Western steals two in Steeltown
By Josh Webster
HAMILTON The intensity was high at McMaster's Ivor Wynne Complex as Western's volleyball teams visited the Marauders for a doubleheader.
It was business as usual for the women's team, as the Mustangs won their match 3-1 to up their season record to 10-0.
In a comeback-filled match, Western, down 12-7 in the first set, came back to win 15-12. In the second set, Mac, down 6-0, climbed back to within one before losing the set 15-10. The Marauders fought back to win the third set 15-10 and had control of the fourth before a Western surge captured the final set 15-13.
"We have to play in those kind of matches with that kind of intensity to be better," McMaster coach Tim Louks said. "Being number 1 or 2 or 3 wherever you are [in the standings] those are the type of matches you have to expect to play to be a championship team."
There was quite a difference in the strategies of the two coaches. Western coach Dean Lowrie only substituted twice in the match, while his Mac counterpart continuously went to his bench throughout the evening, attempting to change the flow of the game.
"It wasn't pre-planned," Louks commented. "I think Western was never out of control. I think we were out of control a lot and I don't know if they sensed that as well, but there were a lot of unforced errors on our side of the floor.
"In order to try and shake that up, we're looking for someone who is going to bring it."
It was Mac's lack of control which allowed Lowrie the freedom to stick with his starting six for the majority of the game.
"All year long I have tried to show confidence in the people on the floor and let them play through things," Lowrie said. "If they make a couple of mistakes I don't want to sub them right away, I want them to be able to play out of it."
Despite the fact the women are perfect this season, this victory was very significant as Western had not won in Hamilton in over six years.
The men's team also played in a roller-coaster match. After Mac won the first set 15-12, the Mustangs came back to win the second 15-8. The third set resembled more of a marathon, with the lead changing hands many times before Western won 17-15. Finally, in the fourth set, with Western down 10-3, the Mustangs chipped away at Mac's lead to pull off a 16-14 thriller winning the game 3-1 and improving their record to 6-2.
"This victory was absolutely huge," Western coach Dave Preston said. "From where we've come from in the last couple of weeks, to where we need to go, it was a gut check for us and the guys responded really well.
"There was a conscious effort on my part and the part of a lot of the players to liven things up, enjoy the match, enjoy the competition and not put too much pressure on ourselves," Preston added. "We really stuck together tonight."
Both teams will head south to face the Windsor Lancers tonight.