Volume 91, Issue 63

Wednesday, January 21, 1998

grape vine


Bomb ignites volleyball powerhouse

©Ian Ross/Gazette
IT'S A BONNIE SET-UP. RUN FOR IT GALS. Co-captain Bonnie Matsubayashi has been setting the ball for four seasons as a Mustang and hopes the entire team can smash into the Canadian finals.

By Jason Valentin

Gazette Staff

Bonnie Matsubayashi is a main cog in the Mustang machine this season and is ready to take the Western women to glory.

Matsubayashi, who is reluctant to think about personal goals such as Most Valuable Player honours, is a key to the Mustang success so far this year.

"It's not fair for me to talk about personal goals alone since all my goals rest with the team," she said. "National titles are awarded to teams, not individuals."

'The Bomb,' as her teammates call her, is by far a unique piece to the Mustang puzzle. This season, in fact, marks the return of a two-year absence from the court. During that spell she assisted with coaching duties with current head coach Dean Lowrie, an experience that paid off for the Mustangs starting centre.

"I am older and wiser. The couple of years has helped and has given me a different perspective with which to understand the game," she said.

Lowrie feels her return has not affected the player-coach relationship. "It is a weird situation," he said. "This year is simply a variation. I respect her as a player and do hand some responsibility to her on the court. Needless to say, some things must be left out but our relationship remains good."

In terms of preparing for matches, the Mustang does a number of things to set herself for what the opposition will do.

"I study the hitter I will be up against as a setter and imagine in my mind how to deal with each situation that will face me."

She also takes advantage of scouting and game tapes in order to get ready. So far the methods have been paying off for the 5'7" veteran.

In her fourth year of eligibility, Matsubayashi has emerged as the unspoken hero of a Mustang team that has become a national force. "It's extremely important that she's back," Lowrie said about the key ingredient to this year's title hopes.

Lowrie cites her athletic ability and experience as key. "Her athleticism is important to her success. She plays and excels at so many sports. Her experience allows her to handle situations better."

Matsubayashi takes on some of the leadership abilities as well. "She's one of the leaders and puts expectations on her teammates and herself," Lowrie said.

Matsubayashi is a modest star, saying that Erminia Russo, a former coach at Western, played an integral part in her development.

Lynn MacDonald, captain of the Mustangs, has nothing but praise for Matsubayashi. "She's the quarterback. We have a great relationship and she's friendly to everyone."

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1998