Men's volleyballers dispatch Ryerson, York

OUA Men's Volleyball

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

It was a winning weekend for the men’s volleyball team, which defeated the Ryerson Rams in straight sets Friday night before beating the York Lions 3-1 Saturday.

The Mustangs (11-4) anticipated a tough opponent in Ryerson, which currently sits second in the Ontario University Athletics standings with a 13-3 record. However, Western made quick work of the Rams, winning 26-24, 25-19, and 25-17.

The victory over Ryerson clearly fired the team up for Saturday’s contest versus the York Lions (11-5), who eliminated the Mustangs from the playoffs last year and beat Western 3-1 in November.

Coming into the game, York head coach Wally Dyba stressed the need to win late in the season.

“This is a very important match because a first-round playoff bye is still alive,” Dyba said. If we don’t get the first-round bye, it’s hosting in the first round.”

Though the game started slowly, the Mustangs ran away with the first set courtesy of big blocks and solid digging by Western’s starting six. The Lions finally managed to side out toward the end of the set; however, it was too little too late and the Mustangs took the set 25-18.

The second set was much closer, as Western struggled with serving. By the middle of the set, the Lions had a three-point lead. Western answered with several successive points, tying the set at 17. As the set continued, the teams rallied back and forth, but the Lions finally pulled ahead to win 33-31.

After the game, outside hitter Reid Halpenny said losing the second set didn’t discourage the Mustangs, who were intent on beating their playoff rivals.

We just kept working hard,” Halpenny said. “You get in those little slumps and you’ve just got to let them go.”

In the third set, Halpenny and right side Josh Chisholm led the ’Stangs offence, ending several important points on timely kills. Western quickly disposed of York, winning the set 25-20.

The Lions fought to stay alive in the fourth set despite trailing for much of the frame. Setter Andrew Hinchey put the nail in the Lions’ coffin, scoring the winning point for Western and ending the set with a score of 26-24.

Halpenny credited the win to the team’s increased confidence following Friday’s win.

“Confidence...was so important,” he said. “We lost to this team earlier in the season and coming back we had something to prove. We had to make sure we came all out.”

Chisholm said the rivalry between the two teams fueled the Mustangs’ desire to win.

“When I came in, I told all the guys in the huddle that the word of the day was ‘retribution’ and that we had something to prove,” Chisholm said.

Mustangs head coach Jim Sage said he was pleased with his team’s performance throughout the weekend, but stressed the need to stay focused, adding, “We’re always a work in progress.”

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