Volume 92, Issue 81
Wednesday, March 3, 1999
Mustangs bumped to bronze medal
By Chad Thompson
The Mustang women's volleyball team's hopes for a perfect season ran into the University of Toronto Varsity Blues this past weekend at the Ontario University Athletics championship in Ottawa.
Western lost to Toronto in the semifinal (15-11, 10-15, 15-6, 15-6).
"The team was really tight," Lowrie said. "Everyone struggled to get relaxed for the game. Nerves got the better of us."
Kristine Drakich, head coach of Toronto who eventually went on to win the championships, said although she was surprised by Western's play, her team's passing and its small number of unforced errors made the difference.
Mustang right-side player Jill Gottschalk said the defeat was a big disappointment for the club which had expected to make it to the CIAU finals and had even played a number of games against Western schools in preparation for this year's nationals.
"We pretty much assumed we were going to make it and U of T just played us better than we expected," Gottschalk said. "They got a lot of kills on our blocks and dug everything. We didn't seem ready.
"It was like we thought they were going to give it to us."
Western had beaten U of T in both previous meetings this year.
Although Western did not reach their objective of winning the OUA championship, they did not go away from the tournament empty-handed, beating the Ottawa Gee Gees for the bronze medal (6-15, 15-6, 15-5, 15-8).
"They played a good game," said Ottawa head coach Lionel Woods. "Their heads were down for not playing for the gold but they came back and played a good match."
Ottawa was the surprise of the tournament as they were not expected to make it to the quarter-finals. Woods felt his team matched up well against the strong Western team.
"No one expected us to win," Woods said. "We played a very powerful team. Western is a good representative for the bronze medal."
The single weekend tournament style of the championship did not effect the outcome, Lowrie said.
"We have always played that format," he said. "Every team has to play a similar format so it did not have a great effect on our play."
With high expectations for the tournament, Lowrie said his team is disappointed but can look at some positives, most notably taking home the bronze.
More than 1,200 fans took in the weekend action.
"The tournament was a huge boost for women's volleyball," Woods said. "It was a successful job by all the people who helped out and the calibre of the teams in the tournament was terrific."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999