Volume 93, Issue 31
Tuesday, October 26, 1999
Mustangs feel the winter chill
©Graphic by Colin Butler
By Sean Maraj
Toronto can be many things, but this past weekend it was rainy and cold. These were the conditions faced by the Western field hockey team as they played their last tournament of the regular season.
The Mustangs played three games, tying Queen's University 0-0, beating Carleton University 1-0 and losing to McGill University 1-0. Western finished the season fourth in Ontario with a 7-4-5 record and are now preparing for the playoffs which start next week.
Mustang captain and midfielder Jenn Symmes said she was disappointed with the team's showing and pointed to the weather and anxiety over the upcoming playoff weekend as major factors in the team's play. "The cold affected our speed and the surface. The ball was moving faster and it was hard to control the passing," she said. "The final game was practice for the [playoffs] to work out the kinks."
Western head coach Keith Concisom also pointed to the weather affecting his team's play. However, he said the weekend was a good experience.
"Because we practice in Thompson arena we're pampered. We're not used to playing in the cold, it did upset us quite a bit," he said. "There was a struggle this weekend, but it makes us stronger."
For Carleton, the game was their last chance to claim the final playoff spot in the league. Head coach Terry Wheatley-Magee said she was satisfied, despite their loss. "We played great and had 80 per cent of the play that was wonderful for us. We had most of the chances [to score], the outcome wasn't what I wanted, but I was very pleased," she said.
Unlike the Mustangs, Wheatley-Magee said she did not see the harsh weather conditions as a problem for her team, who are used to playing outdoors on a regular basis. "The team was ready for it and it wasn't a problem."
The Mustangs will still go into next weekend as favourites for a win in the OUA championships, said Symmes, who added she was confident in their chances and thought the only thing stopping the team was themselves.
"The pressure on the team is from within," she said. "We have to come in strong mentally, we have the skills, system, plays and the frame of mind."
Concisom also said his team had the potential to overcoming any pressure they might experience and do well in the playoffs.
"The pressure is more for us to execute. If we do that, things will unfold," he said. "If we don't execute, the other teams will be able to exploit us."
The Mustangs open their playoff run next week against Queen's at the Toronto's Lamport stadium.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999