Every week, the revered Purple Pipe is awarded to a Western athlete that busts out a stellar individual performance.
Menís volleyball starter Eric Simon won the Pipe this week after his strong performance in two weekend games against the York Lions and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.
In these games he had team highs with 31 points and 25 kills. He also led the team in digs during the Toronto game. The Gazette sat down with Simon to talk about the suspenseful season, the Super Bowl and high school admirers.
You led the team in kills this weekend. Is this something you do regularly?
No, we are not generally Ďa go-to guyí team. We generally have a spread-out offence. Everyone is normally around the same amount of points per game. So there is no one leader on the team. I guess it was just a good weekend.
You donít feel like you left anything out there?
I was pleased with my performance, especially since I was kind of on a little bit of a slow streak and I am finally back out in my left side position. I have been playing middle the first half. It was nice to finally get back on a roll. I felt good during the week of practices and it was nice to show it out in the games.
So you prefer to play left side but you have been playing middle recently?
Based on what we thought would be the best lineup for the team I had been playing middle. Luke Schram and Chris Mokry have had some shoulder problems now so we donít have as deep of a left side position so I moved back out there. I like it better but we will see how it does for our team. Itís looking like it might be my position for the second half unless Mokry and Schram can get healed up.
The playoffs are coming up. How do you feel about the teamís chances?
Well right now our league is the tightest I have ever played in. We were tied for fifth and with that win moved us up to fourth. Itís a tight race between us, Queenís [Golden Gaels], Waterloo [Warriors], Ryerson [Rams] and York ó one of those teams wonít make the playoffs. Weíre all exceptionally good teams, so itís important to win, not only for seeding, but also to just make the playoffs. If we win out we could come in second, but if we play terrible we might not even make the playoffs.
So you play the unbeaten McMaster [Marauders] in two weeks, do you think you have a chance to be the team that beats them?
McMaster is an exceptionally good team this year. I havenít seen a team like that in [Ontario University Athletics] and to play them at their gym is even more of a disadvantage because it gets pretty loud in there. But from the games weíve played them at home we have definitely had them on the ropes, but we just havenít been able to close it out. That was our problem all first half, but we are learning to finish games so anything can happen now.
How hard is it to balance playing a varsity sport with being a third-year civil engineering student?
I wouldnít say balancing those two, just because I go to class all day, then to practice, then straight home to my books. But itís a lot harder to find time to do other things, such as getting groceries or hanging out with my friends. Itís difficult to find time like that. On the weekends itís nice when we have Friday and Saturday games, cause that gives us Saturday night to go out and enjoy ourselves, but a lot of weekends we have Saturday and Sunday games. Sunday is normally my day to do my work, so itís taken away from me sometimes.
What bars do you go out to when you do find time?
Ceeps. Just Ceeps. I donít think I have even been to a different bar this school year. Ceeps Saturday and then Monday night for chicken wings.
Who do you think is going to win the Super Bowl?
[New England] Patriots. I donít see how they canít. It was pretty crappy weather in Foxboro, so that explains [quarterback Tom] Bradyís off day. Eli [Manning] is heating up and Brady is slowing down, but seriously, the Pats have such a good team.
Do you go out with the girlsí team a lot, or is it mostly just the guys?
Normally we get scheduled where weíll go on road trips with the girls. When that happens we will go out with them but during the first half we didnít have many of those situations, so it was mostly just our team. But since the break weíve gone out together both weekends. But we do hang out with each other a lot, I mean we see each other every day before practice and after practices.
Explain the story behind your use of ďShake and BakeĒ.
That happened last year at the beginning of the season in our Ryerson tournament. It was obviously stolen from Talledaga Nights, which we watched on the bus ride up there. So I donít know, I just said it in the middle of a game, and everyone just started to laugh so itís my way of easing the tension on our team. When we start to get in ruts it gets everyone fired up so I just kept it as our saying for the year. It gets old though, so youíve got to find something new.
We hear that you have a large high school female fan base.
There have been a few of them that have come up after a game and want to get pictures with you. Just after our weekend game I went home and on Facebook there were three new friend requests, all of them high school girls. So itís flattering and you just kind of laugh at it.