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Volume 91, Issue 45

Wednesday, November 19, 1997



Water polo team takes home bronze

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
TRUST ME. I WOULDN'T BE DRINKING FROM THAT WARM WATER IF I WERE YOU. Mustangs Kyle Seaback [13] and the rest of the Mustang crew showed warning signs against Toronto before exploding against McMaster for the bronze.

By Ian Ross

Gazette Staff

After failing to medal with a young and inexperienced team in the Ontario championships last year, Western's men's water polo team returned to Ottawa on the weekend with a little more experience under their belts – floating them to a third-place finish with an 8-1 victory over the McMaster Marauders. The York Yeomen won the title by defeating both Mac and the Toronto Varsity Blues, who qualified for the final by drowning Western 8-3.

On Saturday, with the score tied 3-3 against the Blues in the fourth quarter, the Mustangs fell into penalty trouble and were unable to play their aggressive style. Toronto took full advantage of Western's poor coverage and managed to score five times in the final eight minutes. Peter Smiechowski's four goals and Ted Bader's three led the charge for Toronto, while Brandon Lawrence scored a pair for Western.

"We had a strong game plan going into the game against Toronto, but they managed to pull away in the fourth quarter," Western head coach Charles Smith said. "The team became disheartened in the end, allowing a couple goals in the final minutes. The score doesn't reflect the game."

The veteran leadership that pushed the team all season returned on Sunday as the Mustangs proceeded to blow the Marauders out of the water. Mustangs Rob Clark and Karol Maar netted three each to send the No. 2 ranked Marauders home with nothing in their hands.

Smith suggested that much of the team's improvement developed through water polo veteran and first-year Mustang Rob Clark, a former captain with the Blues who won two provincial championships.

"Rob was a great addition from Toronto," he said. "He took on a leadership role by helping the new players and suggesting game plans."

Western captain Brandon Lawrence was also impressed with the leadership Clark brought to the team. "He is a leader in and out of the pool. In my opinion he is one of the team's most valuable players."

Lawrence, last year's team captain, returned to the helm this season to once again lead the developing squad to the next level.

"For many of second-year guys, the experience from last season and playoffs was an incredible help this year to develop a foundation to build around," Lawrence said.

Both Clark and Lawrence were named to the tournament's second all-star team, while Karol Maar and goaltender Jim MacLachlan were first team all-stars.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997