Wrestler keeps mind over matter
Mustangs net dreams
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Mustangs net dreams
By Kathy Ens
The Western Mustang indoor hockey team is prepared to storm the net this weekend in Guelph, host of the season's first tournament.
This weekend will also mark Gavin Francis' first time behind the indoor club's bench. He took over the reigns in the fall as the head coach of the Mustang field hockey team and said the key to this tournament is scoring.
"What we want to do is score some goals. That is what we struggled with in outdoor," Francis said. "Our penalty corner is working very well right now."
The team's roster is filled by 14 women, many who are from the outdoor field hockey team and the majority in their first or second year.
Although the short three-tournament season would make it seem difficult to create a solid team chemistry, captain Karen Murtaugh said cohesiveness has not been a problem for Western's young club.
"We are a very young team, yet a very close team. Much like a family," she said.
The Guelph Gryphons, who are hosting this weekend's event, warmed up for their season opening tournament by taking on Western's alumni team in an exhibition contest.
"The Mustang team looks very tough defensively and their offence is better," Guelph Gryphon head coach Karen Lee said.
Guelph is one of the Mustangs' biggest adversaries, Murtaugh said. "The Guelph team is one of our big rivals to beat. York and University of Toronto look to be the other top teams.
"We are focusing on being competitive and making this season the best," she said. "Nobody is going to like playing us."
According to Francis, Murtaugh and goalie Denise Pelletier will be two key players looked to this season. Murtaugh is in her last year of eligibility and has been an indoor all-star in the past.
"Karen is a player who leads by example and will help the team out vocally," he said.
Pelletier, an Ontario University Athletics second team all-star last year, plays a key role as a director of traffic from her spot in net, Francis said.
The Mustangs will be looking to improve on last year's fifth place finish. "We are looking to build from this weekend and are looking to peak at the third tournament," Francis said.
Western will take on teams from U of T, Waterloo, Guelph, York and Queens. Historically, U of T and York have dominated the indoor field hockey seasons.
"The league is the tightest it has ever been before," Lee said. "The teams are closer than they have ever been. Anybody could beat anybody."