November 12, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 41  

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SPORTS

Western women best Lakehead in straight sets

By Josh Logan
Gazette Writer

Katie Millar/Gazette
YOU GO AHEAD AND BUMP — WE’LL JUST WATCH. A Western women’s volleyball player bumps the ball as her team looks on during Saturday night’s match against Lakehead. The Mustangs blanked the Thunderwolves in three straight sets and stand atop the OUA west division.

Lecherous teenagers with too much time on their hands aren't the only ones with sore wrists anymore.

Paul Mensick is probably still icing his hand from last Saturday night, when the Western Mustangs took on the Lakehead Thunderwolves in women's volleyball action at Alumni Hall. Mensick, the official scorer for the match, needed to keep his pencil within close reach as Mustangs' head coach Dean Lowrie used every single player listed on the Mustangs' roster.

The Mustangs, who have had a very successful campaign so far this season with a 4-1 record, headed into Saturday's match atop the Ontario University Athletics West Division. With a record of 0-3, the winless Thunderwolves came into the match-up looking to steal one from them and revive their team's hope of getting back into playoff contention.

However, it was the Mustangs who struck early and often as they jumped out to a 20-11 lead in the first set. The advantage came as a result of second-year setter Lauren Cosentino running a well-balanced attack on the outside and through the middle. Lakehead closed the gap to 22-17, but on the ensuing play, rookie sensation Melissa Mann sealed it for the Mustangs on a crushing cross-court shot to cap the first set victory by a score of 25-18.

The next two sets were a true testament to the depth of Lowrie's team as he substituted numerous players into the game at all positions. Rookie April Gilanders helped contribute to the Mustangs' success with seven kills on eight attempts and sophomore Sarah Alger chipped in with five kills from the left side. The team cruised to 25-15 and 25-12 victories in sets two and three for a three-set skunking of the Thunderwolves, sending the young and inexperienced Lakehead squad packing.

"We went into today's match knowing very little about Lakehead, but we went in with the goal of focusing on our side of the net," Lowrie said, following the convincing win. "We used a lot of substitutions and we're blessed that we can compete with each other in practice everyday." Middle player Kyla Simpson of the Mustangs was used to dressing in the turquoise and yellow Thunderwolves uniform when she played for Lakehead three years ago. Simpson decided to transfer to Western and after last year's success and Saturday's victory with the Mustangs, she was all smiles after the game.

"Today really enabled us to give everyone a chance to play and work hard on the court," said the former Thunderwolves player. "Each person on the score sheet played and that really gives us the confidence that we have a lot of depth, either in the playoffs or if we ever run into injury problems," Simpson added.

The Mustangs don't play again until Nov. 26, when they square off against the Windsor Lancers. In the meantime, they'll be back to basics in the practice gym with hopes of continuing to improve as one of the youngest and most exciting teams in the league.

 

 

 

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