The Ontario University Association men’s volleyball championships will be held in Kingston this weekend, from March 9 to 10.
The final four tournament includes the McMaster Mauraders, Toronto Blues, Windsor Lancers and the host Queen’s Gaels.
“Playing in front of the home crowd is a huge advantage,” said Gaels outside-hitter Zac Hutcheson, a graduate of the Holy Cross Crusaders.
The fourth year engineering student from Kingston expects the Queen’s Athletic Centre to be filled to capacity.
“The crowd helps us get through some tough games and points,” Hutcheson said. “Their enthusiasm is infectious. It’s such a tremendous volleyball environment. There’s no question in my mind they played a huge role in last week’s five-set thriller over Guelph in the OUA quarter-finals.”
The tournament begins on Saturday with the semi-final matches. Windsor goes up against McMaster and Queen’s will play the Toronto Varsity Blues. Games are scheduled for 1 and 3 p.m.
The Gaels are favoured to win. They finished with the best record (16-3) in the OUA this season.
“We’ve lost only one game at home all season long,” said Queen’s setter, Zane Grossinger.
The second year kinesiology student from Richmond Hill says everything has really come together this season.
“It’s our will to do everything for the guy beside us,” Grossinger said. “New coach Gabriel De Groot says its team before anything else and that’s why we’ve done so well this season. We’re a close-knit group that plays for each other. It’s not about the individual, it’s about the team.”
The top two clubs this weekend will earn a berth to the U-sport national championships, March 15-18 at Laval University in Quebec City.
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