Lady Hawks look to improve position

John
John Browne
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Take on Cape Breton tonight, Sunday at the Field House

The Memorial Sea-Hawks women’s vollyeball team finishes the regular season at home this weekend with a pair of Atlantic University Sport (AUS) games against Cape Breton University at the Field House with playoff position implications.

Game times are seven o’clock tonight and 10 a.m. Sunday.

“CBU is a young team and have struggled this year, but they’ve played much better of late,” said MUN coach Bill Thistle. “I expect that they will want to play hard and win a match before season’s end, so it will be a tough set of matches for us to play.”

The Sea-Hawks are currently in a battle with University of Moncton Blue Eagles, Acadia Axewomen and University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds for the three-to-six playoffs positions which will be determined this weekend.

Moncton and UNB have five wins, while Acadia and MUN have four. If MUN wins this weekend the Sea-Hawks will finish at 6-6 in AUS play and hold tie breakers with Acadia and UNB, but not Moncton.

“We’ve played some great volleyball since Christmas, and I’ve been only disappointed in our play in one match — a 3-2 loss to UNB last Sunday,” said Thistle. “We didn’t come to play in that game, and we let one get away against a team that we dominated the night before.”

In the meantime, Thistle noted, injuries are a major factor and Memorial doesn’t have much depth this year, “so I am forced to leave players in games when they need time off the court to reset.

“Against UNB last weekend, we had one position sub, Kayla Butler, and she was forced to play middle when Adrienne Penney rolled her ankle. Kayla, a right side player, has not trained or played middle.”

Despite the team’s record, Thistle maintains the Sea-Hawks have a real chance to win the AUS, “if we play well.

“We are clearly not favorites as Dalhousie and SMU are the top two teams, but we compete well against both teams. We played them back to back in early January and outplayed both teams for long stretches. We lost three close sets to them in their gyms and I believe we would have won at least two of those matches if we were playing in our own gym. We will pose a very difficult match-up for any team in the playoffs. I feel this is our best team in the last three years.

“Our middles have been very strong on the block and in their attack. Angela (Peddle) is in the top 10 in blocks, kills and points per set. And Adrienne (Penney) is among the leaders in blocks per set. Our setting has been excellent and Kirsten Sorensen is amongst the leaders in assists and service aces.”

The coach said Gill Ricketts has been bothered by a back injury and missed the UNB series last weekend, but is back training again.

“We are a much better team when Gill is healthy,” he said.

The games mark the final home games for all-stars Sam March and Peddle as well as graduating Penney (middle) and libero Samantha Jubinville-Mah.

These are also the final two regular season games for Thistle as head coach of the Sea-Hawks.

“I expect to continue to prepare the team over the spring and summer, and then I’ll hand off to the new coach,” he said.

jbrowne@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Sea-Hawks, Field House, University of Moncton Blue Eagles Acadia Axewomen and University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds

Geographic location: Moncton, Cape Breton

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