Volume 93, Issue 43
Tuesday, November 16, 1999
Mustangs victorious in Victoria
A-HEAD OF THE PACK. While the Mustangs were winning the gold in Victoria, the team was also winning individual awards to add to their list of achievements.
By Sean Maraj
VICTORIA, B.C. The fog was clearing, the field was wet and the pressure was on, as the University of Alberta Golden Bears met the Western Mustangs in the finals for the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union national championship.
This rematch of last year's final, held at the University of Victoria, began as an even-sided affair, as both teams had their chances. Western goalkeeper Rob Lave was forced to make several diving saves as the Mustang's defence suffered mental errors early in the half. Western also had several missed opportunities on offence and by halftime the score was deadlocked at 0-0.
However, when the second half opened, there was a surprise waiting for the Golden Bears. Stealing the ball right off the opening kickoff, the Mustangs made a drive toward Alberta's net and midfielder Xavier Paturel scored to give Western a 1-0 lead. The Mustang defence then stepped it into high gear, led by captain and defender Mike Potts as well as Lave.
Western continued to suffocate the Golden Bear defence and even though they had several close calls, they were able to hold their opposition off and repeat as national champions, not allowing a single goal against them throughout the entire championship tournament.
Western head coach and CIAU coach of the year Rock Basacco was understandably ecstatic with how his team played over the weekend, specifically in the championship match. He pointed to the Mustangs' defensive skills as the biggest factor in their victory.
"We played great, phenomenal. There was that [same] intangible factor, it showed itself [in Friday's game] against [the University of] Victoria. They put a lot of pressure on us, but our defence was great," Basacco said.
Lave, named goalkeeper of the tournament, said the game against Victoria was the most pivotal for the Mustangs. Lave played in all three games of the tournament, allowed nothing to go by him and was one of the most valuable players in the Western victory over both Victoria and the University of Alberta.
"Unbelievable to come through the way we did, it's a very difficult path to walk [to win back to back championships]," Lave said. "Ree San's goal versus Victoria this was our tournament once Ree put that gold in the net."
Alberta head coach Len Vickery did not talk much after the game, as he tried to collect his team for the closing ceremonies. "Is that the number one ranked team? Well, you tell me," Vickery said refusing to comment further on Western's first place ranking going into the tournament.
Western midfielder Alan Hume, named CIAU first team all-star and one of the back bones of Western's offence, pointed out this year's team had to face greater challenges by carrying the title of national champions and facing conditions which weren't suited to the team's style of play.
"We played excellent, we gave everything we got to be back here in the national championship and the conditions on the field made it that [much] more difficult," Hume said.
The Mustangs can now sit back and count their gold. Potts, Hume, and Lave can add tournament all-stars to their list of accomplishments from the weekend.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999