Volume 96, Issue 73
Friday, February 7, 2003

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Mustangs gain inspired victory

By Jeff Dixon
Gazette Writer

Ian Howes/Gazette
CALM DOWN, THERE'S NOTHING TO SEE HERE, I HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL. Kyla Simpson protects the net against incoming volleyballs - or asteroids - take your pick.

If you think the only place to see balls spiked hard is in a Jackass movie, you surely haven't seen the Western Mustangs women's volleyball team play.

The 11-5 Mustangs came into Wednesday night's game at Alumni Hall in second place in the Ontario University Athletics West division after a huge win over the University of Guelph this past weekend, and looked to take that determination to the court again, this time against a strong McMaster University Marauders team.

Attempting to even the season series, Mac came out looking like an offensive powerhouse and took the first set 26-24. But the Mustangs, showing no signs of being intimidated, came back and took the next two sets and eventually the match in a five set nail-biter.

"We fought through it. We missed some key points, but we were able to tough it out," said Dean Lowrie, a relieved Western head coach. "We have a young roller coaster team. I think they are learning that they have to play hard consistently in order to compete in this league."

McMaster didn't give the Mustangs an easy ride and both coaches agreed that with the tenacity of both teams displayed, either squad could have walked away with a win. With McMaster having already fallen to Western attack earlier in the season, Mac head coach Tim Louks commented how his team prepared to face a team of Western's calibre.

"In order to be ready for a team that blocks so well, you need to make sure you have enough shots to dominate the game," said a frustrated Louks. "We fought with a lot of effort and what we needed to control we didn't. Give Western all the credit in the world: when they pass well, they are a tough team to beat."

With all the success the lady Mustangs have enjoyed this season, the team has had to deal with something that Lowrie believes, "girls at this age haven't really dealt with in life."

With the passing of Avra Teplitsky, mother of second-year Mustang Jameela Lencucha, the team has had to deal with both the loss of an energetic fan and the absence of a tenacious blocker.

"We've had to regroup as a team and it's made everyone reflect on what's important in life," said Lyn Christensen, this year's leading scorer in the OUA. "She's a great player and a team leader and we do miss her."

Although the team has experienced more than their fare share of adversity, they haven't shown any evidence of it as they cruise into this weekend with their final game against York University this Saturday.

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