Indoor bladers start season
By Brendan Howe
Indoor Hockey? Nope, you won't find this at campus recreation. This sport comes compliments of the same women who brought you this year's field hockey season.
This version of field hockey is played indoors with five runners on at a time plus one goalie. It's similarity to outdoor field hockey exists only because it uses the same sticks and ball of the former. Beyond that, it's an entirely different game.
Though all members of Western's indoor squad played on the field hockey team, the much faster-paced indoor hockey compares more closely with its ice cousin. The game is played inside a gym with boards on all sides to keep the ball in play at all times, allowing the possibility to bounce-pass off the boards. This can make the change from offence to defence quick and smooth.
This year's indoor team is coming off a successful field hockey season the team finished just shy of a medal in fourth place. After finishing fifth out of six teams last year in the indoor season, the team has higher hopes this year.
"We have a shot at being in the top three this year," coach Leanne Dietrich said. "Our girls need to train hard to do it though."
The team showcases a good mix of talented veterans and rookies. Captain Jenni Smith is a fourth-year player who captained the team last year and will do the same again this year.
Smith played field hockey throughout high school but began her indoor career in her first year at Western. Her work ethic on and off the field and calmness and quick-thinking throughout games makes her a valuable asset to the team.
"I lead a lot by example," she said. "I try to make sure I'm approachable as well."
Other fourth-year stars include Sara Bell, Kelly DeBruyn and Christine Timmermans, who will all have a positive impact on the team, not only talent-wise but also in terms of experience and leadership.
This experience is balanced with a number of strong first-year players, including all-star goalie Denise Pelletier. Pelletier was one of the key players on the field hockey team, achieving player of the game honours in the final game of the season. She promises to be one of the key contributors in the indoor season, providing the last wall of defence for the promising team.
"Our team has the potential to do as well as the outdoor season, if not better," Smith said. "The other teams in the league look very beatable."
Other talented rookie contributors include forward Jennifer Kicis from Alberta and defender Patricia Cronin from St. Jacobs, Ont., both of whom look to make an impression on the back of opponents nets.
The Mustang women prepare to open their season this weekend at Waterloo. With only three tournaments that count toward the season standings, this weekend's tour will be vital if they plan to break into the top three in their league.