KINGSTON, Ont. (from Queen’s Gaels) – The Queen’s Gaels (11-4) swept the No.6 McMaster Marauders (13-2) in straight sets 3-0 handing the Marauders their first loss since October. The scores of each set were 25-18, 25-20 and 25-23.
In the first set, the Gaels took an early lead off strong offensive cross-court kills from Julia Wiercigroch (Mississauga, Ont.) and blocks by Natalie Crews (North Vancouver, B.C.). A kill down the right line for Crews and a tip over the Marauders defence for Shannon Neville (Cambridge, Ont.) continued the Gaels offensive momentum and kept Queen’s in the lead. The Marauders defence continuously fielded digs on the Queen’s offence but were unable to make kills of their own to close the gap created by the Tricolour.
Neville made two aces to bring the set to 24-18, and the Marauders gave up the set on a serve sent out of bounds. The Gaels took the frame with a score of 25-18. For McMaster, the set loss snapped a streak of 22 straight sets won.
The second set started out evenly between the Gaels and the Marauders, going back and forth for possession of the lead early on. An ace and several centre court kills from Makayla Keith (Calgary, Alta.) gave the Tricolour a short lead over McMaster. The Marauders played a solid defensive game, making digs on the Gaels offensive attempts but the Gaels continued to push kills into the pockets of McMaster’s court. The Marauders got their offensive footing back and tied the set at 17-all, but unreturnable kills from Neville put the Gaels in the lead again. The Gaels ended the set with a cross-court kill from Isabelle Korchinski (Anmore, B.C.) taking the frame with a score of 25-20.
“I feel like today we played a lot tougher defence than we did yesterday [against the Brock Badgers] and our blocks were a huge factor in the win,” said Keith.
The Tricolour got off to a quick lead early in the third set, with an ace from Korchinski and a kill from Keith. The Marauders retorted with multiple offensive plays but kills to the backcourt from Wiercigroch, and Neville kept the lead in Queen’s possession. Digs by Wiercigroch maintained the Gaels defence in the third set and allowed the Tricolour offence to thrive. Tips by Sierra Hardy (Oakville, Ont.) and kills from Wiercigroch kept the Gaels in the game, but the Marauders capitalized on kill opportunities tying up the set at 16 all. The Gaels began to find their offensive groove and pulled away from the Marauders only to be tied again at 22. The McMaster defence showed their strengths with defensive blocks, but errors made by the Marauders put the Gaels in position to win the match. A kill to the back-right corner won the Gaels the set and the game with a score of 25-23.
The Gaels stay in Kingston for their next game taking on the RMC Paladins in the ARC at 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 11, 2018.