Volume 94, Issue 75

Tuesday, February 6, 2001


Spikers take first - Women's streak at 8 games

Men's volleyball team drops the ball

Western athletic chair to step down

Hockeytown U.S.A?

Spikers take first - Women's streak at 8 games

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

At centre stage, the Western Mustangs cultivated a nervous energy during their pregame warmup. At stage left, Dean Lowrie was poised and confident on the sidelines. Finally, at stage right, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues hid a bag of tricks up their sleeve.

A battle ensued.

Through five sets of painstaking, fitness-charged, varsity volleyball the opponents entertained and challenged each other until the efforts of the underdog prevailed no longer. The lady Blues sustained their efforts through only four sets, keeping the scores at an even keel of (T-W) 25-16, 19-25, 24-26, 28-26, respectively. In the fifth match, however, they succumbed to the Mustangs, surrendering 5-15.

"I think the game overall was hard for us," said Blues' head coach Kristine Drakich. "There was a couple of really bad calls that could have taken Western right out of the game. It's hard to keep up when you're not getting any breaks."

According to Western assistant coach, Matthew Fung, from the outset the Mustang effort was inhibited by a bad case of nerves. They came out flat in the first set, losing the draw by nine points in the fastest paced set of the game.

"Everyone was just really nervous," said fourth-year outside-hitter Jill Gottschalk. "We were anxious not having played a team this good in a long time."

By the second match, the Mustangs had their blocking systems in place and were working their middle comparatively better than before. The tables were turned as outside hitter Lyn Turnkington stepped up to the net and delivered some of the best hits of the game..

"I would say we executed well," Drakich said. "At the end Western ran their middle well and we weren't able to stop it. Our ball control really broke down."

During the third set both teams showed signs of taking control and fought to a 23-point tie at which Lowrie surprisingly pulled starting middle blocker Sonja Janischewski out of the rotation. Second-year outside hitter Jen Williams entered to serve and enabled her team to take the match.

"We put Jen in just to shake things up a little," Fung said. "Jen is one of our best passers – she brought some energy into the game."

The fourth set of the match allowed Toronto play an odd rendition of survival. At one point the Mustangs were down 12-5. Lowrie looked to his bench to provide some support, entering Gottschalk into the game in what was her first in weeks since suffering an ankle injury. Western fought back, executing an impeccable offencse that rested on the shoulders of some key blocks by middle blocker Katherine Kiss. Up 25-24 near the end, the Mustangs ran out of steam and surrendered the set to the Blues 28-26.

The Blues' final demise came in the fifth set when the Mustang offence gained more than a little momentum, delivering a 15-5 final decision which allowed them to take the game 3-2.

The win extends the Mustangs' winning streak to eight games and gives them a guaranteed first place finish in the Ontario University Athletics West division, along with home court advantage for the division finals on Feb. 17.

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