Gees lose to top-ranked provincial team
FULL STANDS AT the Montpetit Hall greeted the University of Ottawa women’s volleyball team (6-3) on Nov. 20, when they hosted the top-ranked York University Lions (8-0). Despite the home crowd support, the Garnet and Grey were unable to come out on top over the Lions, and now sit in a battle for second place in the Ontario University Athletics division.
York’s strength showed early in the matchup, as blistering kills from the Lions’ attackers and backcourt mistakes from the Gees saw the visiting team pull ahead to a 7-4 lead in the first set. Ottawa managed to close the gap to a 13-13 tie, with the two teams battling for the lead. The closely fought set was eventually taken by the Lions, 25-23.
“The game plan was to play as much as we could, the way that we play,” said Ottawa head coach Lionel Woods. “[The Lions] are a very smart team. They’re a very mature team in terms of shots and angles, and what’s available and what’s not. They don’t make a ton of errors.”
The Gees bounced back in the second set, and jumped out to an early 5-2 lead. Although York temporarily drew even late in the game, Ottawa hung on for a 25-23 victory, tying the match at one set apiece. Second-year left-side hitter Myriam English and second-year right-side hitter Karina Krueger-Schwanke’s strong attacks were vital in Ottawa’s second set win, and the two finished the day with 15 and 10 kills, respectively.
The third set was another close contest, where neither team was ever on top by more than three points. York’s experience ultimately proved to be too much for the U of O squad, as the Lions capitalized on the home team’s missed serves to take the set 25-22.
Down two sets to one in the best of five matchups, the fourth game was do or die for the Gees.
“We didn’t play our game at that point,” said Ottawa’s fifth-year libero and team captain Claudia Seguin. “We let stuff affect us and we tried new stuff that we don’t usually do, like different shots. We had to stick to our game.”
The home team got off to a promising start, with third-year setter Christina Grail serving to a 4-0 lead. Ottawa was quickly overpowered though, and York’s 25-12 fourth set victory meant the Gees left the game with a loss.
Woods stated his disappointment after the game and zeroed in on the area that needs the most improvement as the season approaches its midpoint.
“I don’t think we served very aggressively,” stated Woods. “We missed 10 serves, and got six aces. Those 10 serves weren’t our normal misses, especially in our home gym. We’ve got to serve a lot better.”
The Gee-Gees’ next match will take place on Nov. 26, when they will be hosted by the Ryerson University Rams (2-5).