Volume 92, Issue 75

Wednesday, February 10, 1999


Mustangs spike Guelph

Squash team's a smashing success

Lacrosse will rock you

Mustangs can't beat Irish luck

Competition overpowers Mustangs

Squash team's a smashing success

By Paul Leeking
Gazette Writer

"Simply the best" is probably the easiest way to describe the squash program at Western.

Both the men's and women's squads left for Hamilton this weekend with something to prove as they competed in the Ontario University Athletics squash championships at McMaster.

The men continued their overwhelming dominant history in the Ontario varsity circuit with the Harold Martin trophy returning to Western for an incredible 16th consecutive year. The squash streak is the longest current championship streak at Western, but what is perhaps most remarkable is that since the 1970/71 season, the Mustangs have come home without the trophy only five times.

"There is a lot of pressure on the players," said Western head coach Jack Fairs. "All the other teams are geared up to beat us."

In the four team championship round, the six member men's team trounced both Brock in the semifinals and the University of Toronto in the finals by decisive scores of 5-1 in both match-ups. The team had little difficulty in the final matches and were praised for their high quality of play by Toronto head coach and athlete Steve Nielson. "We expected this. Most of our team played pretty well but we had accepted that we weren't up to their level yet," Nielson said.

What is maybe most encouraging about the efforts of this year's team is that they are all young and early in their eligibility. This raises a lot of optimism as to whether Western can remain tops for more years to come. Thus, visions of even more championships are within the grasp of this young bunch, said Western rookie Jamie Nicholls.

"The core of the team is young but there is definite pressure on us to keep the streak going," Nicholls said.

The team now turns its attention to preparing for tournaments against strong American Ivy School rivals such as Cornell, Princeton, Yale and Harvard.

The Mustang women's team was also successful in their efforts to sustain Western's winning ways this season. They steamrolled over U of T 6-0 in the semis and then broke Queen's six-year reign as champions in an exciting 4-2 decision in the final. With the victory, the team was able to leave the nightmares of previous years' disappointments behind them, while proving to themselves they were the best in the province.

The Mustangs had been favoured to win the past few years, but were never able to keep it together during the finals. "In previous years we have had a tendency to choke," said coach and player Tiffany Foster. "This year we played mentally sound and had a solid team effort."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999