Volume 92, Issue 50

Wednesday, December 2, 1998

raw deal


Spikers keep digging up wins to stay undefeated

Geoff Robins/Gazette

Gazette Staff

The Western Mustang men's volleyball team wanted to finish the first half of their season on a positive note. Unfortunately for Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks, Western did just that and improved their record to a perfect 6-0.

Western's goal coming into the game was to dominate their opponents from the opening whistle.

Peter Testa, Western's six-foot-three setter, started the first game onslaught by giving left-side Craig Ridout and right-side Jeff Ranson perfect sets which turned into Western points. Before Laurier knew it, the Mustangs were leading 10-1. Great blocking by middle Jeremy Jonckheer and unstoppable spiking by left-side Mike Wilson diminished all hopes of a Laurier comeback, allowing Western to cruise to a 15-2 victory.

"In the first game, we followed the Windsor match by not allowing our opponents to catch fire," said Mustang intern head coach Joffer Ribout. "We dominated them and kept them out of it."

After a humiliating first game, Laurier's head coach Paul Pavan decided to change up the game plan. He said he wanted his six-foot-six power forward, Ryan Brown, to take a more leading role. Things turned around immediately for Laurier, as Western was unable to block Brown. Western seemed helpless in the second game, as Laurier won 15-3.

"Brown is the man," Pavan said. "If he doesn't do the job, then we are in trouble."

Brown continued to lead the Laurier offence in an unstoppable manner and was able to take an early 6-2 lead in the third game. Western needed to find a way to stop Brown from humiliating them defensively and they looked to Wilson to help turn around the team. He accepted the challenge and responded by blocking Brown on a critical 6-6 point. After the huge block, Western was back on track, taking a 14-8 lead.

Laurier refused to give up the crucial third game and managed to cut the lead down to 14-13. However, Laurier was not able to block Ridout on the last point of the game and Western was able to scrape by with a 15-13 victory.

"Wilson is the oldest player on the team," the hard-hitting Ranson said. "He contributes a lot of knowledge and is really a strong fundamental player. At times we were inconsistent and he helped steady the team."

Western did not look back from that point on. Jonckheer and middle Andrew Coles were able to silence Brown in the fourth and final game. Each player on the team was able to contribute offensively, as Laurier's defence couldn't tame Western's attack. Western won the final game 15-8.

"Both their middle blockers did a good job in the final games," Pavan said. "Right now Brown has to get in better shape. We set him so much that by the fourth game he was too fatigued and Western was able to capitalize."

Western's 6-0 record places them at No. 1 in the league, comfortably ahead of both the Guelph Gryphons and Waterloo Warriors in the West division, remaining the only unbeaten team in Ontario along with Toronto.

Their next game is Dec. 2 at home, when they take on the McMaster Marauders in their last game before the Christmas break.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998