, and we’re trying to find what’s our rhythm of this team? What’s our style, what’s our feel of this team?”

Woods said that while the starting six rotation is mostly set based on experience and seniority, there’s still room for players to impress and get regular playing time in niche roles.

“Already we’ve had a couple of first-year players step up faster than we thought. And even our second, third year kids, they’re very established in a role. We’re really starting to see how we use them, when we use them.”

The Gees will have a couple of weeks to get everything sorted out and where they want it to be before the season begins on Oct. 20.