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Men's volleyball team growth evident

Matt Gauthier | Interrobang | Sports | November 16th, 2009



Josh Westgate has been around Fanshawe for years, and continues to fearlessly lead and coach the Fanshawe's men's volleyball team.

Born and raised in London, he attended Oakridge Secondary School where he first got bit with the volleyball bug. He played throughout high school and even began to play for the Forest City Volley Club. He attended Fanshawe and played on the Falcons for three years, captaining two and a half of those years. After he graduated he grabbed an assistant coaching job with the Falcons while he worked, and then eventually he snagged the position of head coach and has been there for three years. Because he has seen every place on the ladder for the volleyball team he really appreciates and respects what the rest of his coaching staff does.

“This is definitely not a dictatorship, they provide me with their thoughts and opinions. We communicate a lot of game plans, practice plans, drills, goals,” said Westgate. “They are also another individual the players can go to discuss basically anything they need to discuss.”

The men's team are on a hot streak so far in a very talented and skilled league.

“We performed well this week. We picked up a victory against Canadore who is a very much improved team from last year. On Saturday we faced Nipissing who will be near the top of our division and we were able to come out with a victory. It was great to get that close third set to show our guys how important it is to finish games.”

Westgate continues to preach the necessity of finishing games to his team, which has been one of their struggles lately.

“Offensively we are extremely gifted. We are probably one of the top two or three teams in the province offensively,” noted Westgate. “We need to always work on our ball control, passing, blocking and defence. If we can continue to improve in those areas we will be a very scary team to play.”

It has been an exciting year, the team has four wins and one loss, but they do not want to get overconfident and set crazy goals.

“None of our goals are to win every single game or to win a gold medal. We have short term realistic goals that focus on each player and as a team. If we accomplish those goals then winning and medaling will happen.”

The team is buying into Westgate's philosophy of being realistic and team goal setting.

“We are playing in a very competitive league and we as a team have a lot of potential,” said left side Matt Westman. “If we can play a full game we can win games.”

When asked about their loss against Redeemer Westman said: “We may have not played as hard, it was a huge loss but we were letting them get the lead and then trying to come back.”

This same message was given from Libero Jordan McTavish.

“We are a pretty confident team; we just need to put the little things together,” said McTavish. “In pressure situations, like against Redeemer, we need to learn to finish the game.”

Westgate is not too disappointed with their loss, instead he brought up a quote that he uses with his team frequently from sports psychologist Jerry Lynch: “The biggest secret to success is failure. You can never go from beginner to expert without failing. Failure is a very necessary part of improvement because each time you fall on your face, you learn something that's like gold! You learn what you did wrong, and therefore, by extension, what you need to do differently next time.”

The last game for the men was against the Mohawk Mountaineers, and it turned out be another tough game as Fanshawe fell 3-1.
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