Hockey, women’s volleyball teams remain in playoff hunt

The end of 2009-2010 Ontario University Athletics regular-season action is approaching quickly and several York University Lions teams are in tight battles for post-season berths. The men’s and women’s hockey teams and women’s volleyball team all took one step closer to securing playoff spots with wins this weekend.

The women’s hockey team remains in third place in the standings thanks to a convincing 3-0 victory over crosstown rivals the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Saturday. Goaltender Sydney McMurter weathered an offensive storm by the Varsity Blues in the first period as the Lions were outshot 11-3 and stayed strong the rest of the way for her second shutout of the season. Kristie Wilson scored a pair of goals and Danielle Beach added the other.

The team suffered a 4-2 defeat to the Blues the following day but it did not affect them in the standings. The Lions are now 14-6-1 on the season and with 29 points, sit one back of the second-place Queen’s Gaels, and two up on fourth-place Guelph. They have six games left to try and eclipse the Gaels, which would give them a bye through the first round of the playoffs.

Ksristina VlcekThe women’s volleyball team is also currently third in the OUA East standings and poised to climb even higher. The Lions are now 8-5 this season and sit two points back of the Queen’s Gaels and four back of the Varsity Blues with a game in hand on both.

This past weekend, the squad went 1-1 with a 3-1 victory over the Windsor Lancers and a 3-0 defeat to the Western Mustangs. Second-year middle/outside hitter Kristina Vlcek (left) was huge for the Lions in both contests, averaging 3.86 points and 2.57 digs per game and adding six service aces, to be named York’s female athlete of the week.

The men’s hockey team played back-to-back games against the Windsor Lancers on Saturday and Sunday with each team winning one game. The Lions picked up the victory in the first contest, winning 3-2 in a shootout thanks to stellar goaltending by No. 2 netminder David Blair (below, right). He made 47 of 49 saves in regulation and stopped all three Lancers in the shootout, earning York’s male athlete of the week honours.

David BlairThe second contest resulted in a 6-3 win for the Lancers. The Lions are now 11-10-1 with six games remaining on the schedule and sit fifth in the West division standings. They are seven points back of fourth-place Laurier and just one point up on Guelph and three on Windsor in the ultra-tight bottom of the standings.

The Lions track & field team was also stellar this weekend, led by female throwers Elizabeth Petrov, Cynthia Appiah and Kristin Obrochta. The three women went one-two-three, respectively, in the shot put event at the Don Wright Team Challenge in London on Saturday and all finished in the top five of the weight throw event. Obrochta claimed the silver medal, Appiah was fourth and Petrov fifth.

Other members of the Lions track & field team were at the University of Toronto for the Fred Foot Memorial meet. Winning gold medals were Kathryn Pistor (3000 metres), Olu Ogunde (60 metres) and Umar Khan (shot put).

Rounding out the weekend were the men’s volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball teams. The men’s volleyball team narrowly lost to the Windsor Lancers 3-2 and then were defeated 3-0 by the league-leading Western Mustangs while the basketball squads were swept by the visiting Ryerson Rams and Toronto Varsity Blues. The men’s team fought hard in both games and lost both by a combined total of just five points.

Submitted by Alyson Fisher, sport & recreation information officer with Sport York