Saturday, February 02, 2008

Campus Corner: Thoughts from out of town

Some musings on the Gaels' away games this weekend:

Men's volleyball
The Gaels rode a 16-kill performance from rookie outside hitter Joren Zeeman to a decisive four-set victory over the Waterloo Warriors yesterday night. Middle hitter Nick Gralewicz also had a strong game, recording seven kills on only eight attempts for a .875 kill percentage. Interestingly enough, All-Canadian setter Devon Miller led the Gaels with 12 digs, as libero Stu Hamilton didn't play. I don't know the reason yet, but I'll definitely ask head coach Brenda Willis on Monday, as I'm writing about this game for Tuesday's Journal. It could be injury or illness, or maybe even just a coaching decision to give him some rest: the team's fans will surely be hoping it's the latter, as Stu's a key part of the Gaels' success.

The 20-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-21 victory vaults Queen's past the Guelph Gryphons (who lost in four to 11-5 Western yesterday)into second place in the OUA. These results mean there's a bit of a crunch at the top of the standings at the moment: McMaster's still undefeated at 17-0 (they beat Windsor in straight sets tonight), but you then have Queen's at 13-4, Guelph at 12-5, Western at 11-5 (with a game in hand), and Waterloo at 10-8. The sixth and final playoff spot should go to either 8-9 York or 8-8 Ryerson, as 5-11 Windsor and 5-12 Toronto are too far away to make a challenge. Queen's should have a pretty easy time of it against 4-14 Laurier tomorrow night (the game was rescheduled from Friday due to the crazy weather), but you never know when an upset will strike.

Speaking of upsets, tomorrow's most interesting clash is in Hamilton between Western and McMaster. Western's a very good team: they took Queen's to five sets in a hard-fought battle a couple weeks ago, so they should be able to at least make it interesting against Mac.

Women's volleyball
The women's team fell to 5-11 after yesterday's four-set loss to the Waterloo Warriors, who were 12-4 going into the match. The Gaels made it interesting in the middle sets, winning the second 25-19 and losing the third by the same score, but were never really in the first or fourth set and dropped them both 25-15. Middle hitter Christiane Taylor led the Gaels with a game-high 13 kills, more than double the best of anyone else on the team. Lorna Button had a strong passing game, leading the team with 12 digs. Interestingly, backup setter Jenna Willis played four games and recorded 24 assists, while starting setter Ellen Gray only put up four assists in three games. Again, without being at the game, I don't know yet if this was due to injury, illness or poor performance, but we should have more details in Tuesday's paper.

The women face another tough test tomorrow, as they take on 10-7 Laurier, who are coming off a straight-set demolition of the Royal Military College Paladins (who still haven't even won a set, by the way). They're still in the fight for the fourth and final OUA East playoff berth with 5-12 Ryerson and 4-12 Lakehead, but it will likely down to the wire. Ryerson plays league-leading Toronto (15-2) tomorrow, so they should lose that one, but you never know what will happen between Lakehead and York: after all, the Gaels knocked off the Lions last weekend. Next weekend, Queen's plays two critical matches in Thunder Bay against Lakehead, while Ryerson takes on York.

One final note here: as further proof of the OUA's statistical incompetence, which has already been extensively written about, they now refer to Gaels' middle hitter Colleen Ogilvie as "K" in the game summary. Maybe she's decided to change to just an initial, but she hasn't told me yet, so it's chalked up to another OUA glitch for the moment.

Men's hockey
A painful 6-5 loss to Ryerson Saturday afternoon means the Gaels likely won't win the division. However, they still could crack the playoffs with a good effort in Wednesday's Carr-Harris Cup game against RMC. I'll be there, watching with interest: until then, see Neate's blog for more details on the possible permutations.

Women's hockey
The women's team lost 4-0 to Toronto Saturday, and were supposedly outshot 39-12. If that stat's correct (and as earlier mentioned, I don't have much faith in OUA stats), it doesn't matter if you have the CIS Athlete of the Week in the net, you're still toast.

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