Lion in the trenches
By John Intini
In a time where ego reigns supreme in sport, graduating Mustang volleyballer Colin Shawyer is certainly cut from a different mould.
For four seasons, five-foot-10 dynamo Colin Shawyer has watched Western's big boys take the starting positions on the court night in and night out. However to Shawyer, just cracking the roster and being part of the team was the big thing.
"It has meant a lot to me to know that regardless of my lack of size, I got to play university volleyball," said Shawyer. "It feels good to see that my hard work paid off."
As a defensive specialist and team sparkplug, Shawyer has realized his role from the start, which was to get the team going with a late-game serve and help out with his leadership ability.
Western head coach Dave Preston only had words of praise for his graduating senior, commenting that it was Shawyer's attitude that kept him on the roster over the final three years of school.
"Colin is definitely the best team player that I have ever had the opportunity to coach," Preston said. "He knows his role on the team and knows what to do to get it done."
Shawyer is proud his utility status has made him an important piece of the Mustang puzzle and it led him to his career highlight winning some tournament hardware at McMaster last season.
"Dave put me into the game as a setter even though it was not my regular position," he said. "I ended up having one of the best games of my life and picked up the MVP award."
Colin complimented his coach's ability to turn the Mustang volleyball program around, saying in his first year the level of seriousness and competitive nature was lacking. According to Shawyer, since Preston took over the team in '93, the Mustangs have become a favourite to win their division and have also become a provincial and national threat.
"My first year [under coach Jim Sage] was a lot of fun and we had a great time," he said. "When coach Preston took over he brought to the team a new attitude. We hadn't been to the CIAUs for 19 years and last year he got us there."
Colin attended Oakridge Secondary School with teammate Geoff Miller and noted that his fellow Mustang has been a big part of his success with Western.
"I've had a great time growing up with him on and off the court," he said. "Even though the two of us will be gone after this season the team looks great for the future."
Shawyer, who will graduate with a kinesiology degree this spring, says that a national title would be the icing on his four seasons of cake.
"To win a national title in my last year would just be a dream come true," he said. "It's been a great four years and this would just cap it off."
The Mustangs' playoff race begins next Tuesday at home against the McMaster Marauders.