Volume 92, Issue 51

Thursday, December 3, 1998

shifting alignment


SPORTS
 

Opponents killed by the hand of Jonckheere


Geoff Robins/Gazette
IT'S GREAT WHEN YOU CAN DO THIS ON YOUR TIPPY TOES. Mustang middle, 6-foot-7 Jeremy Jonckheer has been a dominating force so far this season on the court, leading the Ontario West in blocks.

By Justin Klein

Gazette Staff

When former Mustang middle Rob Mizak finished his studies at Western, big shoes were left to be filled.

Dave Preston, head coach for the Mustangs, was not worried about the loss of this great player, however, because he knew he had the perfect substitute. The only problem was the possibility this solid middle would decide to take his talents over the border and play for Stanford University. Fortunately for Western, Jeremy Jonckheere had faith in the Western volleyball program and decided to continue to play for the coach who had allowed him to prosper in his early career.

"My teammates from the provincial team and I all decided to come to Western," said the 1997/98 Ontario University Athletics rookie of the year. "Dave has been my coach for years. He is the type of coach that can get me where I want to be – whether it be the nationals or playing professional volleyball in Europe."

Jonckheere was born and raised on London soil. He started his volleyball career in grade 7 and has only seen success on the roads he has travelled. Jonckheere's first major step in his career was playing for the under 19 provincial team.

Jonckheere said he enjoyed the experience of playing on the national level and decided to continue to play for Canada during his young career. In 1995, he was an alternate player on the under-19 provincial team which captured the national title that year. The following two seasons, Jonckheere led the same team – on the court this time – to a gold and bronze medal respectively.

Today, Jonckheere leads the OUA West in blocks and is in the top five for blocking in Canada. This season, Jonckheere has teamed up with fellow Mustang Andrew Coles to compose one of the most feared middles in the league.

"J.J. is half of the best middle combination in Western Ontario," said starting right forward Jeff Ranson. "He is a phenomenal blocker and teams really get intimidated by his physical presence."

Jonckheere is not only an asset defensively, but he is also an important component of Western's unstoppable offence. Against Guelph University, Jonckheere not only led the team in blocks but also led in offence with 18 kills.

"Jonckheere practices hard, day in and day out," said Western interm head coach Joffer Ribout. "I am especially happy with his offensive contribution because when he is leading the team offensively, you know he is right on."

The volleyball sophomore contributed much of his success to the great chemistry on the team.

"I love the guys at Western," Jonckheere said. "One of the biggest strengths of the team overall is the compatibility of all the players on the floor. We all understand each other and feel comfortable with one another."


To Contact The Sports Department: gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998