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Volume 90, Issue 81

Tuesday, February 18, 1997



Western squad gunning for OWIAA gold

By Kathy Ens
Gazette Staff

The pressure is mounting for Western's women volleyball team this week. If Western wins gold at the Ontario finals this weekend it advances to the CIAU championships.

After an outstanding regular season record of 13-1, the Mustangs have high expectations at the OWIAAs – a gold medal is an attainable ideal.

"We are expecting to win gold this weekend," Mustang coach Dean Lowrie said. "Anything less would be disappointing."

Western will face Queen's, the fourth-place team from the East division, in the first round of play. Its next opponent could possibly be York in the semifinal. Despite the dismal position Queen's finished in, it is not a team to be taken lightly.

"We can't take anything for granted, especially Queen's," Mustang starter Julia Brand said.

"We are definitely capable of winning," Mustang hitter Stephanie Cahill added. "We must concentrate on our first game and take things one day at a time. Everything is ready, now all we have to do is put things together come game day."

Cahill is the only player from the Mustang squad who is not a definite starter for this weekend. She has a pulled abdominal, but should be ready to start for the playoffs.

Skillwise, there is nothing Western cannot do – it is a matter of putting it altogether when it counts.

"We must play well as a team," Brand said. "A quick and steady defence will win us games."

Western's toughest opponents will be Toronto, the defending champions and York, which has won the Ontarios for the last 12 out of 15 years. The Mustangs will not face these opponents until the semis or finals and this is where upsets could be witnessed.

"Anytime Toronto and York don't make it to the finals it is an upset," Lowrie said.

Toronto does have a lack of healthy bodies, without four of its six starters due to injuries. York is out to battle any opponent and look to prove that they are No. 1.

For Western to come home with a gold medal, it must show an improvement from the regular season on its inconsistent serving – a key element for winning games. The team must also stay focused under the pressure.

Western must win the gold to guarantee a spot at the CIAUs in Alberta. If not, a wild card draw (decided by the coaches) could give them a chance making it to CIAUs.

©Sean Burges/Gazette
THE THREE SENIORITAS. Erin Jones (9), Lynn MacDonald (11) and Kim Hefford (6) await their divisional semifinal tonight.

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1997