Dalhousie looking for strong performance in home opener
BIBLE HILL - There's no shortage of motivation for the Dalhousie Rams to win tonight.
Dalhousie Rams offside Brianna Sinclair, left, and outside/middle Fenna van Noort try to block a hit from coach Jamie Naugler Tuesday during practice at Langille Athletic Centre. The Rams take on the Mount St. Vincent Mystics tonight at 7 p.m. in their home opener, which is also their final game before the Christmas break. Matthew Veno - Truro Daily News
Not only is the women's volleyball squad looking to finish its first semester schedule on a positive note, the team is also looking to bounce back from its first losses of the season and make a good impression on the home fans, who get to see their Rams for the first time this season.
Dalhousie takes on the Mount St. Vincent Mystics at 7 p.m. at Langille Athletic Centre.
"We haven't played them this season and it's our home opener, so it's really important to us to show our fans that we're worth coming out to watch and we'll play hard," Rams power Samantha Fanning said. "It'll be an interesting game to watch."
The Rams (4-2) enter the contest in a tie with the Mystics (4-0) at eight points apiece for second spot in the seven-team conference. The Mount Allison Mounties (5-2) sit two points clear in first meaning tonight's winner will grab a share of top spot.
The Mystics are the last undefeated team in the conference and the Rams would like nothing more than to hand them their first setback of the season heading into the break.
"We want to go out on a high note," Fanning, a 20-year-old Truro resident, said. "I think it would put us in a good place and get some momentum going into next semester. It would be really good for us."
Fanning said the key will be having fun. The Rams have been at their best this season when they've been loose and enjoying themselves on the floor. It powered the team into first place - or a share of first - until last weekend's setbacks to the Saint John Seawolves.
"We just go out and have fun," Fanning said. "When we get too uptight and stressed you can tell we're not having fun. As long as we all do our job it works out great for us."
Rams coach Jamie Naugler said that's also what it's going to take for the Rams to achieve their goal of finishing the regular season in the top four, which would earn the team a playoff spot.
"We're competitive with everybody, so we'll cross our fingers," Naugler said. "That's our main goal but it's going to be tough because the teams are much tougher this year. We're much stronger than we were last year but so are the other teams."
Naugler said win or lose, he just wants to see a strong performance from his club tonight.
"We just want to play well and that'll take us into the second semester," he said.
On Twitter: @tdnmatt
2013-14 Dalhousie Rams
Name Pos. Ht. Home Yr/Program
11 Rachel Hughes Setter 5'6 Halifax, NS 2 Pre-Vet
6 Thea McLachlin Outside 5'8 Red Deer, AB 1 An.Sc.
9 Melissa Mammollti Outside 5'4 Toronto, ON 1 An.Sc.
2 Katie McQueen Libero 5' Burlington, ON 1 Pre-Vet
7 Samantha Fanning Power 5'9 Truro, NS 3 IFB
8 Fenna van Noort Outside/Middle 5'8 Utrecht, Netherlands 3 IFB
12 Melanie Wood Middle 5'11 Clyde River, PE 1 Ag. Bus.
1 Jessika MacAskill Libero 5'4 East Hants, NS 4 Aquaculture
4 Brianna Sinclair Offside 5'8 Goshen, NS 4 Ag.Bus.
10 Sarah Matheson Middle 5'9 Truro, NS 3 IFB
Coach: Jamie Naugler
Following is a Dalhousie Rams schedule for the remainder of the season
Today - Mount St. Vincent vs. Dalhousie, 7 p.m.
Jan. 11 - Sainte Anne vs. Dalhousie, 6 p.m.
Jan. 12 - Mount Allison vs. Dalhousie, noon
Jan. 18 - Saint John vs. Dalhousie, 1 p.m.
Jan. 25 - St. Thomas vs. Dalhousie, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 29 - Mount St. Vincent vs. Dalhousie, 6 p.m.
Feb. 1 - Dalhousie vs. St. Thomas, 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 2 - Dalhousie vs. Mount Allison, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 8 - Holland College vs. Dalhousie, 4 p.m.
Feb. 12 - Dalhousie vs. Mount St. Vincent, 7 p.m.
Feb. 14 - Mount Allison vs. Dalhousie, 7 p.m.
Feb. 16 - Sainte Anne vs. Dalhousie, 3 p.m.
Feb. 21 to 23 - ACAA Championship @ Mount Allison
March 5 to 8 - CCAA Championship @ Seneca College, Toronto