Volume 93, Issue 72

Tuesday, February 8, 2000


Inspiration leads Mustangs

An impressive victory

Streak remains after close match

Close but no cigar for Western

Streak remains after close match

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
WE CALL THIS A BLOCK. The women's volleyball team stood up to their competition and celebrated the weekend with a close 3-2 victory over the Laurier Golden Hawks.

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

"I refuse to lose to Laurier."

Those were the fighting words uttered by Marnie Simpson, co-captain of Western's top-ranked women's volleyball team, minutes before they stormed into Wilfrid Laurier University Friday night with hopes of maintaining their undefeated record.

But for the third time this year against Laurier, the Mustangs found themselves in a nail-biter playing right down to the wire before a winner could be decided. The two teams played five grueling sets of volleyball which kept fans on the edge of their seats. Western finally pulled out a narrow 3-2 win.

The Mustangs came out strong in the first set, winning by a score of 25-18. However, the roll did not last long and the team found themselves down 2-1 after dropping the second and third sets to the Golden Hawks, 25-20.

Western head coach Dean Lowrie seemed to come unglued in the second set due to an extremely questionable call in favour of the Golden Hawks. The result of a heated debate led to an official warning against Lowrie.

The lapse in composure allowed for Laurier to capitalize offensively, winning two games in a row. "We have a problem with keeping our concentration when we hit a low point like that," said Mustang middle blocker Sonja Janischewski. "We have to work on building ourselves back up once we settle into that kind of a lull."

In the fourth set, the Mustangs rebelled against an emotional Laurier attack which threatened to deliver their first loss of the season. Combating their own mistakes, Western won the fourth set 25-18 and took the game with a final tiebreaker score of 15-11.

Laurier head coach Russ Woloshyn said he was pleased with his team's effort and had nothing but praise for Western's play. "My team did great but we cannot match Western's focus. The better teams win the most important points and that's why Western's undefeated.

When asked what he was thinking on the brink of their first lost of the season, Lowrie said with the amount of volleyball his team has been playing lately, it was becoming tougher to avoid the injury bug, especially after physically demanding matches.

"It's not so important to me that we go undefeated, but that we do well at [the] Ontario [championship]. Right now, taking care of our bodies is so important to us," he said.

The win against the Golden Hawks allowed Western to extend their undefeated streak to 14 games. They are currently tied with McGill University for fifth spot in national Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union rankings.

The Mustangs are in action again tonight when the Waterloo Athenas come to town, looking to put a scratch on Western's untainted record.

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