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2014-01-25 at 23:18

Wolves volleyballers keep playoff hopes alive

By Leith Dunick,
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Losing 10 of 11 games isn’t exactly the best way to punch your ticket to the OUA women’s volleyball playoffs.

The Lakehead Thunderwolves are hoping a timely three-set win over the Brock Badgers can help reverse their fate, in a season that started with much promise but quickly spiralled out of control.

The biggest question now is can they carry the confidence they gained with Saturday’s home-court victory, into next week, when they travel to Ottawa Wednesday to take on the No. 2 team in the OUA East.

The Wolves (4-10), who then head to Waterloo for a pair against the cellar-dwelling Warriors, climbed to within two wins of the fourth-place Badgers (6-10), who at the moment occupy the final OUA West playoff berth. 

“I think we’re going to have to do the same things we did tonight and I think we will be able to because we’ve found that connection now,” said Lakehead’s Stephanie Chartrand of the win, which came a night after losing a five-set heartbreaker at the hands of the Badgers.

“I honestly think this is the best game we’ve probably had in years and I think that since we’ve been on that kind of high we’ll keep that going for the next couple of games.”

The difference between the two nights was confidence, said teammate Jasmine Fox, who tied Sarah Reid and Jorie Daymond with 13 kills.

“We really eliminated the runs, not like the past few games,” Fox said. “As soon as we lose a point (lately), it’s like we lose four points and we can’t get out of it. Tonight we showed that we can get out of it.

“That let us get ahead and get good leads to where we’d feel comfortable and when those two, three points we lost in a row (came), we were still ahead.”

Lakehead cruised to an easy win in the opener, dropping the Badgers 25-18, an looked to be running away with the second set before Brock stormed back from eight down to tie it up at 20 points apiece.

But the Wolves righted the ship in time and escaped with a 25-23 win.

It was more of the same in the third set, the two teams trading points back-and-forth, neither side able to build a substantial advantage.

Brock took a 21-20 lead, but a service-line error scored the equalizer for the Thunderwolves (4-10). Fox scored a pair of key points to open up a 23-21 lead and Jennifer Casey closed it with a shot that a diving Brock libero Hayley Orr deflected out of bounds to give Lakehead the 25-22 win.

Lakehead coach Chris Green said the team made an adjustment on its blocking with Sarah Hudson, which combined with an energetic outlook, was the difference, he said.

“What we said today was to come back and execute in the same fashion (as yesterday),” Green said. “Play well, don’t let yourselves down, just go out and continue to do what you did yesterday. It’s nice when you play back-to-back, because on the first night, whatever happens you get a good feel for the second night, so you can make adjustments.

“To me it’s like an NFL game at halftime. Overnight was halftime. The girls came out and made two major adjustments and that was good for us. We chased their libero. The only girl that really hurt us was (Shenise Power).”

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