Volume 96, Issue 78
Tuesday, February 18, 2003

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'Stangs stumble, but win

By Ryan Hickman
Gazette Staff

Allen Chen/Gazette
LET US OUT. The women volleyballers took it to Laurier and then proceeded to invent a new dance craze. There's the bad joke I was looking for.

Dean Lowrie's eyebrows leaned in to his fiery eyes when he barked for a time-out in the third set.

The Western women's volleyball team came out of the time-out in the third set on Saturday afternoon and didn't look back while rolling over Wilfrid Laurier University 3-1 (25-23, 14-25, 25-18, 25-11) at Alumni Hall.

"I said don't watch this team go to the semi-finals. Fight for every point," Lowrie, western's head coach, explained, concerning what he told his team during the third set time-out.

The first set was tight, but Western's left side, Lyn Christensen, the country's leading offensive player, pumped home a back-row kill to end the set.

In the second set, a different team came out for Western, and Laurier started to control the flow of play. After going down 16-9 to the Golden Hawks, Western setter Lauren Cosentino was substituted for Sarah Wilson. The switch didn't ignite any change in momentum and the Mustangs' confidence waned. They eventually lost the set 25-14.

Laurier, a substantially smaller team than Western up and down the lineup, came out in the third set with the confidence of the convincing win from the previous set, jumping out to a 14-10 lead before Lowrie called the time-out.

"I think we let them off the hook," said Laurier head coach Dave McIntrye after the match concerning his team letting Western back into the match after looking like they had the momentum in the third set.

"With our small size, we have to be good on the first contact and if we don't, it makes them even taller," McIntrye said.

After the time-out, Western reeled off five straight points, demonstrating the superiority in size and skill they had over Laurier, who did put some trepidation into the Mustangs.

"They put a hint of worry in us," said Western captain Jessica Powell about Laurier during the second set. "But I never felt that we were to going to lose."

Lowrie echoed the sentiments of his captain regarding the perseverance of his veteran leadership.

"With a couple of our vets, I saw it in Lyn and Jess's face that they wouldn't let [us lose]," Lowrie said regarding constant winning swagger of his upper year players when morale dipped for his squad.

The throttling right-armed swing of Western's Lyn "Killer" Christensen started to overwhelm the Golden Hawks, as she drilled laser beams throughout Laurier's side of the court with ease. Western's blocking at the net tightened up with middle Kyla Simpson, Christensen and first-year middle Catherine Nowierski forming a virtual blocking shield.

Western heads to the OUA semi-finals on Friday against York University, a team they struggled with earlier this season.

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