Mustangs gain inspired
By Jeff Dixon
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.