Volume 93, Issue 76
Tuesday, February 15, 2000
Mustangs ride high into the playoffs
GIVE US AN "O." Setter Peter Testa (12) and middle Andrew Rajtek (14) led the crowd in some cheering Saturday as the Western men's volleyball team beat Waterloo in three sets.
By Chad Thompson
The Waterloo Warriors raised the white flag Saturday as the Western men's volleyball team beat them in straight sets, 25-13, 25-13, 25-15.
Led by the play of setter Peter Testa and right side Craig Rideout, Western took the lead in all three games and never let the Warriors adjust to the assault of side-outs and spikes.
Western head coach Joffre Ribout said he was happy with his team's play in the final outing of the season. "This is the kind of game we wanted," he said after the match. "We worked hard for a month and it showed with smoother and crisper play."
Ribout added the Mustangs' focus was not on their opponents, but on the team they know best. "We decided to focus upon our side and play our game. We were decent on Tuesday [doing this] and great today."
Rideout shared his coach's sentiments. "It is something to build on," he said. "It was a team effort, we have to look at it and build on it. We wanted to send [Waterloo] a message."
After a Feb. 4 loss to Wilfrid Laurier University, the Mustangs produced two impressive wins over Waterloo last week. Rideout said the loss to Laurier was an eye-opener for the team. "Sometimes it's good to lose if you learn from it. We know we are not unbeatable, you have to work hard do that and you will be successful."
Testa said he felt this match was the best the Mustangs had played all season. "We can enjoy it and build on it. [Next week] at practice we are back to the grind," he said. "We wanted to send a message not only to our opponents, but ourselves, that the Western Mustangs are for real."
On the other side of the court, Waterloo head coach Doug Haynes said he was disappointed with his team's performance. "We played very poorly," he said. "I have seen Western play a lot of games this year and that is the best Western looked all year."
After two tough losses in one week to Western, Haynes said his team would have to put the defeats behind them. "We have to forget this [loss] and move on."
With the win, the Mustangs finish first in the Ontario University Athletics West division and now have home court advantage throughout the playoffs. Rideout said the team felt confident going into the post season. "Confident is the right word," he said. "We're not cocky, but confident."
Ribout added it's important the Mustangs to continue to concentrate on their own play. "We have to take care of our side of the ball and we'll be okay."
The team's goal at the beginning of the year was to finish first in the division to gain home court advantage, Testa added. "We reached our first goal, now the payoff is [today]."
The Mustangs play in the OUA West semifinals tonight against the Guelph Gryphons. The game is at Alumni Hall at 8 p.m..
Copyright © The Gazette 2000