Runners take bronze at CIAUs
Mustangs spike Golden Hawks
Carrying Canada's hockey hopes
Mustangs spike Golden Hawks
By Ryan Dixon
It is well known throughout the sports world that you can not expect to win all the time. Apparently somebody forgot to send out that memo to the Western women's volleyball team.
The lady Mustangs continued their regular season excellence with a 3-1 victory over a tough Laurier squad Friday night in Waterloo. Western knew keeping their undefeated season intact would be a chore against a Golden Hawks team that was also sporting an unblemished record heading into the match. Mustang head coach, Dean Lowrie, said preparation was the key.
"We've played a lot of matches already and have not really had a lot of training time. This week we finally got in the gym and really got to work on some things," he said.
Lowrie added the team focused not only on what they had to do, but also what they might see from Laurier. "We worked on some of our own stuff and some things we expected to see from Laurier. We watched a lot of video tape."
Western setter, Rachel Loewen, said she was happy with the team's performance, but added there are areas the team could brush up on. Loewen also echoed her coach's comments about the team's preparation paying off.
"There is always room for improvement, but over all I think we did a pretty good job. We watched a lot of game tape and we knew each [Laurier] player's strength," she said.
One of the areas that is clicking for the Mustangs is their blocking. Lowrie said the team's strong blocking is a critical part of success. "Our blocking skills were really good. We stopped a lot of balls at the net which is good because Laurier is a very offensive based team. I think we planted some doubt in their minds and we were able to get a lot of free balls for our team."
Laurier coach, Dave McIntrye, said the Western blocking worked in their favour. "It made for a lack of offence especially from our left side. They really stack it up well."
Lowrie pointed to middles Katherine Kiss and Sonja Janischewski as leading the blocking barrage. Lowrie said he feels Kiss is one of the top blockers in the country.
Lowen was also quick to praise the blocking skills of Kiss. "She blocks everything, it's almost ridiculous at times. A ball will go up and you don't think she has a chance of getting to it and somehow she will get a hand on it."
The regular season dominance of this team is nothing new. Their current undefeated streak is not limited to this season, or last year, or even the year before that. The Mustangs have not come up short in a regular season match since the 1997-98 season. Yet a stake of such magnitude can be a distraction to a team. Lowrie said he can see the effects of the streak on the court. "We've done a good job of parking it in the past but it is starting to become an issue. I think there were times out there [against Laurier] when we were playing not to lose and that is something that didn't happen before," he said.
Lowrie said it is vital the team not lose perspective on what their focus should be. "The streak itself is not really a big deal. It is much more important that we finish first in our division and get home court advantage. We like playing in our own gym."