Volume 96, Issue 75
Thursday, February 12, 2003

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Volleyballers left out in the cold

By Rahim Bharmal
Gazette Staff

Beth Kerim/Gazette
I BELIEVE I CAN FLY, I BELIEVE I CAN KILL THIS BALL. A Western volleballer gives her rendition of the Shine-O Ball-O. The ball was not amused.

This weekend was all Yao and Yeo.

The "Yao" was Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets rookie giant from China who started in his first ever NBA all-star game on Sunday. The "Yeo" represents the Yeowomen from York University, who handily defeated the Western Mustangs women's volleyball team on Saturday afternoon in three straight sets (25-20, 25-17, 25-13) at Alumni Hall.

The Mustangs entered their final regular season game holding a 12-5 record and left side star Lyn Christensen leading the Ontario University Athletics conference with 5.20 points per game.

However, if Super Bowl XXXVII has taught us anything, it's that it doesn't matter how strong your offense is if you're up against a top notch defense.

Many times throughout the game, it seemed the Mustangs would gain a point off an attack, only to have the Yeowomen keep the play alive. The Yeowomen displayed great blocking and their starting libero Bonnie Woo, the Warren Sapp of their defense, was producing more impressive digs than Taye Diggs's parents.

York's head coach Hernan Humana commented on his team's stellar defense. "We're a very consistent team. [We're] able to keep the ball alive, [which] frustrates most teams," he said.

With the win, York, the favourite to win the OUA Championship, finishes their near perfect season atop the OUA with a 16-1 record, while the Mustangs finish 12-6.

Now the Mustangs must focus their attention on the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks, who will be their first round opponent in the playoffs. Western beat Laurier 3-0 back on Nov. 8, before losing 3-1 on Jan. 29.

"We had server-receiving problems, [but] we did a bit of re-focusing [and] they definitely won't beat us [this time]," said Christenson, regarding the loss to Laurier.

With 10 first-year players, Western is considered a very young team. In addition, the Mustangs may be without leading blocker Jameela Lencucha, who has missed the last couple of games due to the passing of her mother.

Mustangs head coach Dean Lowrie commented on what Western will have to do to beat Laurier.

"I think we're a better team than Laurier – we have to come out and execute, and we're going to work on the things we weren't good at today," he said.

Western hosts Laurier on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Alumni Hall.

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