Volume 94, Issue 75

Tuesday, February 6, 2001


Spikers take first - Women's streak at 8 games

Men's volleyball team drops the ball

Western athletic chair to step down

Hockeytown U.S.A?

Men's volleyball team drops the ball

By Carolynne Weir
Gazette Staff

A nine-match win streak came to a halt Saturday as Western's men's volleyball team fell to the Toronto Varsity Blues.

It was a hard fought battle lasting five long sets, with Toronto coming out on top winning of 14-25, 25-19, 25-17, 18-25, and 15-12.

The first match brought an explosion of Mustang energy as they confidently defeated the Blues in the first set. Western pulled out all the stops with an all around powerful net play and quick defence.

"Western had a solid start to the game, and we didn't want to take such a strong team for granted," said Blues head coach Orest Stanko.

"We had difficulties in execution during the first match. Western was the toughest match from any Ontario team we've seen."

The momentum switched to Toronto's side of the net in the next two matches as the Blues stepped up their play by increasing consistency in blocking, hitting, and defensive positioning.

"We developed good execution, and we've got some sneaky middles that caused some confusion to the [Western] team." Stanko said.

In contrast to the Blues' efforts, Western did not execute their offence and as a result a number of unforced errors were made. "You can't beat a top calibre team and make as many unforced errors as we did," said Western head coach Dave Preston.

The peak of excitement came in the fifth and final match when it was clear that neither team was willing to forfeit the win.

It was 9-6 for the Blues when Preston called a time out. The Mustangs re-entered the court with a burst of energy, taking three consecutive points from the Blues to even the score at 9-9.

"In intense moments like this, small differences in play can make a big change in attitude," Preston said.

Despite powerful serving pressure from Western players setter Peter Testa and offside Luke Schram, it was clear the Mustangs never got into the offensive flow needed to compete Preston noted.

"We came into this game with confidence and the right mentality needed to defeat Toronto," said Western middle Andrew Coles. "We seemed ready to take on such a high ranked [Toronto] team."

The Blues are ranked fifth in the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletics Union standings, and first in the East division. Western is also placed first in their West division. Therefore, it is not unlikely that these two teams will meet again in the Ontario championships.

Blues coach Stanko credited the Mustangs. "Western should win the West easily. We expect to meet up with them again. Nationals should see two very impressive Ontario teams with legitimate aspirations."

All in all it was a solid performance from both sides, one in which could have brought victory to either team, but for the Mustangs it seemed especially disappointing as Preston explained. "We had a lot to gain, and little to lose."

Western's next game is Friday at Alumni Hall against the Laurier Golden Hawks.

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