Volume 96, Issue 62
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

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Is it Clark Kent or Peter Sidler?
Mustangs left side hitter saving the day

By Ian Denomme
Gazette Staff

Dave Picard/Gazette
WHAT DID THE BALL EVER DO TO HIM? Volleballer Peter Sidler unleashes a furious spike on an innocent volleyball.
After last year's successful season, the Western Mustangs men's volleyball team was left in a rebuilding stage. The Mustangs lost five Ontario University Athletics all-stars, including All-Canadian and Western Male Co-Athlete of the Year, Jeremy Jonckheere.

With the loss of talent and experience, it was important for someone to step up and lead the young team. That leadership came in the form of Peter Sidler.

Western head coach Jim Sage said choosing Sidler as captain was an easy decision. "He brings intensity and leadership. I chose him early in the year because of his dedication and his manner on the court," he said.

Sidler's leadership has been key because of the loss of veterans, experience and talent, Sage explained.

"We're starting new. [Sidler] saw little action last year, but got a taste, and that has helped him this year," Sage said.

Sidler honed his skills in Peterborough playing high school volleyball, and on club teams in the summer.

"I started playing in the summer of Grade 10," he said. "My dad asked if I wanted to tryout for a volleyball team in Oshawa. That fall I started playing on a club team with the Ganaraska Wolves."

Sidler also played basketball in high school, although he said he often felt the basketball coach was taking players away from the volleyball team. In addition, he played Kinsmen League football, but ultimately stuck with volleyball – and now the Mustangs are reaping the rewards.

Through Friday night's game against the University of Waterloo, Sidler was eighth in the OUA, averaging 3.79 points per set and was seventh in kills, averaging 3.0 per set.

"I try to lead by example," he said. "I'm a speaker – I try to be emotional and energetic on the court, Sidler said."

That energy paid off, as the southpaw led his team to an unbelievable comeback win against Waterloo on Friday night. After losing the first two sets, the Mustangs came back to win the next three straight.

The win was huge for the Mustangs, as they fight for one of the final two playoff spots.

Sidler said Western's goal for this season was to make the playoffs and continue to compete at the highest level. With six teams battling for the final two spots, Sidler said winning three of their final four games would be ideal.

Sidler's short-term goals involve a game in Kingston next weekend against Queen's University and having a solid finish to the remainder of the regular season.

However, the third-year Kinesiology student's long-term goals include the opportunity to travel and the pursuit of a career as a high school physical education teacher.

Until then, he will have to be satisfied with continuing to punish opposing defenses with his powerful kills and leading his team into what will hopefully be a playoff berth, and a shot at the OUA championship.

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