Western Mustangs volleyball teams competed on home ground on Friday night against the Windsor Lancers. Both the women’s and men’s team showcased great composure and came out with decisive wins.
The women’s team started off a little slow, losing the first set 27–25, but this was only a facade of what was to come. In the second set the team really began picking up momentum.
In both the second and third sets, Western was a dominating force that was offensively aggressive and defensively sound. Prized veteran Kelsey Veltman and third-year outside Melissa Langegger were relentless offensively. Throughout the game, Langegger had 14 kills, which was only bested by Veltman’s 23. The few times Windsor dared to return the ball with a bump, it was hit right back by Veltman.
Furthermore, Rachael Grove was an all-around dynamic force who showcased brilliant game play. She executed strategic kills that scrambled Windsor’s defensive positions, and had many successful digs that allowed her teammates to create offensive opportunities.
But it was her defensive composure that Grove indicated was her strongest area of play that night.
“I was able to pass with confidence and consistency” said Grove. “I wasn’t going to let anything touch the floor.” She was persistent on blocks and collected for serve receives.
Western won the second and third sets handily with final scores of 25–16 and 25–19, respectively.
However, the fourth set was a harder fought battle for the Mustangs. Continued momentum by Western was matched with a revitalized resilience from Windsor. Western looked poised for much of the set, but in approaching the last few points, Windsor closed the gap. For the latter part of the set, they were virtually point to point, but Western pulled ahead at the very end. They won the set 26–24 and finished the match with the 3–1 win.
“It was an important win,” said Mustangs head coach Melissa Bartlett. “[It gives] us an opportunity to continue to compete to be a top two team in the West Division this season.”
After the women's match ended, the men’s team was able to shut down the Lancers with three intense and well-matched sets.
With a number of wicked serves and killer hits, Western began advancing shortly into the first set. The score sat at 23–18 and Western was feeling confident, but Windsor was hungry to fight back. The Lancers had a number of hits that allowed them to tie things up, but in the end, they couldn’t ride their surge of energy long enough. Windsor began to slip up and Western’s smart boundary awareness allowed them to recover. The set was concluded by Western and the score finished at 28–26.
In the second set, Western’s leading duo — Evan Cranshaw and Brady Fidler — brought in a number of early points. A strong mix of kills and aces showcased their well-developed offensive skills. The set was concluded by a momentous kill from Cranshaw and the final score ended 25–22 for Western.
In the final set, Windsor and Western showed balance until Windsor began to take the lead. The score sat at 18–14 in favour of Windsor, but Western pulled together offensively to flip the switch. For the remainder of the set, an assortment of Western players were able to execute strategic hits, which fatigued Windsor’s offence. They went toe to toe for the last few points until the Mustangs won the set 29–27.
After three nail-biting sets, the Mustangs shut out the Lancers with a 3–0 victory
Both Mustangs volleyball teams will play again at York University on Saturday, as the women take on the Lions at 1 p.m and the men at 3 p.m.