The Mustangs athletic season only gets busier in November, with the return of volleyball and basketball to regular season action. Volleyball is the first to return, with Ryerson coming to Alumni Hall on October 30, while basketball starts up again on home court on November 5.
Volleyball’s season openers will serve as playoff rematches, as both teams fell to the Rams in the 2015-16 postseason.
The men were eliminated in the quarterfinals after four sets – two of which went into extra points. Ryerson eventually worked its way to a silver medal and a spot in the CIS Championship.
The first game of the year will likely see the return of Gavin Taylor as the primary offensive weapon for the Mustangs, with rookie standout Nathan Phelps continuing to act as starting libero.
On the women’s side, the season opener will serve as a rematch of the Final Four matchup that sent Western to the bronze medal game. Ryerson’s second place finish at the Final Four won them a berth to the CIS Championship – a spot the Mustangs have narrowly missed the last two seasons after third place finishes.
All three First Team All-Stars from last season are back in purple and white, with point leaders Kelsey Veltman and Aja Gyimah returning alongside setter Katherine Tsiofas.
While volleyball will see playoff rematches in the season opener, basketball will be facing off against one of Western’s emerging rivals in the Guelph Gryphons. The last few years have seen an increasing number of Western-Guelph playoff and championship matchups across a number of sports, with the intensity increasing every time.
Men’s basketball returns following a lengthy exhibition season that began in August with a roster that hardly resembles last year’s team. Starters Greg Morrow, Anthony Spiridis, Tom Filgiano have all moved on, and several incoming athletes will be looking to fill the vacancies. The recruiting class features athletes coming straight out of high school, as well as a few transfer standouts.
History favours the Mustangs for the season opener, with three of the last four games ending in favour of Western.
The women’s team suffered its biggest loss with the departure of Caroline Wolynski, but retained top talent in Maddy Horst, Mackenzie Puklicz and Julia Curran. Four recruits are also being brought in to supplement the roster in Jade Codinera, Sarah Coulthard, Megan Goar, Sarah Gellately.
Last year saw the Mustangs eliminated in the quarterfinals to the eventual OUA Champions and CIS silver medalists, but with high player retention and a talented incoming class, Western can be expected to make a strong push for a banner this year.
Submitted by Western Mustangs