Volume 93, Issue 26

Wednesday, March 18, 1999


'Stangs prepped for Bishop's

Singing soccer in the rain

Revenge Mustang style

Kickin' it with Harding

Ruggers get muddy in victory

Mustang rowing rocks the boat

Kickin' it with Harding

By Paul Leeking
Gazette Staff

Explosive. Energetic. Fun. This summarizes forward Amme Harding's play for the Western women's soccer team.

There is no doubt as to whether or not this year's team has what it takes to repeat as Ontario University Athletics champions. Speed, depth, leadership and experience are all integral components of this club. The question for the Mustangs is, are they capable of reaching their pinnacle and sustaining it throughout the rest of the season?

Harding said she thinks the team can achieve this objective. A fourth-year kinesiology student, Harding has emerged as one of the most feared strikers in Ontario this season. As a quiet leader, Harding said she does her best to lead by example, contrasting the more vocal leaders of the club, mid-fielders Carmyn Aleshka and Paula Shore.

In two games last week, Harding tallied game winners against both Laurier and Brock universities. Western assistant coach Peter Russel described the striker simply as "explosive." He noted she is one of the more exciting players to watch.

However, despite recent personal and team success, Harding said she is still bothered by the team's inconsistent play. "We've come a long way, but we have to play the full 90 minutes," she said. "Right now we are only playing about 45 at the peak of our play. We have to stay focused longer."

So what aspect of this team is turning heads all around the country? Harding said she attributes the recent success of the Mustangs to the repertoire and understanding which can only be shared by longtime teammates. The core group of players on the team have been playing under head coach Sherri Kitching for four years and an interesting blend of chemistry has evolved.

"We have always been a closely knit team," Harding said. "We are all friends even after the season and I think that transposes onto the field. We know where each other is going to be, we know each other's strengths and weaknesses and everybody understands and accepts their role."

Harding, a graduate of London's Medway High School, said her experiences playing soccer while growing up have probably been the biggest influence on her career.

"In house league, you need a great coach," Harding said. "I had the same coach for three or four years. Everything was always fun and there was never any shame in losing. That was what made me just love the game."

Harding also noted a strong relationship between the men's and women's team is important, as each team is the other's biggest cheerleader. "There has been more than one fight about what movie to watch," she said about the long bus trips around Ontario.

In the end, Harding maintained the mutual support is important in both teams' morale and success.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999