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Photo: Remi Yuan.

Gees hope to finish 2016 strong heading into final two games before the break

The women’s volleyball team split their games this weekend, losing 3–0 to Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM) on Friday, Nov. 18, before defeating Université de Montréal 3–1 on Sunday, Nov. 20.

This weekend served as a microcosm of the Gees’ uneven 2016-17 season. They lost to last-place UQAM for the second time this season, but came out on top against first-place Montréal for the second time this season.

Head coach Lionel Woods responded to the weekend showing by saying that some teams just match up better against others.

“(There was) no lack of effort on Friday, no lack of intent. (They were) just uncomfortable. And then today: comfortable,” said Woods after the win against Montréal on Sunday.

The game against top-ranked Montréal was an exciting back-and-forth affair. The Gees were solid in the first two sets, winning them 25–22 and 25–23, respectively.

They lost momentum in the third, generating very little offence, and giving Montréal a chance to get their hitting going. The Carabins got the early lead and never looked back, winning the set 25–19.

The fourth set started right where the third left off. Montréal got off to a quick start, and lead 16–8 halfway through the set.

That’s when Ottawa began to mount their comeback. Down 18–12, the Gees rattled off six consecutive points to tie the score.

The Gees didn’t let go of their momentum, winning the set 25–22.

Fifth-year setter Kira Tome led the way for the team again. She contributed offensively with 37 assists and six kills, as well as defensively with 10 digs and a team-high three blocks.

Kaly Soro led the team offensively with a season-high 13 kills, including four key points during the Gees’ fourth-set comeback.

Woods credited the team’s serving game as being a key difference-maker in this match-up.

“When our serving was in, we had a chance to make them uncomfortable. When our serving wasn’t tough, they pass well. They’re too physical for almost anybody in our conference. So you’ve got to make them (go) out of system, and I thought we did that well today.”

Woods stressed that the team’s goals haven’t changed during the season.

“The message is the same. We’ve been the same every week. You’ve got to show up every week in this conference and play tough.”

Currently, the U of O’s record stands at 4–4, and the squad holds the third-best win percentage in the Réseau de sport étudiant du Québec. This weekend, the Gees will play back-to-back games against Laval, who shares first-place with Montréal.

For Woods, Laval should present a brand new set of challenges for the team.

“We haven’t seen Laval. We haven’t seen them in exhibition. We haven’t seen them in preseason. We’ve only seen video. They haven’t seen us. They’re a brand new team,” said Woods.

While Laval will be a new test for the Gees, this team has demonstrated they still have what it takes to compete with the best of their conference.

This weekend Ottawa is in action against Laval on Nov. 26 at 6 p.m. and Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. Both games will take place in Montpetit Hall. Tickets can be purchased here.