WINDSOR, Ont. (from Western Mustangs) –The Western Mustangs lost their first match since Nov. 12, as the Windsor Lancers upended the visiting Mustangs in five sets (17-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-23, 17-19) Sunday afternoon at the St. Denis Centre.
The loss ends the Mustangs nine-game winning streak and moves Western to 11-3 on the season to sit second in OUA West standings, just below McMaster. The win has the Lancers just behind the Mustangs in third with a 10-5 record.
Evan Cranshaw (Athens, ON) and Zeid Hamadeh (Ottawa) topped the scoresheet for the Mustangs recording 22 and 19.5 points, respectively. Cranshaw’s 22 points came off 18 kills, three solo blocks and one assisted block, while Hamadeh’s came from 17 kills, one solo block, and one assisted block.
Pierce Johnson and Brad Gyemi proved to be Windsor’s greatest assets throughout the match, recording 26 and 19.5 points respectively. Johnson’s 26 points would come from 24 kills and 2 solo blocks throughout the five sets, while Gyemi’s came from 14 kills, one service ace, one solo block and seven assisted blocks.
Brady Fidler (Waterdown, ON), Sean Boyne (Brampton, ON), Gianfranco Sartor (Calgary), and Matt Stasiuk (Winnipeg) on the Mustangs second string each made an appearance on the court, as Sartor was able to see most of the third set, proving himself to be strong offensively.
The first set would go to Windsor as they established an early lead, up 16-8 at the technical time out. Unfortunately for the Mustangs the deficit continued to grow, eventually hitting nine points at 20-11. Despite Western coming strong after a timeout and getting six unanswered points, the Lancers would take the first set 25-17.
The second set would go in the Mustangs favour, with Chris Newcombe (Tavistock, Ont.) taking control of the purple and white offensive game. Evan Hammond (London, Ont.) also would prove to be an important asset the second, to round the set out 25-19.
The Lancers looked very strong defensively in the third set, putting up some huge blocks coming and making it difficult for Western to get on the board.
A service error and on court communication errors for the Mustangs would allow Windsor the 24-20 lead, and although Cranshaw had a big kill to bring the Mustangs to 21, they couldn’t hold off a Lancers victory. Windsor took the third set 25-21.
The fourth set proved to be the most exciting set of the match, with Bryn Ramsay making a statement on the floor and earning some big kills to get points on the board for the Mustangs.
At the technical timeout in the fourth, Western was up 16-13. The Mustangs defensive game in the fourth prevailed with a big help from Cranshaw and Hammond stepping up to make some big blocks.
As Windsor closed in on the purple and white lead, Newcombe exploded offensively to keep Western’s edge on the scoreboard.
After a timeout late in the fourth, both teams applied the pressure as they were all over the court.
Western showed an all-out team performance at the end of the fourth, and with a kill from Hammond followed by an assisted block by Hammond and Ramsay, the Mustangs would take the fourth 25-23, sending it to a fifth set.
The final set would prove to be a back and forth battle, each team stayed within a point of its opponent. Hammond made some strong defensive plays, getting the important blocks, as Ramsay and Matt Hooker would make a couple of great digs.
Windsor would end up taking the fifth set as well, capitalizing on Mustangs errors. Western fought back and forced the set into extra points, but the Lancers eventually prevailed with a score of 19-17 to end the match.
The Mustangs are back in action next weekend for their second matchup of the season against the McMaster Marauders on Saturday in Hamilton. Game time is set for 2 p.m. on OUA.tv.