Volume 91, Issue 11

Tuesday, September 16, 1997



Two up and two down for straight-shootin' soccer squad

Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
IF MY HEAD WERE MADE OF CHEESE, HOW MUCH WOULD IT WEIGH? The men's soccer team had time to contemplate a plethora of questions, as it breezed through two weekend matches, outscoring the opponents 8-1.

By Mike Sikorski
Gazette Staff

Coming off a close 1-0 win against Brock a week prior, the Western men's soccer squad took no time dusting-off its competition in the weekend double-bill – over-running McMaster 4-1 and shutting out Laurier 4-0.

On Saturday, Western quickly opened up the scoring with a pair of goals by Matt Gallo before Mac answered back with a beautiful score by Marauder Nelson Costa which was headed into the net off a corner kick just before the end of the first half.

The second half was all Western as the team added two more goals to the tally. The first by Luca Mancuso and the second, headed past the keeper by Martin Painter on a cross from Gallo.

"Matt and Luca had all the opportunities and they put them in for us," Western head coach Rock Basacco said about the duo that combined for three of the Mustangs' goals.

However, Basacco felt Western's offence was not the determining factor in their weekend success.

"We played strong defensively, not simply the three players in the back field, but everyone knew their responsibilities," he said.

Gallo felt the Mustangs played well both ways, but having players come off the bench without jeopardizing any part of the team's game, added to the strength and depth of the Western attack.

"Anyone can step in and do the job," Gallo said, "Sometimes the difference is that we can make lots of substitutions where other teams don't have the players to change as frequently".

On Sunday, Western picked up right where they left off with the big story being Mustang player Mancuso, who recorded a natural hat-trick against Laurier, bringing his weekend scoring total to four.

His first goal and the only score in the first half, came from a cross from the foot of rookie Allan Hume, which was placed perfectly between the posts by the Mustang's noggin.

Mancuso's next marker came in the second half off a Laurier turnover and was kicked just inside the left post from about 22-metres out.

Mancuso took full advantage of a third opportunity when co-captain Tom Perks was taken down, and the Mustangs were given a penalty kick that Luca capitalized on, tapping it past the keeper on the right side.

The final goal came from a pass from Gallo to Ryan Covack who blasted a rocket into the top left corner of the goal.

Mancuso pointed to the first goal as the primary turning point enabling his team to set the pace in the second half.

"I was out to try and get everyone going," he said. "I wanted to get us up before the end of the half."

The weekend results leave the Mustangs undefeated three games into the season and has given both fans and coaches a glance at the potential of the country's no.2-ranked squad.

"We have an even better team than last year," Mancuso said. "The talent that lies within this team is unbelievable".

The team, which hopes to win the national championships this season, have reason for optimism in light of its lightning-quick start.

Western's next game is at home against Guelph on Saturday at 3 p.m.

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

Copyright The Gazette 1997