Volume 91, Issue 50

Wednesday, November 26, 1997



Volleyball team drowns Lakers

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
WOULD AN ORDINARY TOY HAVE MECHANICAL CHOP ACTION? The Mustang women's volleyball team are looking to the sky for all the answers this season.

By Jason Valentin

Gazette Staff

The Mustang women's volleyball team stretched their perfect record to 8-0 with two consecutive victories at Western over the weekend against a mismatched Nipissing Lakers team – winning Friday 15-2,15-7,15-2 and Saturday 15-4,15-5,15-3.

The dominant attack by the team through the two contests once again displayed the fact the Mustang women are a league ahead of their OUA west competition, as they did not lose a single set.

Team co-captain Bonnie Matsubayshi was modest when speaking on how the Mustangs must keep focused if they hope to maximize their potential. "Our main weakness may be that we do not play against strong opposition. It is hard to keep our level of competitiveness high. Fortunately we haven't lowered our game."

The consistent domination of the Mustang team so far this season is something Matsubayshi is proud of. "We're happy to this point. We haven't lost a single set yet this year. The competition hasn't been able to match us."

With a lack of strong competition, Western head coach Dean Lowrie has taken advantage of the opportunity to strengthen the depth and future of the team by giving his eight rookies plenty of floor time. "The starters go for about one set before I get the younger players in," he said.

Lowrie sites the integration of rookies into the squad of five veterans as the key to the team's success this year, "Rookies have respect for the veterans and the veterans for the rookies. The rookies know they are good players in their own right."

Bridget Campbell is one the new team members who stood out in both the games over the weekend against Nipissing and throughout the year. "She has fit in well by playing her own game," Lowrie said.

The stigma of the bewildered rookie can not be applied to any of the Mustang first-years. Instead, the rookies have created depth in the Mustang line-up. "Any 13 players can step in. Even with the different line-ups we have done a good job adjusting to the people on the court," Matsubayshi said on the depth of her squad.

With so much attention on the rookies, Lowrie has not ignored the leadership of captains Matsubayshi and Lynn MacDonald. "The two have made the team who we are."

With a comfortable lead and superiority in the Ontario West conference the Mustangs can afford to look ahead to a potential national medal in March, however, Lowrie is cautious in setting his team's goals too high this early in the season. "Our main goal has been Ontario."

Gauged as the sixth best team in Canada in CIAU polls, Lowrie questions the accuracy of the rankings based on the fact they have faced few other teams from outside their division. "We have played really well in our conference outscoring the opposition two to one. It is hard to know how we stack up nationally."

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1997