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Gee-Gees women’s volleyball secures OUA spot

Photo by Aisha Khan

The Gee-Gees women’s volleyball team is the seventh-ranked team in Canada and is dead set on making that number climb as they head into Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) finals.

If the team had cleared one more hurdle, they’d have firmly earned their stripes among the country’s elite. This hurdle came in the form of a two-game weekend against Ryerson and Toronto on Feb. 1–2.

On Feb. 1, the 11–4 Ryerson University Rams were the first of two Toronto-based, fast-paced, and hardnosed teams  facing the Gee-Gees that previously handed the Gees a loss on Jan. 19–20.

A win in the Feb. 1 game was not only a confidence boost, but also key in clinching a spot in the playoffs. The Gees did not waste this opportunity coming out with a hard-fought effort resulting in a 3–1 victory, locking in their playoff spot. The U of O took the first and final two sets to get the win. Both fourth-year stars and twin sisters Myriam and Kelsie English once again turned in signature performances. The two combined for 36.5 points in the match, Myriam with a team-high 19 and Kelsie with 17.5.

“Our response was two weeks of training,” said Gees-Gees head coach Lionel Woods, explaining their strategy after previously losing to Ryerson. “This match was the result of our response; we got together, talked about it together, and figured it out together.”

Riding Saturday’s high, the Gees went into its Sunday match against the 13–3 University of Toronto Varsity Blues eager to secure the number one seed in the OUA’s East division and home-court advantage. They did not achieve this, as they dropped the game against the Blues in a heartbreaking fashion, losing by only two points in the final set, despite a 19-point performance by Kelsie English.

Despite the loss, the team is still staying optimistic.

“It’s getting exciting,” said Myriam English. “Being a fourth-year I know exactly what to expect and when we have to inspire the others to want the exact same thing. We are gunning for gold.”

The team has been dealing with a relatively young roster this year, including three rookies on the starting line. In other words, the senior players, including fourth-year captain Stephanie Theiler, have had to lend their experience and focus to the younger players.

Although they’re heading into their final game with a second-place seed in the East division, the Gee-Gees will have breathing room to improve their 14–4 record. The team will close out their regular season against the McMaster Marauders in Hamilton on Feb. 8.

The OUA playoffs will get underway on Feb. 15. As their path becomes clearer, the women are certainly still looking to turn some heads along the way.