Western Takes Sword From Stone Against Trent
Western Mustangs Men's VolleyballEmily Renneberg
A frigidly cold Friday night brought Trent to the Mustangs’ home turf in a redemption game for the ‘Stangs, after the purple and white’s disappointing 3-0 loss to the OUA West leader McMaster two short weeks ago. With the Excalibur facing a tough season of 11 straight losses in a highly competitive conference, the odds seemed to tip into Western’s favour before the two opponents even took to the court.
The first set began with a quick two point lead for the Mustangs coming off of errors from the visiting side, as Matt Hooker, one of two fifth year players on the young Western team, snagged a couple points for the team from two bullet serves. Play between the two teams was stagnant and saw exceedingly limited back and forth action during the entire set, with errors in both attack and service quickly bringing any momentum to a halt for both sides and kept the points relatively matched. Trent called the first timeout at 8-4 for the Western side, and once the game resumed there was no looking back for the Mustangs as Gianfranco Sartor and Brady Fidler led the charge to take their edge to 13-7, with the lagging green and white struggling to find their ground.
Not to be counted out of the game completely, as Western began to see some slippage in the score, the Trent defensive play began to monopolize the play around the net, as Emmanuel Danso-Amofa, Thomas Martin, and Nicholas Taylor deployed aggressive and effective 3-player blocks to help their team slowly creep back up the scoreboard. The set finished off with a mere 6 point spread to the prevailing Mustangs, as the home team took the first 25-19.
Starting the second set off with the first notch, the Excalibur produced brief team magic with Thomas Martin setting Nicholas Taylor up for a few powerful kills that drilled into the Mustang court with no response from the purple players. Leading the score 9-5, Trent began to drift behind again as Western Head Coach Jim Sage kicked his team back into gear to gain four straight points and top it off with another couple to quickly tie the game at 11-11. Showing no mercy, the Mustangs closed out the set with another win as their 25th point came from an incredible kill from Brady Fidler to take the second 25-17.
With Excalibur behind two sets on a visiting court, the team faced a tough challenge to rise to in the third. Already substituting three of their players by this time, it was evident that the green and white were looking for ways to hold on to the match and win this set to take the game at least one set further. However, errors seemed to haunt the Trent team and when they coupled their own blunders with a handful of service aces from Mustang senior Matt Hooker, the Excalibur was unable to retaliate and allowed Western 9 straight points in what would turn out to be very brief and painless set for the ‘Stangs. Finishing off with a score of 25-7, only two of Trent’s points came from their own play, while the remaining five were courtesy of errors from the home team.
The Mustangs walked away with the win, now 2-1 for the second half of the season and now looking at five games ahead of them before the playoffs begin, continuing to focus on hunting down the top slot in the OUA West. The next match up for Western will take place on February 8th at Alumni Hall, as they take on the currently second place Windsor.