Volume 94, Issue 83

Wednesday, February 28, 2001


Volleyballers' death by U of T comes quickly

U of T edges Western

Destiny in male ballers' hands

Purple ready to mad-den march

Volleyballers' death by U of T comes quickly

Christine Bryant/Gazette
I KNEW I SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE THAT KRAZY GLUE PROJECT. The Women's volleyball team got stuck with a tough loss at the hands of U of T, ending their OUA hopes.

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

Dean Lowrie's ship has sunk. And he didn't even get to go down with it.

The true leader of Western's women's volleyball squad was noticeably missing from the court during the Mustangs' semi-final loss to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues Friday night.

Head coach Lowrie was barred from coaching his team due to a controversial suspension he received in their last regular season match against the Laurier Golden Hawks.

The Mustangs ended their season with a win against the Golden Hawks and a near perfect record of 17 wins and one loss – though you could say that their playoff run was slightly less so, and a little short-lived.

In contrast to Friday's match, the Mustangs beat the Blues two weeks ago on the very same court, to the tune of five competitive, but sloppy sets. Despite this, Toronto came out strong and stiffed the Mustangs (25-16, 28-30, 21-25, 25-22, 15-12) on their going-for-gold season-long goal.

"I remember their last points," recalled fifth-year starter Sonja Janischewski, who played her final game with the Mustangs Saturday. "I was just like – we can't lose this. When the last ball hit the net, I just didn't know what to do."

U of T head coach, Kristine Drakich, said the final match could have been anybody's game. "It was just a couple of plays that made the difference. It was a great match played on both sides of the court. Western played wonderfully under the circumstances."

"When we're on the court there's not a lot Dean can do anyway," said Mustang captain, Bridgit Campbell. "I think we still could have won."

Janischewski said she was in the same boat. "Dean said to us, 'The coach is supposed to prepare you for this moment, now you guys go do it'," she said. "But he is a part of the team too – we needed him there for motivation and strategy. We just needed him there."

Janischewski, who learned after the game that she is one of four Mustangs named to the OUA All-Star team, was visibly disheartened by the loss. "This year anyone could have taken [a CIAU medal]. This year we were ready to work our asses off. We did work our asses off all season."

Drakich said the difference in her team's play during the Friday match versus the one they lost to the Mustangs just weeks ago, was due to the return of starting setter Kate Bickerton.

"We played a little better defence this weekend and having Bickerton back, we definitely had more options."

Campbell said the match could have been anybody's game. "We always end up coming up against each other in the semifinals – last year we beat out Toronto to win the championship. Skill-wise, the two teams are fairly evenly well-matched."

This past Sunday, the Mustangs came back to beat Guelph in four sets at Alumni Hall and claimed the bronze medal, though it came with the realization that the Mustangs' fabled winning season had come to an end.

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