Warriors steal a win at Alumni Hall

Mustangs initial intensity fades after first set victory

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Diving onto the ground to get the volleyball

Jonas Hrebeniuk

"JUST A ... LITTLE ... FURTHER..." Western setter Andrew Hinchey hit the floor in Sunday's match-up against the visiting Waterloo Warriors. Unfortunately, Hinchey’s hustle was not enough to secure a Mustangs win. The Warriors won the match 3-1.

A day after defeating the Laurier Golden Hawks 3-1 at Alumni Hall, a confident Mustangs men’s volleyball team stepped onto the court to face the visiting Waterloo Warriors.

However, Western’s confidence was not enough to secure the win " the Warriors walked away with a 3-1 victory on Sunday.

Mustangs head coach Jim Sage said his team might have been too self-assured heading into the game.

“I think we’re over-confident, to some degree,” Sage said. “We’ve got a decent record. I think being at home, we expect to beat teams like Waterloo and it’s not going to happen that way.

“The league is so close, with so much parity. It comes down to whoever wants it more.”

Western came out swinging in the first set, playing with intensity and using strong blocking skills to gain a seven-point lead on the Warriors. However, Waterloo quickly answered back, narrowing Western’s lead to one point.

In the end, the Mustangs won the set 25-23, but Sage insists his squad was fortunate to come out on top.

“Frankly, I thought we got lucky in the first set,” he said. “We made some errors and we played okay, but once we won the first set it seemed like our whole team relaxed.”

The second set started off poorly for both teams, with each squad serving ball after ball into the net. As the set progressed, the Warriors’ hitting ability pulled them ahead, despite continued difficulty with serves.

Waterloo head coach Chris Lawson said his team’s commitment to staying positive allowed it to rebound after losing the first set.

“We charted Western’s offence pretty well and had some specific defensive things we wanted to do, but the main goal was just to return to a more relaxed, fun attitude,” Lawson said.

“[Sunday], we met for an hour and talked about why we are here: it’s about loving volleyball, playing for the fun of it and enjoying ourselves when we are out there. If you do that, good things will happen.”

That strategy seemed to work well for the Warriors, who secured their sixth victory of the season after winning the third and fourth sets 25-16 and 25-23, respectively.

After the match, Western’s Josh Chisholm stressed the need for the Mustangs to stay focused during matches, especially after getting off to a strong start.

“I think our confidence might be a little too high,” he said. “We might be a little high on ourselves. When we come out strong in a game ... we are sometimes more lackadaisical in the next set.”

For his part, Sage said his team’s inability to forget past errors played a role in the loss.

“We had communication breakdowns and, in facing adversity, we didn’t overcome that quickly enough,” he said. “We were still dwelling on things two or three points after having made a mistake, even though we were never going to get a chance to correct that.

“You just have to move on, but we had guys that were still boiling inside [and] mad at themselves. We had to move on from those errors, and we just could not.”

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