Lions draw Thunderwolves in Ontario University Athletics quarter final

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women_volleyball story imageThe York University Lions women’s volleyball team will kick off the post-season by playing host to the Lakehead Thunderwolves in an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarter-final match on Saturday night (Feb. 16).

The match begins at 6pm at the Tait McKenzie Centre and can also be seen live online at SSN Canada.

The winner of the match will advance to the OUA Final Four Championships beginning next Friday night. As the top seeds in the conference the Lions have earned home court advantage and will host the four-team event if they can knock off Lakehead University.

The Lions come into the match as the most dominant team in the OUA with a sparkling 17-1 record and an unblemished 9-0 mark on home court. The squad’s only loss came against Guelph on the road and otherwise the Lions rolled through the conference. They dropped only 14 sets in 18 matches, the lowest mark in the OUA, recorded 10 straight-sets wins and are currently riding a seven-game winning streak.

The Thunderwolves have also been on a roll as of late. They began the season with a six-game losing streak but picked up their play from there, including a 6-1 record in 2013, to finish with a 9-9 mark, including a big 3-1 win over the nationally-ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees last weekend. In addition to the win over Ottawa, however, the Thunderwolves defeated only two other playoff teams throughout the season, third-seeded Ryerson and seventh-seeded Western, and otherwise earned the rest of their wins against the five teams who missed out on the post-season.

The match promises to feature many exciting offensive plays as the OUA had five players finish the regular season with a point-per-set average above four, and three of them are playing in this contest.

For the host Lions, that player is outside hitter Brandie Wilkerson, who was last year’s OUA leading scorer and this year finished third with 4.21 points per set. She was also fourth in the league in kills per set (3.36) and tied for 17th in blocks per set (0.53).

Lakehead was led by outside hitters Vanessa Chorkawy and Jorie Daymond, who both finished with scoring averages above four. Chorkawy ranks second in the OUA with 4.55 points per set and Daymond was tied for fourth with 4.14 points per set. The two of them have benefitted from the play of setter Sara Hudson, who finished the regular season ranked third in the OUA with 9.10 assists per game.

The Lions also have talented players at the other positions on the court who rank among the leaders in their respective statistical categories.

Middle blocker Michelle Pierce is the OUA’s leading blocker with an average of 0.99 blocks per set and also finished tied for seventh with 3.70 points per set, while rookie libero Carley Flemmer was fifth with 3.77 digs per set and setter Tisha Rouse is sixth with 7.84 assists per set.

The Lions won the only meeting between the two squads this season, a 3-1 season-opening victory on home court. They absolutely dominated the first two sets, winning the first 25-19 and the second in spectacular fashion, by a score of 25-5. They allowed the Thunderwolves back into the match with a 25-20 third-set win, but the Lions took the victory by winning the fourth 25-16.

Tickets for the match can be purchased at the door and York students are free! Ticket prices are $8 for adults and $5 for non-York students and seniors, while children 12 and under are also free.