Volume 92, Issue 78
Tuesday, February 16, 1999
Mustangs block Brown on route to final
© Geoff Robins/Gazette
By John Intini
The Western men's volleyball team slaughtered the Laurier Golden Hawks this weekend proving you can't win a war with only one gun.
The Mustangs won the West division final in convincing fashion, beating up on the Hawks in three games on Friday (15-3, 15-5, 15-8) before winning on the road in a tougher four game match on Saturday (14-16, 15-10, 15-10, 15-10). The two game sweep, in the best of three series, earned the Mustangs a trip to this weekend's Ontario University Athletics final against the Toronto Varsity Blues and a spot at the nationals hosted by Laval University Feb. 26 - 28.
Going into the game the Mustangs knew the key to beating Laurier was shutting down their six-foot-six, 220-pound middle Ryan Brown.
"Dave [Preston, Western head coach] told us that one player can't beat a full team," said Mustang captain Peter Testa. "We keyed in on Brown by double teaming him. We also talked a lot at the net about were he was going. We made him think, which got him off his game."
Western's middle Jeremy Jonckheere, who was one of the Mustangs bestowed with the honour of covering Brown, said his club did a good job containing the Golden Hawk captain.
"We did a great job controlling Ryan," Jonckheere said. "We knew coming in that if we could keep Brown in check the rest of the Laurier team would fall into place."
According to Laurier's head coach Paul Pavan, Brown was able to have some limited success in the middle but the Mustang block was able to shut him down on the outside.
Once Western was able to eliminate the Brown factor, the rest of the Golden Hawks were easy prey for the hungry Mustangs.
Although he would have loved a win, Pavan said he was very pleased with the way his club performed.
"At the beginning of the year just making the playoffs was our goal, so making it to the West final is great for us," he said. "Physically Western is above us and we set some pretty realistic goals coming into the series. We wanted to hit double digits in every game."
While they didn't achieve their double digit goal Friday, Saturday's contest in Waterloo was a better performance for Laurier.
"Dave told me after we put a scare in them," Pavan said. "Simply said, we lost to a better team."
In looking ahead to this weekend's action, the Varsity Blues' greatest strength lies in their outside game, which Jonckheere said will truly test Western's defence.
Both teams will then head to Laval for the CIAU finals where the Mustangs will be looking to improve on last year's sixth place finish. A win in the tournament's first round will assure the club a top four finish.
However, the Mustangs' No. 1 priority is to win this weekend's OUA championship, Testa said an achievement which has eluded Western since 1979. Jonckheere echoed his teammates' desire to beat Toronto, saying a berth in the national championships is not letting the club look past Toronto.
"These guys clobbered us last year and we'll be looking for revenge," Jonckheere said.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999