Volume 95, Issue 59

Thursday, January 17, 2002
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Minor stumble - no real trouble

Time to fill the house

Minor stumble - no real trouble

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff

There was no trash talking or chest thumping, but the Western men's volleyball team did some serious taunting in their match against Guelph Tuesday night.

The Mustangs let Guelph think they were going to catch them sleeping, as Guelph jumped out to an early 21-14 lead in the first set.

Just as quickly as Western dangled the carrot in front of the Gryphons, they yanked it away and never looked back en route to a 3-0 straight sets win.

Western head coach Dave Preston explained the shaky start by suggesting the Mustangs were guilty of studying a little too hard.

"I think we overprepared for this match. We're starting to take our preparation to another level in light of playoffs. Learning how to prepare for a match is a skill in itself," Preston said.

"In the first two-thirds of the first set, we were really consumed by the game plan as opposed to playing the game plan," Preston added.

At that point, the Mustangs needed someone to step up and deliver.

Cue Luke Schram and his 6' 5" blocking frame.

"[Schram] made three or four key blocks when we were down and that got contagious. We had a lot of momentum on our side at that point," Preston said.

As good as Schram was, Preston said it was another Mustang that was the main workhorse that night. "Clearly, the player of the game in my mind was [outside] Pete Sidler," he said. "He was outstanding tonight and that's what we need to see."

Western setter Peter Testa had a very simplistic explanation for what stemmed the tide in the team's first set. "Once we decided to play, we played," Testa said.

The Western onslaught was not something entirely unexpected from Guelph.

Gryphons head coach Doug Dodd said he warned his team about Western's tendency to battle back. "One of the things we talked about before the game was Western is big and they've done that to other teams," he said.

Dodd said the experience of Western is a key to their ability to bounce back from adversity.

Despite the straight set win, the Mustangs still have some adjustments to make. "Our offense, especially our left side [needs to be improved]," Preston said. "We've got to get [Schram] a little more involved and make sure he's a constant threat. Our middle was pretty good tonight, so we're running on about three-fifths of our offence."

Testa said getting the offence firing on all cylinders will not be accomplished with one simple step.

"I don't think there is one key," he said. "I think the passing needs to be there, my setting needs to be there, the hitting has to be there and an all-around energy."

He then added, "it's just a whole bunch of little parts we need to put together. Every piece is very important, so we're just chipping away trying to get going."

Christine Bryant/Gazette
PETER WAS SO GOOD AT VOLLEYBALL, HE COULD PLAY IT IN HIS SLEEP. Men's volleyball stars Peter Testa (right) and Andrew Coles bumped and volleyed to their hearts content on Tuesday night. The Mustangs won the match in three straight sets.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001