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By Jenni Denniston
Size really does matter.
Especially if you're looking to beat the number one ranked men's volleyball team in the Ontario University Athletics West division, as the Windsor Lancers found out on Saturday afternoon.
A high-energy warm-up, followed by flashy player introductions, set the stage for a re-match between the Western Mustangs and Windsor Lancers. When the two teams met earlier in the season, Western won in three straight sets.
Saturday's battle proceeded in similar fashion, and was easily won by the Mustangs (25-19, 25-15, 25-16), who extended their winning streak to nine games.
Western outside-hitter, Mike Wilson, attributed the win to the size advantage his team had over the Lancers. "Their blocker is not much of an issue, but their back court kept them in the game," he said.
When asked what makes the two teams so different, Windsor head coach Hub Kemmere mentioned the four-inch average height advantage Western had over the Lancers.
Going into Saturday's match, the home team didn't know what to expect, said Western head coach Dave Preston. "Windsor had good outside hitting, and they gave us a lot of expected offence.
"We had most of their line up, the only change they threw at us was libero defenceman Stephen Robertson he usually plays left-side hitter."
Kemmere said his squad was expecting a good competition from the Mustangs from the outset.
"We heard they were playing really well, and we knew that we were going to have to have a really good day, and they were going to have to have a really bad one for us to beat them."
After all was said and done, Western came out of the match with a 68 per cent error rate, meaning the Lancer's scored most of their points due to Western's errors.
However, both teams played with similar strength in the early part of the first two sets. Windsor kept the score close until midway through each set, but the Mustangs were able to pull away for the win in both cases.
"I think they figure out what's going on and they put the dagger in you around the 10 point mark," Kemmere said. "I have to give a lot of credit to Dave for knowing how to do that."
In the third set, Western came out strong, and continued to dominate. "We were ready to come out strong in the third set, but for some reason, we just didn't play well," Kemmere said. "I thought I could at least give everyone a chance to play."
Unlike the Mustang squad, "A lot of Windsor is new, and that makes a huge difference," Wilson said. "Most of us have been together for four years, some of the guys even longer."
Overall, the only persistent errors made by both teams were serves not getting over the net. But according to Wilson this is due to regulation changes.
"It's because of the rule changes. Guys try to wail on the serve because it still counts if it skims the top of the net."