Volume 96, Issue 76
Thursday, February 13, 2003

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Contradiction leads Mustangs

By Ryan Hickman
Gazette Staff

Beth Kerim/Gazette
DOWN AND DIRTY, BUT IN A GOOD WAY. Graduating Mustangs Lyn Christensen (11) and Jessica Powell have been slamming the crap out of volleyballs for the past five years.

Opposites attract is usually an aphorism used to describe relationships, but not the leaders of a volleyball team.

Jess Powell and Lyn Christensen represent the old guard on a very young Western women's volleyball team and seem like different players at first glance.

Christensen fires down kills with her right hand; Powell is a southpaw. Christensen is tall and lanky, while Powell is shorter and a little more muscular. Lyn is from out west – Victoria to be exact, but Powell is Ontario-bred. Powell is also the vocal one, while Christensen leads by example. Christensen is married and Powell isn't.

Despite the contradictions, Powell and Christensen have come together to form a tandem that led this year's Mustangs women to a second place finish in the Ontario University Athletics West conference and the prospect of a serious run in the playoffs.

"I think that they stand out as leaders because of the age of our team," said second-year setter Sarah Wilson. "They support us vocally and can back it up on the court with their performance."

Powell and Christensen slips naturally off the tongue, like they should be grizzled partners in a crime drama. Jess Powell, after graduating with a kinesiology degree, is in her first year of teachers college at Althouse College, which, coupled with her demanding volleyball schedule, keeps her very busy. Powell definitely wants to take her volleyball prowess into a coaching role while teaching.

"I love working with kids and sports," said the 5'8" right side, concerning her plans to coach. "Both go hand in hand."

As you might guess, Christensen is taking a completely different life path than Powell, as she is working to become a chartered management accountant with aspirations to run her own business someday.

Christensen, who you might have known as Lyn Turkington last season, came to the Mustangs via the Malaspina College in British Columbia, where she spent two seasons and met her husband Zach, who was on the men's volleyball team.

Powell was cut from the women's team at Western in her first year, after arriving from Courtice High School, just east of Oshawa. Powell spent the summer keeping her game sharp and now, in her fifth year, is the captain of the team.

"Jess is our most consistent player and always puts the ball in play," Christensen said. "She is very vocal and keeps us up and intense. She leads our emotion."

Powell said Christensen has her own way of sparking the team. "Lyn leads by example," Powell said. "She is our go to girl if we want a kill."

Kills are definitely Christensen's weapon of choice on the volleyball court. She leads the Canadian Interuniversity Sport in scoring with 5.20 points per set and unleashes kills more frequently than any other women's volleyball player in Canada at 4.07 bombs a set.

"This team has so much potential," said Powell of the women she'll be leaving behind. "[They] will dominate next year."

Powell might be talking about next year's women's volleyball team, but both herself, and Christensen, have some unfinished business to take care of before they leave.

"I want to go to Nationals this year," Christensen stated sternly.

The Mustangs women get the playoff party started this Saturday against Wilfrid Laurier University at Alumni Hall at 1 p.m..


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