|Volume 93, Issue 39
Tuesday, November 9, 1999
Year of high hope ends on low note
WATCH WHERE YOU'RE STEPPING, I DROPPED A CONTACT. The women rugby team's vision of finishing with a bronze medal this season was blindsided by McMaster on the weekend.
By Wes Brown
The news went from bad to worse Saturday as the Western women's rugby team failed to medal in this year's Ontario University Athletic finals.
McMaster University came out on top of the Mustang women 27-7, ending a season that went from promise to disappointment almost over night. Head coach Natascha Wesch blamed herself for not preparing the team enough for when she was away playing for the Canadian national team.
"When I went away, the assistant coaches had a hard time playing four games in two weeks," she said. "In that time, morale was way down. I just didn't have enough time when I came back to bring the team back up."
Wesch said McMaster played a great game and although Western did some things right, a look at the season as a whole indicated the team lacked some of the basic fundamentals of the game.
"I'm going take a big evaluation of what needs to be done for the good of the team. It might mean me taking a step back, maybe taking another role something less up front, like an assistant coaching position," Wesch said.
Co-captain and flanker Angie Donovan said it was the worst game the Mustangs' played all season and expressed how difficult it was having different people playing different positions in almost every game.
"In the Mac game, we had players playing in positions they hadn't played all year. Looking at the starting lineup all year, there was always a surprise. It's just easier playing with the same 15 girls every game," Donovan said.
It's always easier to say what went wrong after the fact, but Donovan said it was frustrating when the three coaches were saying three different things.
"You really can't point the blame now. I know that, individually, all the players that play have a lot of talent and this team just has to keep striving for the best."
Western's other co-captain and fullback Andrea Haney said she did not know what went wrong.
"Believe me, I've thought about it. After [McMaster] would score we'd get together and I'd say 'What's going on? What's going wrong?'" Haney said. "Mac had a good game plan that they were able to execute and make it work."
McMaster head coach Jenn Smith said her team played their best match of the season.
"Our girls peaked at just the right time and we were hungry for the victory," Smith said. "We have really strong forwards and we changed the focus of our team to emphasizing that advantage over other teams. We have a lot of girls who are graduating and they had something to prove."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999