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Volume 91, Issue 44

Friday, November 14, 1997

calling wood


Mustangs survive the Badgers' bite

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
WE DON'T WANT NO STINKING BADGERS. Darren Browlee [6] and the rest of the Western crew didn't play nice with their furry friends on Wednesday night and almost needed to go for rabies shots after beating the Brock Badgers 3-1.

By Jason Valentin

Gazette Staff

The eighth-ranked and undefeated Western men's volleyball team got a little more than expected in Wednesday's triumph over the Brock Badgers at Alumni Hall.

The 4-0 Mustangs struggled against a winless Brock squad that stunned a partisan crowd by winning the first set 15-13, before the Mustangs took control of the next three games, winning 15-10, 15-12, 15-5.

Intense pressure early on by the Mustangs was negated by numerous unforced errors. Early in the first set, Mustang co-captain Travis Wintjes had to leave the game with an ankle injury, not returning until the end of the second set. The Badgers quickly went on an 8-0 run, winning the first set.

Dejected Brock head coach, Vaughan McMillan, was disappointed by losing a match he felt Brock could have won. "We gave the match away and were inconsistent," he said.

Western head coach Dave Preston was cautious in his praise for the Mustang performance. He said the tone of the match was set on the very first play of the game.

"We committed an unforced error," he said. "That became the norm during the match for us and is exactly what we've been trying to avoid."

Wintjes was surprised by the performance of Brock but felt the game was closer than it should have been.

"The game was not what we expected," he said. "We knew they would play hard against us but we kept making unforced errors to keep them in the game."

To Wintjes, the game marked a continuation of the disappointing officiating that has been characteristic of CIAU volleyball this season. He said the officiating was, "expected, yet surprising." The missed calls led to frustration on both sides of the court, eventually leading to a yellow-card given to Badger Robert Fernley for his protest of referee decisions.

Wintjes was the key to success for Western in this match due to his guidance of the four rookies inserted into the lineup for the majority of the game.

"The rookies will be key in the future," Preston said. "A lot of our errors were rookie errors but Wintjes and our veterans showed the leadership necessary to pull us through."

Preston was clearly unhappy with the closeness of the match, saying the Mustangs will use the contest as a wake-up call as they prepare for their final games of the season.

"We give other teams too many opportunities," he said. "We want to be the aggressor."

The sentiments were echoed by Wintjes who is optimistic about Western's run at a national title.

"We have too much heart and talent. The game should never have been as close," Wintjes said. "If we play the way we can there is no way any team should score double digits against us".

Andrew Brunton sat out to nurse an injury while the ankle injury to Wintjes is not expected to cause future problems. Peter Testa played brilliantly to replace Wintjes after he was out of the match.

Western is at home tonight against Guelph beginning at 8 p.m..

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997