Crunch time for Rams

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Results this weekend could dictate playoff seedings for women’s volleyball squad

TRURO – There’s absolutely no chance the Dalhousie Rams will be taking their foot off the gas Sunday as they close their ACAA women’s volleyball schedule.

Dalhousie Rams outside hitter Thea McLachlin loads up to smash the ball while Truro’s Sarah Matheson attempts a block during a recent practice at Langille Athletic Centre. The Rams are battling for third spot in the final ACAA women’s volleyball regular season standings this weekend with seeding at the conference championship on the line. Matthew Veno – Truro Daily News

Sure, the Rams know they’re off to the conference championship Feb. 21 to 23 at Mount Allison University, guaranteed one of four berths in the event. But a win against the Saint Anne Dragons at 3 p.m. at Langille Athletic Centre could mean a world of difference for the Rams, who are battling with the Saint John Seawolves (9-7) for third place in the final regular season standings, the only spot left to be decided in the seven-team, conference. The two teams are tied with 18 points before the Rams hosted the second-place Mount Allison Mounties (11-5) Friday. Visit www.trurodaily.com for the result.

“It’s going to be important,” Rams outside Thea McLachlin said. “We want to go into playoffs with confidence and winning that game will, for sure, help with that.”

It could also influence the final regular season standings and dictate who the Rams will meet in the semifinal of the conference championship.

The Rams would much rather finish the season in third as doing so would mean Dalhousie would take on the Mounties in the conference semifinal and avoid the dreaded 1-4 matchup which would see them pitted against the unbeaten Mount St. Vincent Mystics (17-0), who hold the No. 1 seed.

Although they feel they’re capable of beating anyone, the Rams feel they have a better chance to do so against the Mounties.

“We’ve had success against Mount Allison,” McLachlin, a Red Deer, Alta., native in the first year of the animal science program, said. “Even though we haven’t beaten them yet, we know we can and it would be a lot better to make it to the final than to lose in the first round.”

The Rams have yet to record a victory against both the Mounties and Mystics this season, but held the Mystics close in a 3-1 loss Wednesday and pushed the Mounties to five sets on Feb. 2.

“Taking a set off Mount St. Vincent was huge for us and gives us a lot of confidence,” McLachlin said. “We know we can win we just have to put it together at the right time.”

But the Rams know to make their wishes come true, they must first look after business on Sunday and it’ll take determination to come away with a victory against the Dragons.

“We can’t take anything for granted because they’re the kind of team that will fight, they’ll scrap and they’re never out of it,” McLachlin said. “We’ve seen it a lot. They’ve come back against us. We had a six, seven point lead and they’ve come back to keep it within two so we have to stay focused.”

And they’ll need a little help from the Holland College Hurricanes. The Seawolves visit the Hurricanes (1-15) for a pair of matches this weekend, giving them an easier closing to the schedule than the Rams. Should the Rams and Seawolves finish the schedule tied in points, the Seawolves hold the tiebreaker in head-to-head matchups.

“We know we can win Sunday and it’ll make us feel a lot better going into the weekend if we do than going in on a losing note,” McLachlin said.

sports@trurodaily.com

On Twitter: @tdnmatt

STANDINGS

Following is the ACAA women’s volleyball standings before Friday’s matchups. Only the top four teams move on to the conference championship Feb. 21 to 23 at Mount Allison University:

Team                     W     L       Pts

Mount St. Vincent      17     0       34

Mount Allison            11     5       22

Dalhousie AC            9       7       18

Saint John                9       7       18

St. Thomas               6       11     12

Saint Anne                4       12     8

Holland College          1       15     2

 

 

Organizations: Holland College, Mount Allison University, Langille Athletic Centre

Geographic location: Red Deer, Saint John, St. Thomas Saint Anne

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