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Volleyball fans in Thunder Bay wait no longer; the Lakehead women’s team returns to the Thunderdome on Friday in their season opener against the Nipissing Lakers. They’ll follow that on Saturday against the always-impressive York Lions.
Game time is set for 7:00pm, gate at 6:00pm both evenings.
“Entering the first weekend of OUA play is an exciting time for all athletes,” says Lakehead coach Chris Green. “The new season brings new questions and the inevitable excitement of ‘it’s about time!'”
The Thunderwolves, who dropped last season’s matchup in North Bay 3-2, seek to avenge the loss to the Lakers, who clinched the game with a slim 15-12 fifth set victory. Nipissing also got the better of Lakehead just two weeks ago during pre-season play in Hamilton, winning 3-1.
“Nipissing is a team that will battle in the OUA as the top digging squad, easily,” continued Green. “They have a new setter who runs a smooth offence and gives their hitters the ability to swing high and hard every time. A top level libero who assists the setter is our main challenge along with big outside hitters who also pass well.”
Lakehead will seek to counter with left sides Leah Mousseau (freshman) and Jen Casey (5th year), with both on comeback trail from injury last season. Setter Vanessa Masters returns for her 5th season to run the Lakehead offence again and looks to benefit from her experience as a starter last season.
Lakehead fans will also get a look at freshman Catherine Klassen, who brings a strong skill set and a smart attack to the floor on the right side.
“We’ll see how we can slow down Nipissing’s hitters with our block defence,” added Green.
Summarizing the challenge that York presents on Saturday, Green says, “York has had some significant changes this year, but they’re always very athletic.”
“With little to go on, we will have to come up with the plan as the game goes along and rely heavily on our system of play to counter York while we get a feel for their style of play. No doubt, they’ll be high hitting, fast and powerful, thanks to a talented coaching staff.”
Lakehead’s sophmores and seniors will be relied upon to provide stability in the early parts of Saturday’s match to hold the fort while coach Green anticipates making adjustments on the fly.
“All in all a great weekend to open up at home. What more can we ask for. It’s game time and every athlete regardless of their sport loves this time of year!”