BIBLE HILL - First impressions are always important.
Dal-AC Rams women's volleyball team is looking forward to a strong second half.
So the Dalhousie Rams want to make a positive one on 2014 and get the back end of their ACAA women's volleyball schedule started this weekend on a winning note. The Rams (4-3) host the Ste. Anne Dragons (1-5) Saturday at 6 p.m. before the Mount Allison Mounties (5-2) visit Langille Athletic Centre Sunday at noon.
"It's going to be important," Rams middle and Truro resident Sarah Matheson said. "We ended 2013 not so strong so we want to come out and let everyone know we're back and we're coming after it."
The Rams enter the new year in fourth - with the final playoff berth - in the seven-team conference, just two points behind a log-jam for top spot between the Mount St. Vincent Mystics (5-0), St. Thomas Tommies (5-2) and Mount Allison.
But the Rams closed the first semester on a three-game skid after starting the season 4-0 and dropped their only home match, their final game of 2013, to the Mystics.
The Rams defeated the Dragons 3-1 in their only meeting of the season while Sunday's tilt against Mount Allison will be Dalhousie's first of the campaign. However, the two sides did lock horns in preseason play and battled in a neck-and-neck match.
"All the teams are close so it would be nice to get off to a good start and get some momentum going," Rams coach Jamie Naugler said.
To do that, Matheson said it'll be important for the Rams to be vocal on the floor.
"If we're talking we know where people are on the court and we know how to control the ball better, that's the biggest part," Matheson, a Cobequid Cougars grad, said. "It just makes everyone more aware."
Naugler said it will also be important for his players to be on top of their game in order to be successful.
"Our best players have to be good," he said. "We rely on them and if they're going good then that's how we go."
The Rams are looking forward to the remainder of the season, which will see them play eight of their 11 remaining matches in the friendly confines of Langille Athletic Centre. It's the payoff for playing just once at home in seven games thus far this season.
"We're hoping we can use it as an advantage," Matheson, a third year International Food Business student, said. "We'll have our home fans and people cheering on our side and that gets us more excited to play and do better."
On Twitter: @tdnmatt