Volume 94, Issue 83

Wednesday, February 28, 2001


Volleyballers' death by U of T comes quickly

U of T edges Western

Destiny in male ballers' hands

Purple ready to mad-den march

U of T edges Western

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff

Some losses are tougher to take than others.

The Western men's volleyball team took it on the chin against the University of Toronto, dropping a four set match to the Varsity Blues in the Ontario University Athletics final this past weekend.

Despite the loss, since the top two teams from Ontario advance, the Mustangs will be making the pilgrimage to Laval, Quebec for the Canadian championships.

When evaluating the reasons for his teams loss against Toronto, Western head coach Dave Preston said he had no doubts what cost his club the game.

"Our errors," he said. "We didn't play very well in the beginning. We got it together for the third set and squeaked it out, but by that time we had dug ourselves too deep of a hole."

Preston said many of the errors the Mustangs made were unforced. Balls floating wide and into the net were a common occurrence in this match.

"We made a lot of hitting errors, we were hitting balls out of bounds, hitting balls into the net. We didn't serve that poorly, but we are a risk/reward serving team and without taking any risks on our serves, we never put Toronto in trouble," Preston said.

Western Lebaro Chris Gruhn said he agreed with his coach's assessment, stating the Mustangs really shot themselves in the foot with their errors.

"We definitely made a lot of mistakes which is uncharacteristic for our team, we usually don't do that. I think we were putting too much pressure on ourselves and I think there were some nerves involved," he said.

Gruhn said that even though the Mustangs did not get the result they wanted, they could still pull some positives out of the game.

"I think the fact we came back and took the third set showed some character and is at least somewhat of a bright spot," he said.

As Western gets set to take on the rest of the country Gruhn said they will be making sure not only their bodies, but their minds are ready.

"We've talked, not so much about physical preparation, but mental preparation. Again, we don't want to put too much pressure on ourselves. The pressure is on the number one seed [The University of Manitoba] so I think if we just play our game, we could have some good results," he said.

Manitoba's head coach, Garth Pischke, said his squad will be heading into the tournament blind to the competition from Ontario. "We haven't had a chance to see Western, and that's a little disappointing. Western and the U of T are the only teams we haven't seen," he said.

The tournament kicks off this Friday in Laval.

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