Mustangs Eliminate Gaels for Third Straight Year
Western Mustangs Women's VolleyballEmma Jones
This past Saturday the Western Women’s Volleyball team faced off against the Queen’s Golden Gaels in the OUA quarterfinals. The ‘Stangs finished off the regular season a mere two points ahead of the Gaels and came into the game hoping for their ninth straight win.
The home team had a weak start to the first set, dropping the first six points to the Gaels causing Head Coach, Melissa Bartlett, to call an early timeout. The timeout didn’t have the desired effect as Queens came back with an even stronger net game, both offensively and defensively. Western was kept on their heels for the majority of the first set and stuck behind by nearly ten points. Bartlett called another time out at 16-8 in the set this time with a more positive outcome. The girls bettered their blocking game, forcing Queens into more mistakes and into a timeout. The Queens strong defensive game made it seemingly impossible to get the ball on the floor but the mustangs did get within four points of their opponents. The hope of closing the gap quickly faded and the set was dropped to the Gaels 25-19.
The energy and tension in Alumni Hall were palpable coming into the second set. The game was sent into a back and forth battle for the lead which was won by Queens when they obtained a four-point lead. Queens was delivering an all-around strong game while Western was returning a sub-par performance. The purple and white was not showing a consistent game and many of the players were making preventable mistakes. Coming out of another Mustang timeout, the girls got back in it and came within two points forcing Queens into a timeout of their own. The middle of the set was proving to be much like the beginning. The teams entered yet another battle for the lead with neither team allowing the other to move more than one point ahead. The Mustangs showed what they’re made of and won the set with an absolutely amazing block from Kelsey Veltman. The final score of the second set was 25-20.
The girls had finally arrived by the third set and for the first time in the game, started off with the lead. Queens didn’t let them out of their sight, staying right on their tails during the set. Both teams were bruising and battering their bodies to stay in the game, but it was Queens who would pull ahead after a few timeouts. The game was tight and both players and fans alike were feeling the heat. Western kept the pressure on and had Queens scraping for a point and contesting calls but to no avail. The Mustangs were able to keep it together and pull another victory out from under their opponents, finishing the set with a 25-22 score.
The score of the fourth set stayed close but this time with Queens back in the lead. Carly Kimmett was the star of the set, throwing herself all over the court and helping out with aggressive blocks at the net, even almost taking a ball to the face, she was a critical part of this set. The teams spent the entirety of the set within a point of each other and it was anyone’s game. Both were turning out big plays and were playing cohesively. The stands we’re contributing to the tension in the building as a few people were throwing some Queens heckles out during play. A late timeout called by Western after they fall two points behind at 22-20 in the set. Western then stole the match point from Queens after a beautiful block by Brooklyn Bere won the rally. Another timeout was called after Western pulled ahead again putting the game at 25-24. Then to bring things home, Queens sent the ball out of bounds and Western to victory.
The purple and white have now beat out Queens in the playoffs for 3 years in a row and have their ninth straight win under their belts. They will be taking on Ryerson in the OUA semifinals on March 8th.