Playoff-bound Western drowns Lakehead 3-0

Team’s top scholars awarded on winning night

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

With a playoff position secured and a well-rested squad on the court, the Western women’s volleyball team (18-1) looked impressive in its 3"0 win against the Lakehead Thunderwolves (2-17) Saturday.

The Mustangs repeatedly capitalized on the visitors’ mental mistakes " mistakes Lakehead bench boss Kathy Clouthier knew would be their undoing.

“We certainly showed we had a weakness in the front row,” Clouthier said. “We’ve known that, but we managed to play good defence.

“When you get up against a team that doesn’t make mistakes, eventually good defence doesn’t beat good offence.”

Lakehead was clearly undersized and constantly on the run against a potent Mustangs attack. The Wolves committed errors on service returns and transitional passes to the setter, and Western won the first set 25-12.

Western roared out of the gate in the second set, going up 5-0 by the first timeout. Lakehead made many mistakes, from bad passes to long sideouts off kills, resulting in more Mustangs points. Western cruised to another 25-12 win.

The third set was the most entertaining, featuring long rallies. Lakehead came alive midway through the set, winning consecutive points off turnovers from a Western team that had substituted its second squad to give its top line a deserved break.

Western’s potent front combined for 36 points off kills and blocks. Though Lakehead appeared to surge, Western rebounded and showed why it’s the team to beat in the Ontario University Athletics West division. Western won the set 25-15, clinching the match and ending its regular season with an 18-1 record.

Assistant coach Dave Edwards wanted to ensure his team took the game seriously.

“We wanted to set goals for ourselves: better coverage on attack balls and knowing exactly what the players were going to do.”

On a night when Western celebrated another postseason berth, it also celebrated the accomplishments of its individual players as top scholars.

Graduating players Melissa Mann, Jenny Hui, Caroline Descours and Julia Hall were honoured for their contributions on and off the court.

Head coach Dean Lowrie said he was proud of the way his athletes juggled their extracurricular and academic time while still excelling on the court.

“When you look at tonight, and all the academic awards that our graduate athletes have received, it shows that we’ve done a good job of being student athletes,” Lowrie said. “The athletic department is especially proud of that distinction.”

Looking ahead to next week’s matchup against the tough Laurier Golden Hawks, Lowrie and Edwards stressed the importance of refining skills and playing the type of game the ’Stangs are accustomed to.

“It’s important that we establish an aggressive service game, like [Saturday], as a way to dictate the type of pace we want the other team to play,” Edwards said.

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