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Gee-Gees take fifth place at CIS championship

Photo credit: Marta Kierkus

The Gee-Gees played their consolation final with solid defence, serving, and attacking to win all three sets against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds.

The women’s volleyball team finished their season with two wins at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) championships in Toronto Feb. 25 to March 5.

During the quarterfinal match against the number three University of Alberta, the Pandas were strong in the final points of each set, and made the Gees scramble for each serve. The U of O fell short in three sets to send them to the consolation side of the tournament.

The Gee-Gees headed to the semifinals against Dalhousie University on Feb. 27, as they defeated the Tigers three sets to zero, with final scores of 25-11, 25-20, and 25-21. Ottawa was in control most of the game with many of their players on fire.

Second-year Kaly Soro was named player of the game with seven kills and nine digs. Fifth-year Myriam English racked up 11 kills and 10 digs.

“Kaly was on rhythm,” said head coach Lionel Woods. “She had some great reads in the back row, was constantly moving, and she put away every ball that she had an opportunity to put away. I thought Kaly and Myriam were solid on the left side and consistent all game.”

The win brought the Gee-Gees into the consolation final against the Thunderbirds on March 1. Ottawa played a strong but quick game against UBC, finishing them off in three sets with final scores of 25-20, 25-22, and 25-21.

“We were motivated to prove ourselves in the tournament,” said fifth-year libero Stephanie Theiler. “Although our first game didn’t go our way, we competed all weekend long, and that was evident as we played the next two matches.”

The Thunderbirds were ranked fifth nationally, but the Gees came out early in each set and shut down UBC’s offence. Ottawa had 32.5 per cent of all attacks and made only eight errors. The team also hit nine aces during the match.

“Lionel had been pushing us to be the most improved team we can be, and I think we did that,” said Theiler. “This group was a two-year team, and if you compared us last season to this last weekend, we absolutely did that.”

Fourth-year middle Alix Durivage was named player of the game with two aces, one solo block, and five kills, two being late in the third to solidify the win.

Graduating players Kelsie and Myriam English led the team with six and 11 kills, respectively. Myriam also chipped in two aces and 10 digs, while Kelsie added two aces and a team-high of 15 digs. Finally, Theiler added four digs for the win.

“It was one of our cleanest matches all year,” said Woods. “What a way to finish the season. The trio of the English twins and Steph are so very good. You know every team has their core that grows for four years, and that was our latest one. We’ll never replace them. I think all three of them might have had their best match as a trio together all season.”

The Gee-Gees finished the championship with style, as the win over UBC marked their first victory over a Canada West team since beating the University of Manitoba Bisons back in 2007.

The volleyball team will now enter the offseason until September and will return most of their players next season.

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