Senior players honoured prior to victory over Gaels

Loud crowd attends Jam the Gym, attempts to rattle outside hitter Button

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Jumping high for the volleyball

Shaun Ding

I NEVER THOUGHT MY BALLET TRAINING WOULD HAVE ANY PRACTICAL USE. The Mustangs came from behind to defeat the Queen’s Gaels 3-1 this past Saturday in OUA volleyball action at Alumni Hall.

Before the women’s volleyball game Saturday evening against the Queen’s Gaels, three senior Western players, outside hitters Melissa Mann and Jacqueline Robinson and libero Andrew Ruste, were presented with flowers and praise by volleyball head coach Dean Lowrie.

Although Western won the contest 3-1, Lowrie said the team had a slow start due to the excitement of senior’s night.

“We have been notorious for slow starts all year, but the team had done some work in that area and we felt like that issue was behind us,” he said. “Because Saturday was senior’s night, there were a lot of extra emotions and distractions and it took us a little bit to get settled in.”

The Mustangs fell behind early in the first set. Strong offence by Gaels’ outside hitter Lorna Button and middle Colleen Ogilvie overwhelmed Western and they dropped the first set, 25-21.

The ’Stangs showed signs of life early in the second set. Their defence tightened up dramatically and teamwork improved. That " combined with some key defensive miscues by Queen’s " allowed the Mustangs to take the second set, 25-22.

The third set proved to be a very tight affair between the two teams. With the Mustangs leading 20-16, Queen’s took a timeout and managed to rally back, knotting the score at 22-22 before Western took its first timeout of the set. This proved to be what they needed, as the Mustangs took the third set, 26-24.

The fourth set remained very tight throughout as well, as neither team could consistently take more than a one-point lead until later in the set. After a Queen’s timeout, with the Mustangs leading 21-19, Western asserted its dominance and cruised to a 25-21 victory, winning both the set and the match.

“We’re all very pleased with how we played,” Ruste said. “Some of us are a little under the weather, so we’re definitely happy we came out with the win. We had some miscommunications and obviously we struggled early on, so those are the things we need to improve for next game.”

Gaels head coach Joely Christian-Macfarlene was candid about her team’s performance.

“We came out with a very strong start,” she said. “But unfortunately our inconsistencies hurt us a great deal. You can’t win games if you’re inconsistent.”

A large crowd gathered at Alumni Hall due to the Jam the Gym event, which proved beneficial to Western.

“It’s crazy, I’ve never seen [the gym] this packed before,” Ruste said.

The crowd found their target when Button had a few defensive lapses in the second set. But despite the mistakes and the crowd, Christian-Macfarlene maintained Button is an essential part of the team.

“She’s definitely good for us. She’s only in second year but she’s playing like she’s a senior. She’s a steady player on the court and she’s not easily rattled, not even with the crowd in her ear.”

“I’m shocked,” Button said. “I’ve never been chirped like this before. But I guess it’s kind of flattering being public enemy number one at a rival school.”

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