York dumps men's volleyball team from playoffs in straight sets

OUA Men's Volleyball Quarter-final: York 3, Western 0

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

It was déjà vu all over again as the men’s volleyball team fell to the York Lions in the Ontario University Athletics quarter-final last Thursday night. Despite a close match, the Lions defeated Western in straight sets.

In the first set, the Lions started strongly, forcing Western to battle back from a deficit. Eventually, Western tied the game, but after several exciting rallies, York took the set 30-28.

Western right side Eric Simon said nerves contributed to the team’s slow start.

“You can definitely see our whole team was nervous throughout the beginning of the first set,” Simon said. “We began to get into a groove near the end, but I don’t think we ever completely worked the nervousness out of our system.”

York head coach Wally Dyba said disrupting Western’s confidence was crucial in the win.

“We got off to a great start,” Dyba said. “Our serving was real tough and I think that disrupted Western a little bit. They didn’t have the confidence and the rhythm that they had the last time we played them.”

Western stayed competitive throughout the second set, leading the Lions by three points early on. However, several unforced errors and poor serving let York pull ahead and win the set 25-22.

Western head coach Jim Sage stressed the importance of staying positive despite being down.

“We try to keep morale up when it isn’t going well,” he said. “We stay with each other as a team. We win as a team. We lose as a team. We don’t blame one individual, but it’s tough when we’re struggling.”

In an unexpected move, Sage put in veteran left-side Chris Mokry, who had sat out due to injury until that point. Although Mokry served a crucial point for the Purple and Silver, it was too little too late and the Lions took the set 26-24, clinching the match.

Mustangs right side Josh Chisholm emphasized the importance of maintaining momentum in the playoffs.

“Similar to us, [York’s] a team that builds confidence as they play and when they are playing well, they are tough to be stopped.”

Similarly, Dyba complimented Western’s efforts.

“We knew it was going to be a tough match because last time we were here Western played very, very well and beat us in four sets.

“Also, this is the third year in a row that we’ve met Western in the playoffs and they say, ‘Three times is a charm,’ and it may have been a charm for them, so we were very concerned. Western is an excellent team.”

As Western had one final huddle and reflected on the season, many positive memories stood out despite the loss.

“[Losing] was tough,” said graduating middle Conor Murphy. “To think of all the hours we put and to lose when it counts is disappointing. Their big guns played well.

“I enjoyed my time with the team and I’m definitely going to miss playing with these guys.”

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