Volume 93, Issue 78
Thursday, February 17, 2000
Western on the way to West final
"KILLING IN THE NAME OF." The Western's men's volleyball team was "raging against the machine" to get to the OUA West division final and are on their way, after beating Guelph in three sets.
By Chad Thompson
The University of Guelph was shot down Tuesday night by a barrage of spikes coming from Western's men's volleyball team.
Good passing by the Mustang middles in the Ontario University Athletics West division semifinals allowed the team to put the Gryphons away in three straight sets, 25-19, 25-21 and 25-19. With the win, the Mustangs move on to the OUA West finals tonight against the Waterloo Warriors.
Western head coach Joffre Ribout said he was happy with the play of his team, noting they started with less intensity than in their game against Waterloo last Saturday. "They had more control," he said of his players. "They came out focused and in control. Guelph made some mistakes and we were able to capitalize on them."
Ribout added the team had been having strong practices and were prepared for the playoffs. "They have been here before. They played like veterans and were in control the whole match."
Co-captain and right side Craig Rideout said this was a big match. "We were expecting [Guelph] to come out strong and they did. We remained composed," he said.
"We felt in control the entire game. Game two could have gone either way, but we never thought we would lose."
Guelph head coach Doug Dodd said he was also impressed with the play of Western. "They got the points when they needed them. They handled difficult situations well," he said, adding the play of Western's middle surprised him. "They played a lot more middle than we expected."
Western left side Mike Wilson said Western's passing allowed for more kills. "When the passing is doing well, it frees up the middles and gives more one on one situations."
"It's good to get the middles involved," Rideout added. "It frees up the outside hitters. Our team is so deep that when one player goes down, others are able to step up. That's a characteristic of a championship team and a top team in the country."
Ribout said the Mustangs will just do some last minute tinkering in preparation for tonight's match. "We just want to keep the engine running and do some fine-tuning," he said. "We have to focus on our game and be in control [of our play]."
Dodd said although he was pleased with his team's play, the way Western handled the court had a definite impact on him. "They impressed me with their mental toughness and their confidence."
At the end of the match, it was announced that Mustang setter Peter Testa and Wilson had made the OUA all-star first team and libero Stuart Pow and middle Andrew Rajtek had been named to the second team.
As well, Ribout captured OUA coach of the year honours. When asked his feelings about the award, he deflected the credit. "It reflects the team. It's been deserved at this school for a long time. [Former head coach] Dave Preston left me in a great situation. He's been robbed in the past and should have had the award many times."
Western and Waterloo play the first of the best two out of three OUA West final matches tonight in Alumni Hall at 8 p.m.. If the Mustangs win, the OUA championships will be held at Western on Feb. 26.
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