There's tension in the air
By Kathy Ens
Western's women's volleyball team is prepared for a tough and gruelling home game tonight against its inter-division rivals, the Guelph Gryphons. The 7-4 Gryphons are looking to pull off a surprising upset tonight and climb up the OWIAA West ladder.
Guelph finds itself in a do-or-die situation. The Gryphons are currently in fourth position in the West division and with only three games left in their season, they have to win consistently if they hope to make the playoffs.
"Our team expects a good and lengthy match, though we want a win," Guelph coach Linda Garratt said. "We are very eager to beat Western."
Garratt sees Western as more of an offensive-minded team, a contrast to her strong defensive squad.
"Both teams have their pluses and minuses," she said.
Western will have to pay close attention to Guelph's setter, Josephine Ngiau, a small-yet-talented ball handler.
"Josephine knows who to set to and in what situations," Garratt said.
In their last three games against Guelph, Western has come out on top, with an overall record of 11 wins and only one loss. Despite that cushion, Western coach Dean Lowrie feels Guelph is not a team that should be taken lightly.
"Guelph is one of the most underrated teams in Ontario," he said. "They've gotten a lot of big wins in the last two to three weeks."
"Guelph can do some pretty big things against pretty good teams," Mustang captain Lynn MacDonald added. "They're going to be out to get us in this grudge match."
"In order to win we have to play as a team, have the depth from the bench and good offence as well as defence," Mustang Julia Brand said. "We expect them to come on strong."
Guelph is relatively injury-free and will be dressing 12 players for tonight's game. The Mustangs need to prepare to face a fairly deep bench. Meanwhile, Mustang right side Stephany Cahill is expected to start, despite suffering from a bruised abdominal muscle and a sore thumb.
This will also be the first game against Guelph for Marnie Simpson since her U.S. transfer. Ironically, the Gryphons will have their own U.S. transfer, Erica Bowrie, in the lineup for the first time this season.
Tonight's matchup looks to be a preview of the provincial championships later this month. There is little doubt the game will be tense and pressure-packed.
BEFORE THIS DAY IS OVER, Y. M. C. A. . . Mustang Kim Hefford sets up a kill. Ho hum, just another day at the office.