Volume 95, Issue 78

Wednesday, February 20, 2002
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Western advances to OUA final

Kates making their mark

Sports Briefs

Western advances to OUA final

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff

Even a blown transformer couldn't turn the lights out on the Mustangs volleyball season.

The men's volleyball team advanced to the Ontario University Athletics finals by defeating the University of Windsor in three games in their best-of-three OUA play-off series.

The Mustangs took the first game in London last Thursday, but in a Boston Garden-esque turn of events, a transformer blew before the second match Friday night in Windsor, plunging the gym into darkness.

There were a few options for the Mustangs as far as make-up games go, but when it came down to it, Windsor could not guarantee the match would be played the next day. At that point, Mustang head coach Dave Preston took matters into his own hands.

"That series had to be over within a set period of time," Preston said. With that in mind, he decided to forfeit the match, giving Windsor the win and setting up a winner take-all third match Saturday at Alumni Hall.

"At the time it seemed a very gutsy call on [Preston's] part, but he must have known that his players would be up for the task," said Huub Kemmere, head coach of the Windsor squad.

"It may have seemed like a ballsy move, but it paid off," Western's left side Luke Schram said.

Indeed it did, as the Mustangs came up with a big three set win to clinch the series.

According to Preston, given the circumstances, Western had but one option.

"When you make a decision like that you have only one option and that is to come out firing. If you don't win that game, everybody is going to look at your decision and call you stupid," Preston said.

The coach added that his team's mental strength served them well. "There were a million other ways for that game to go and it didn't. The character of our team showed and we rose to the challenge."

Rhetoric about team efforts is often uttered in sport by coaches and players alike. On this night however, there was no other explanation for Western's showing.

"Everyone played great," Schram said. "No one person stood out, we all had good games. I thought our blocking was phenomenal."

Preston concurred.

"Every single player played great. No one player was outstanding but every player was very, very good."

Kemmere identified a couple keys to Western's surge. "The players on Western have a height advantage, have a lot more experience and – to top it all off – they played a match with hardly any mistakes."

Schram said the Mustangs will be looking to build on their performance against Windsor.

"I think we need to bring the same level of intensity and play to our strengths," he said.

Preston summed up the potential of Queen's in one sentence. "They're number five in the country for a reason."

Nicole D'Cruz/Gazette
FLYING ABOVE THE COMPETITION. Peter Testa raises to the roof in the Mustangs'  victory over the hapless Windsor Lancers.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002