Volume 92, Issue 41

Tuesday, November 17, 1998

no. 1 where it counts


Three's a charm for champs

Catherine Farquharson/McGill Tribune
JUST BIDING MY TIME. Xavier Paturel (6) stands back waiting for the opportunity to score. Paturel had the magic foot on the weekend scoring four goals to pace the team to the championship.

By John Dinner
Gazette Staff

Third time lucky. This couldn't be more true for the men's soccer team as they returned from Montreal over the weekend with their first ever CIAU crown.

Having made the trip to the big dance in the two previous years, earning a second in 1996 and a sixth place finish last year, the Mustangs were in Montreal for one reason and one reason only – to come home with the gold.

With three consecutive Ontario titles to their credit, the one jewel missing from the Western soccer program has been the elusive gold medal, something head coach Rock Basacco believes will put Western on the Canadian soccer map.

"I am definitely proud of the way our guys played at the championships. We, as a coaching staff are extremely proud," Basacco said. "It is an amazing thing for the players and for the program."

Basacco and his assistants Steve Langley and Tom Perks, said they believe the two previous experiences at the nationals helped the team through the competitive tournament. "When you experience the other side of things, like we have, there is more of an appreciation when you finally win it all," the third-year coach said.

Not only did Western win the coveted prize, but two of Western's players grabbed the two most important individual awards, the Golden Boot, for top scorer and the tournament's most valuable player. The Golden Boot was awarded to midfielder Xavier Paturel who led all scorers with four goals, including three game winners.

The MVP of the tourney was defenceman Mike Potts, who displayed excellent leadership both on and off the field, coupled with outstanding defensive ability and skill.

"He's a great leader," Paturel said. "He's all smiles and you really want to win for the guy."

To win the title, Western had to beat the University of Alberta Bears, a team which had not allowed two goals all season and had defeated the heavily favoured University of Victoria in the western final.

"We scouted them in their two round-robin games and saw some things that we felt we could exploit," Basacco said. "And we were able to capitalize on both of them to score a couple of quick goals in the first seven minutes."

"I think [Western's] teamwork was most notable," said Alberta's head coach Len Vickery. "They seemed to all be on the same page. The team is a real credit to their university."

Fittingly, the two goals Western scored in their 2-1 victory over the Bears were off the feet of Paturel and Potts.

One thing which made the victory so special, according to both Potts and Paturel, was they were able to win it for coach Basacco.

"We've both been here for three years and I have a great relationship with him," Potts said. "We wanted to win it for him and it was all the more worthwhile when we saw the look of gratification on his face."

To Contact The Sports Department: gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998