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Volume 90, Issue 70

Wednesday, January 29, 1997



Heading north for the kills

©Sean Burges/Gazette
SPIKING THE PUNCH. Western volleyballer Marnie Simpson has become an integral part of the Mustangs' 10-1 record this season

By Kathy Ens
Gazette Staff

Volleyballer Marnie Simpson made two crucial decisions at the beginning of her university life. The first was to take a trip to Bowling Green State University in Ohio and the second moving to London.

Simpson accepted a full scholarship from Bowling Green for the 1995 volleyball season with a goal to prove she was good enough for the scholarship. She not only proved she was worth the full scholarship, she became the only rookie to make the starting roster on a squad full of graduating players. The team finished third place in the conference.

But the atmosphere at Bowling Green did not appeal to Simpson and she transferred to Western in January of 1996 for her first year of kinesiology.

Simpson liked being close to her hometown of Waterloo and Western's volleyball reputation.

She began training with the Mustangs immediately upon her arrival for the 1997 season but due to the transfer, she had to sit out a year before her eligibility took effect Nov. 18.

Simpson feels she has more freedom with Western's program – there was extra pressure playing in America because she was more or less being paid to play and had to prove she was worth the full scholarship.

The discipline from the coaches at Bowling Green was much more strict than at Western.

"Volleyball was our life down there," Simpson said. "At Western, things are more lenient. As players, we are able to develop our own style. In the states, things had to be done their way, technically."

Western's power hitter enjoys playing with the rest of the women and looks forward to finishing this season. Western has high expectations even though the team suffered its first loss of the season to Windsor on Friday.

"This could be the year Western could take the title," Simpson said.

Teammate Sylvia Colucci complimented Simpson on her play. "She is an amazing girl as well as a powerful and determined player," Colucci said. "Marnie has an amazing sense of the whole court, she knows where to place the ball."

Sylvia is a former high-school rival who played for Windsor while Simpson played for Waterloo Collegiate.

"Playing against Marnie was great but playing on a team with her is even better," Colucci said.

"Marnie Simpson is probably one of, if not the best, at reading the opposition in the country," Mustang coach Dean Lowrie said. With a 44 per cent kill efficiency, Simpson often leads her team in kills. And with the Mustangs poised and ready in first place with a 10-1 record, Simpson and Western have a chance to be the biggest killers in the CIAU this spring.

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1997