Young Gee-Gees squad start regular season with four consecutive wins
After a disappointing 4-11 preseason record, the Gee-Gees women’s volleyball team surged back into their natural groove with a four-game winning streak to kick off their new season. The early success has paid off, as the team currently sits atop their division.
“Due to injuries and other reasons we didn’t yet understand the roles of each player on and off the court,” said third-year left-side hitter Kaly Soro. “The weekend before our home opener we had finally established that and it gave us some good results.”
The Gee-Gees opened the regular season with their first win, 3-0, at a home-opener game on Oct. 23 against the Queen’s Gaels, in front of about 700 spirited attendees.
With most points coming from errors, the first set proved to be slightly challenging for the Gees. After continuous back-and-forth action from both teams, rookie Kara Haynes and second-year left-side Caroline Lemay each went in for a kill to help their team clinch the first set.
With 10 kills, Lemay led scoring for the Gee-Gees tallying 12 points. Haynes followed with 11 points on 9 kills. On the defensive side, second-year libero Sabrina Roy totaled an impressive 10 digs.
The next day the Gee-Gees played RMC only to get a similar result, winning 3-1. Tying the game nine times in the first set, Ottawa only started to get some sort of lead from four errors committed by RMC. With Ottawa a point away from victory, RMC turned it around and quickly regained their composure to tie the game twice, and ultimately win the set after an attack error and a kill from Nicole Behnke.
The game followed with two more sets of vacillating game play, while the fourth set seemed a relative breeze for the Gee-Gees. Fifth-year Alix Durivage led the scoreboard with 15.5 points and 13 kills. New Moroccan recruit Sihame Doukali followed with 10 kills and 12 points.
Sabrina Roy continued to be a dominating defensive force with 22 digs. She currently stands ninth in the country for total digs and sixth for digs-per-set in Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS).
On Oct. 30, the Gee-Gees headed to Toronto to take on the York Lions, claiming another sweep of all three sets.
“Setting and holding the pace of a game for three straight sets is one thing that can be pretty challenging for such a young team,” said Soro. It seems however that the Gee-Gees have been able to find a grove in closing out matches quickly.
Star player Alix Durivage once again led the scoring board with 13.5 points and no errors.
Rookie Kara Haynes, who played an attacking position throughout the season took on a more defensive role in this game with 16 digs. Sabrina Roy continued on defence with 19 digs.
On Halloween night, the Gee-Gees were in high spirits as they continued their winning ways in a 3-0 sweep of the Nipissing Lakers. Despite the final score, it was a much closer match than it shows as each set was won by a margin of two to three points.
Up to this point the Gee-Gees average fourth nationally in kills per set. They are also fifth for digs, assists, and service aces-per-set.
The feel of this year’s team is remarkably different from past years. Nevertheless, the players are proving to triumph despite the team’s more youthful roster.
“A lot of our veteran players have stepped up their level of leadership on and off court since the English twins have left,” Soro said.
This play will have to continue if the Gees want a shot at another appearance at the CIS national championship this season.
The Gees face the Windsor Lancers on Nov. 7 and the Western Mustangs the following day, with hopes of extending the winning streak. Both games will get underway at 2 p.m. at Montpetit Hall.