Volume 91, Issue 77
Tuesday, February 17, 1998
Mustangs look to spike final
OK, WHO SPIKED THE PUNCH? Andrew Brunton [#13 in white jersey] and the mustangs came out a little disoriented on Friday before sobering the Windsor Lancers on Sunday.
By John Intini
With elimination staring the Mustang men's volleyball team in the face late Sunday night in Windsor, the team rallied behind coach Dave Preston's re-vamped starting line-up to force a rubber match tonight in their best-of-three West final playoff with the Lancers.
"Dave [Preston] went with a whole new line-up in Sunday's match to shake things up a bit," Mustang captain Travis Wintjes said. "Thanks to the depth of our team he has the ability to do that."
After suffering a mortal wound at the hands of the Lancers on Friday night at Alumni Hall, losing in four sets, Western found themselves on the brink of elimination from the West division playoffs. The Mustangs, however, were able to reach into their bag of tricks and pull out a win for the second time in under a week.
"They had us on the ropes in the fourth but once again the team showed character, just as we did last week against Guelph in the semis," Wintjes said. "Their crowd was nuts but we zoned them out and played our game."
After Friday's disappointment at home, the Mustangs faced elimination in the fourth set Sunday. Down 14-12, the club rallied for the victory, 15-17, 15-12, 13-15, 16-14, 15-11.
The Mustang half of the court was filled by co-captains and perennial pillars of the Mustang attack, Wintjes and Andrew Brunton, but was noticeably different in the other positions. Stu Pow started as setter while Darren Brownlee, Andrew Coles and Mike Wilson rounded out the six pack. Peter Testa, who has been setting the spiking table all year for the Mustangs, talked about how the team is first priority when it comes to who's out on the floor.
"I wasn't disappointed at all in not getting the call," he said. "Dave put together a team he thought was best for the situation and he was dead-on. The guys played a great match and as long as we get the 'w' I'm happy."
Windsor head coach Huub Kemmere said the key to the second game was not the line-up, but rather the Mustangs' consistent execution late in the game.
"The loss has nothing to do with a new line-up and all to do with execution," Kemmere said. "It was the key for us on Friday and turned out to be the key for them on Sunday."
Although coming into the game with momentum, Testa feels that based on the first two games in this series, the tie-breaker is sure to be a war.
"They played us really tough both games," Testa said. "People get up for games against us based on the reputation of our program.
"We made some unforced errors on Friday but played our game on Sunday. Windsor is tough and they'll be coming at us. Hopefully we'll be ready."
Wintjes also said it will be nice having the hometown fans, commenting on their impact last week in the semifinal match against Guelph.
"It is always nicer to play in your home barn," Wintjes said. "Unfortunately, the crowd can only carry a team so far. It's up to us to win this one and that is exactly what we plan to do."
Game time is 8 p.m. at Alumni Hall.
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