The Ottawa Gee-Gees showed the McMaster Marauders why they lead Ontario University Athletics women’s volleyball, taking their match on Saturday (Jan. 19) in straight sets.
Set scores were 25-11, 25-18 and 31-29 as Ottawa improved to 13-1 on the season and solidified its lead atop the conference standings. The loss was McMaster’s second-straight, and dropped the Marauders below .500 to 6-7 in regular season play.
Ottawa’s Karina Krueger-Schwanke led all players with 16.5 points, converting 16 of her 38 hitting attempts with only four errors.
Outside hitter Kierstyn Bakker was the Marauders’ top scorer with 11.5 points and nine kills, while third-year Kailee Stock had a strong performance and converted nine of 26 attempts with only a single error.
Ottawa took an early lead at Monpetit Hall, jumping ahead 8-5 after Lauren Skelly’s attack from the left side was stuffed by a double block. The Gee-Gees enjoyed an 8-1 run to take a 16-6 margin into the technical timeout in the opening set.
The trend continued as the set reached its conclusion with Bakker firing long from the pipe to restore Ottawa’s 10-point lead at 18-8. Errors and miscommunication dogged the Marauders throughout the first, and the Gee-Gees sealed a dominant set by a 25-11 score after a quickly executed strike in the middle.
Mac’s Shannon McRobert took control from the service line early in the second, notching consecutive aces to knot the set at 3-3, before Ottawa’s blockers reasserted themselves to pull the Gee-Gees back into the lead. The hosts rolled into the technical timeout and held another wide lead at 16-9 after a cross-court kill from the right found the floor.
McMaster won four of the next five points to move within four of Ottawa, before Lauren Mastroluisi’s backrow attack found the tape to end the run. The Marauders enjoyed an improved set, and looked to threaten late in the second when Kailee Stock chased a kill with an ace that found the back line. But Ottawa held on and clinched the set 25-18 to take a commanding two-set lead into the third.
The third set began much closer than the previous two, and a strong rotation from Mastroluisi at the service line had the Marauders within two at 10-8. But a string of errors led Ottawa to four consecutive points before McMaster called time to stem the tide. The visitors stayed within striking distance at the technical timeout, and pulled even at 16 with Bakker swinging confidently from the service line.
McMaster took a brief lead, but Kathryn Weir powered the home side ahead yet again with an ace for 20-19. The hosts clung to that advantage in the final points, but Bakker notched a cross-court kill from the left to bring McMaster within a point at 24-23 and Stock found the floor on the opposite side to tie the set.
The teams traded points into the bonus until Kruger-Schwanke ended the set and the match with consecutive kills for the win.