Thoroughbreds: Mustangs sweep Windsor

Keen men's volleyballers to rely on depth in the playoffs

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Men's volleyball

Joyce Wang

MAKE LIKE A BLUEFIN TUNA AND DON'T HIT THE NET. Western's men's volleyball team rumbled over Windsor Friday and has its sights set on the postseason. Sorry, Chicken of the Sea.

Whether it was the excitement of the impending playoffs or the thrill of supporting breast cancer research, the Mustangs men’s volleyball team (14-6) was fervent in a 3-0 victory over the Windsor Lancers (8-12) Friday night at Alumni Hall.

In their last regular season match, emotions ran high as the ’Stangs won 25-16, 25-15 and 25-19. Western finished fourth in the Ontario University Athletics standings, and all proceeds from Friday night’s game went to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

The Mustangs offence clicked immediately. Outside hitter Reid Halpenny and middle Dan Miller led the way in the first set with eight and seven kills, respectively.

The result was the same in the second set; outside hitter Eric Simon and middle Conor Murphy each had six kills, while libero Chris Graham added 13 digs in the Purple and Silver’s second-set victory.

Western head coach Jim Sage was happy with the team’s start.

“The first two sets [we played] extremely well,” he said. “We blocked really well, which I was pleased with.”

The third set kept the Mustangs on their toes as the Lancers fought all the way. Still, Western held on to earn a win in its final regular season match.

Lancers head coach Huub Kemmere was disappointed, as his squad narrowly missed out on a playoff position and was lacklustre in the regular season finale.

“We played well until 16-14 in the first game,” he said. “But then some guys kind of figured we weren’t going to win and gave up playing.”

The Mustangs host York (14-6) in the OUA quarter-final Thursday. The teams traded home wins this year.

“They’re a challenge,” Sage said. “We split on the year with them, so it’s a big rivalry and it’s getting heated.”

Right side Josh Chisholm, who had five kills Friday, is confident heading into the playoffs.

“All of our veterans are pretty seasoned against [York],” he said. “I think we have an advantage in the sense that we want it more than they do.”

Murphy stressed the importance of avoiding mistakes in the postseason.

“Passing needs to be executed well,” he said. “We need to limit our hitting errors and be disciplined.

“Consistency is going to make us a great team. If we can be consistent, we can be a force in the playoffs.”

Sage believes opposing teams will have difficulty preparing for Western.

“We don’t really have any superstars,” he said. “It makes it difficult for teams to prepare against us because they don’t really know who is coming at them.”

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