Golden Gaels hope to dig up playoff win
By Justin Klein
The Western Mustang women's volleyball team have accomplished their number one goal of the season they have made it to the playoffs. Now the team will attempt to reach greater heights by defeating the fourth-ranked Queen's Golden Gaels in the first round of the Ontario University Athletic finals.
No one in the Ontario West division posed a challenge to the Mustangs, who finished with a perfect 14-0 record. Now that it's playoff time, Western will be matched up against teams outside of the division beginning with the Golden Gaels.
"We don't know what to expect," five-year Mustang veteran and provincial all-star Bonnie Matsubayashi comments. "If we play well on our side and only worry about our side, we should do well."
Western will field a healthy squad, except for rookie Shannon Watson who will be replaced by fellow rookie Bridget Campbell.
"We are looking forward to playing Queen's," head coach Dean Lowrie comments. "We will watch the videos and I have confidence in our players to play well."
Western will also be looking towards Lynn MacDonald, the fifth-year captain, for the usual power and finesse she brings to the team. MacDonald, along with Sonja Janischewski, control the momentum of the game at the middle positions. The team will be counting on MacDonald for motivation and leadership as well, Matsubayashi said.
"Lynn is a great leader and a great player," she said. "Players really look up to her and expect her to come through on key points."
As for Western's opposition, Queen's finished fourth in the Ontario East division with a 5-7 record. Matsubayashi said the Golden Gaels forté is their ability to dig the ball, but their offence is less than spectacular.
"Queen's will focus on digging up our balls and thus taking a defensive role," she said. "Their offence isn't that great, so I hope Lynn and Marnie [Simpson] can come through if things are tight."
Western also faced Queen's last year in the playoffs, in what proved to be a relatively easy 3-0 win.
Golden Gael head coach Lisa Eyles however, has total confidence in her team's ability to compete with the Mustangs.
"It will be a challenge, but we are not worried about their 14-0 record," Eyles said. "We are the underdogs and we will play for the upset."
This quarter final game will take place tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. in Alumni Hall.