Purple and Silver come up short

Home court advantage hangs in the balance

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Men's volleyball

Jonas Hrebeniuk

FLOORED. Western’s hopes for a home playoff game took a big hit with a loss to juggernaut Queen’s Saturday, but the team is confident it can get back on its feet. Four season-ending wins could still give them the chance to play at Alumni Hall in the postseason.

The Mustangs men’s volleyball team’s hopes for a home playoff game took a big hit Saturday at Alumni Hall, with Western (11-5) falling 3-1 to top-seeded Queen’s (14-1).

The Golden Gaels defeated Western, with scores of 25-22, 27-25, 19-25 and 25-20.

“I thought we played fairly well,” said Mustangs outside hitter Eric Simon. “But Queen’s just had that little extra edge that we didn’t. They were digging a couple balls that we wouldn’t.”

Queen’s head coach Brenda Willis disagreed, saying both teams could have played better.

“I don’t honestly think we played all that well,” Willis said. “I’ve got three guys who have the flu, including my setter... I think what we did is minimized errors, served pretty tough and just kind of hung in there.”

Willis also emphasized the role injuries played in the match.

“Western’s a very good team,” she said. “But they’re missing two key starters, and that has to shake their confidence. Dan Miller and Chris Mokry [both of whom are currently injured] are both outstanding veterans.”

“All of us were trying our best, but it just wasn’t clicking,” said Western right side Josh Chisholm. “We weren’t getting the right calls, and we weren’t siding out when we needed to.”

However, there were some bright spots.

“I felt that [setter Andrew] Hinchey and our middle, Conor Murphy, both played outstanding,” Chisholm said. “I feel that we all needed to come together and play at their level if we needed to beat Queen’s, which is the top-ranked team in [Ontario University Athletics].”

While Western’s playoff berth is relatively secure, the loss makes the possibility of a home game in the quarter-final a tall task.

“We basically have to win out now to solidify fourth place,” Chisholm said. “That’s going to give us home-court advantage for the quarter-final, and then we can go from there.

“We’ve just got to keep building. That’s going to make a big difference. If we win out, we’re looking pretty good.”

“There’s still room for improvement, and we can reach another level,” Simon said. “But we also are still contending with Queen’s, which is the best team in the OUA right now, and we can beat them. We just need to put that little extra effort in at practice.”

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