Mens OUA Playoff Preview
The Mens OUA Regular Season ended on the weekend, and their playoff brackets are completed. The OUA playoffs for men differs in format from the women. First, only seven teams make the playoffs. Because of that, the single highest seeded team gets a bye through the quarter-finals. The teams that win out of the remaining six will move on, joining the top seed in the semi-finals. Also, there are no conferences, so the lowest ranked team will always play the highest, rather than moving up your conference bracket, and eventually meeting the opposite side. This year, the Western Mustangs are the top ranked squad, and thus avoid playing this coming weekend.
February 18th, 2011
(5) Windsor vs. (4) Guelph
7:00 pm @ Guelph
The Windsor Lancers have put together a decent campaign, including an impressive bronze medal performance at the York Excalibur Tournament. They could only manage a .500 season in the end, and sit directly in the middle of the playoff standings. Realistically, they have their hands more than full in dealing with Guelph. They’ll need incredibly consistent play, and they won’t be able to rest for even a moment on the 18th. If the Lancers plan on winning, they’ll need to walk into Guelph and take the win. They won’t be able to rely on Gryphon mistakes, but will have to bring their A game and impose their strategy.
The Gryphons have been consistently battling it out with the top teams in the OUA this year. Going into the final weekend of competition, they sat in a three-way tie with Queen’s and McMaster for second place. In the end, they fell the furthest and ended up fourth. Still, Guelph has regularly been rated amongst the top 10 teams in the entire CIS, and will aim to prove their place among the nations best when they host the Lancers on Friday. They’ll need to keep on their toes, as Windsor are really the only threat to beat a favourite in this bracket. Guelph won’t want to be made an example of early on. Regardless of who wins, these two teams will likely have to match up against a tough Western team in the semi-finals.
February 19th, 2011
(6) Waterloo vs. (3) Queen’s
7:00 pm @ Queen’s
Waterloo ended their season amidst a tough battle for the remaining playoff positions in the OUA. With Toronto, York, and Ryerson fighting for their lives, Waterloo managed to sneak into the playoffs even though they had a below .500 record. Their attack comes largely from one player, Fiodar Kazhamiaka. They’ll be hoping he’s playing the best game of his life on Saturday if they expect a chance to move on to the semi-finals. Realistically, Waterloo should be happy with their playoff appearance, and will be looking to rebuild for next year’s team. Kazhamiaka is in his first year of eligibility, and a strong team could be made around him.
The Queen’s Gaels are one of the premier teams in the OUA. With Joren Zeeman hitting an obscene amount of balls on the right side, Michael Amoroso being a force at middle, and the remainder of their line-up being incredibly talented young men, this team is expected to do big things. They should be able to walk through the Waterloo squad on Saturday. Their passing will make the difference, as their strong middles are hardly incorporated in their offence if the passes don’t make it to the setter. Regardless, they should win their quarter-final match up, and will be looking to play either Guelph or McMaster in the semis.
February 19th, 2011
(7) Laurier vs. (2) McMaster
8:00 pm @ McMaster
The Laurier Goldenhawks were the very last team to qualify for the playoffs. However, don’t let their seventh seed fool you into thinking this isn’t a competitive team. Laurier met with McMaster earlier this year in Waterloo, and forced the Marauders into five sets before eventually losing. In that match, their captain and starting setter Erik Kroman was unable to play due to sickness. He’ll be back for the playoff quarter-final, and will be hoping to provide the slight push their team will need to upset the McMaster team. Though they did take the last match to five sets, they were also playing at home. Laurier will have to play without errors if they expect to walk into Burridge Gym and come out victorious.
The McMaster Marauders are one of the most heavily touted teams in the OUA. They have made their presence felt on a national scale by finding themselves regularly in the CIS top-10. They even moved ahead of Western in the rankings for a period of the regular season. The Marauders made a trip down south to compete against NCAA teams to sharpen their game, and they are planning on making an impact in the playoffs. Their libero, 5 Josh Lichty, gives them a chance on every play. Their well-rounded offence keeps opponents guessing. McMaster has developed quite the reputation for themselves, and will now have a chance to prove it when it counts. Look for McMaster to go far in these playoffs.
The semi-finals will happen in London, hosted by Western, on February 25th. Western will play their first game of the playoffs at that time.
The finals will be the next day, also hosted by Western, February 26th, 2011.
Check back with Kill on Two for live scores, updates, links to live streaming, and a preview of the number one ranked Western Mustangs.