Volume 91, Issue 54

Wednesday, December 3, 1997

Jack Frosh


Simpson stars with small size

By Dan Yurman
Gazette Staff

Some people say good things come in small packages and for proof one needs to look no farther than five-foot-eight Mustang volleyball star Marnie Simpson.

While she does not possess the height some of the other players on the squad have, she is, nonetheless, ranked fifth in scoring in the OUA and is one of the most respected women on the team.

Volleyball coach Dean Lowrie, when asked about Simpson's performance this year, could only offer one word: "outstanding."

He praised her ability to "get kills in a bunch of different ways" and while she is not the tallest player on the court, he was quick to point out how well she jumps – a testament to her ability and determination. What he was most impressed with, though, was her defensive ability.

"She's one of the best defensive players in Canada," he said. "At least, in the top five anyway," which he said is rare for a player of Simpson's height.

However, it's not only Lowrie who has confidence in Simpson's defence. She has tremendous confidence in it as well.

"It's my best attribute," Simpson said. "It's consistent all around."

Simpson, in her third year, is a Waterloo native and according to Lowrie, is definitely one of the quiet leaders on the team. While she is not one to get in the face of the other players, she definitely makes her presence known, which is amazing considering the starting line has five seasoned veterans, three of which are graduating this year.

"I try to be a leader by trying to play well all the time," she said.

It has seemed to work well for her and for the team. Teammate Bridgit Campbell said Simpson's leadership comes from her attitude.

"When she's on the court, she's not super vocal, but she makes everyone feel comfortable, especially the rookies," Campbell said.

Being a first-year player, Campbell said she was nervous stepping onto the court with all the older players, but said Simpson went out of her way to make the rookies feel comfortable.

She has gained the respect of all the players, so much so that Campbell sees Simpson taking over the role of team leader next year, when the older players graduate.

"I love winning," Simpson said. "It's one of the things I like most about volleyball."

Don't let that aggressive edge fool you though. Simpson still remembers what playing varsity volleyball really means.

"The best part about playing varsity sports is the people you meet, you take with you the rest of your life. You're never alone."

Whether Simpson will continue volleyball after university is up in the air. Perhaps one day Marnie Simpson will be representing Canada at the Olympics. For now, though, she is representing Western and no one is complaining.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997