Volume 93, Issue 11
Thursday, September 16, 1999
Real hockey players wear kilts
©Gazette file photo
CAN YOU BELIEVE THEY PLAY THIS SPORT ON ICE? Western's field hockey team is prepared to show how real hockey is played in kilts on an unfrozen surface.
By Sean Maraj
Bring out the sticks, bring out the ball and bring on the competition. The field hockey season has begun and after a strong finish to last year, Western's women's team is looking to make it to the top of the Ontario University Athletics conference.
The team opened their season last weekend with a double-header against the Waterloo Athenas and the Guelph Gryphons. When the smoke cleared, the Mustangs managed to tie Waterloo 0-0 and defeat -Guelph 1-0.
"The team is shaping up really well. Waterloo is the favourite this season, we're moving forward in the right direction," said assistant coach Karen Murtaugh.
According to team captain and fourth-year kinesiology student Jenn Symmes, last season was a rebuilding year and this season most of those veterans are returning. Despite a coaching change over the summer and an influx of rookies to the team, which has inevitably changed the team's chemistry, Symmes remained confident her team will do well.
"Everything looks really strong, a good crop of rookies coming in and a good coaching in [the new coach] Keith Consisom and Karen Murtaugh. I definitely see us in the top three," she said.
When asked about the Mustang's strong points, Symmes remained confident. "[It's] our unity. We're a close team, we don't have a bunch of superstars working on their own, we have focus. The rookies coming in have a lot of talent." she said.
However, the Mustangs have more than team chemistry to overcome this year. The team must also overcome the fact they have no games at Western this year. "It's always nice to have the home support, the travelling does take its toll. It would be nice to have [a home game] this year," Symmes said.
Symmes explained the Mustangs are forced to play away all season because Western does not have an astroturf surface to play on. Although the they currently practice on grass, they play their games on astroturf in away games. "Trying to match a practice surface against astroturf is a problem," Symmes said.
Despite these problems, Murtaugh is still confident the team has what it takes to overcome the hurdles placed before them this year. "We seem a lot stronger overall. We have a lot of new things to work on. It's going to take some time."
Gryphons head coach Karen Lee, one of Western's top competitors in the OUA, said she sees the Western team as one of their main competitors. "Waterloo is the strongest competition followed by [University of Toronto], who are the number one team," she said. "Western has been our competition for 20 years. Western is always very competitive and defends very well."
The next game for the field hockey team is Saturday in Toronto versus Queen's University.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999