Volume 93, Issue 11

Thursday, September 16, 1999


Real hockey players wear kilts

Symmering over the hockey field

Pete Sampras is the best tennis player in the world

Western lacrosse team ready to net another year

Magical origins of field hockey

Western lacrosse team ready to net another year

By Wes Brown
Gazette Staff

It's time to get ready to score with yellow rubber balls.

The Western women's lacrosse team is pumped and ready for the season – a year sure to bring improvement especially after the team ended up fourth last year in the Ontario University Athletics finals.

Anne Henderson, captain and player coach for the women's team, said last year's placement was just a matter of not being able to pull it together in the final tournament of the season.

"Last year we were basically a player run and coached team until we picked up [team coach] Marc [Picard] late in the season. Most of the time the girls understood my role as both coach and player but sometimes there were some problems," Henderson said.

Women's lacrosse finally gained OUA status after the hard work of many past and present players such as Henderson. Five years ago every university was in the same boat, trying to gain varsity status. However, Henderson said, Western now is the only non-varsity team in the women's league.

"No other schools have to worry about insurance or financial concerns. They all have paid coaches and full funding. The thing is we are a cheap sport to play and would only cost the university $2,500 for the entire season – something the girls are now paying out of their own pockets," she said.

As for this season, Henderson said they are going to do really well with the 18 to 20 women on their roster.

"We're going to be a surprise team this year. [Other universities] have been saying that we have been rebuilding for the past four years but we always seem to be there come the end of the season," she added.

Picard commented on last season's finale as a little bit of a playoff let down but said this year the team is really going for it. "We lost five or six players to graduation from last year but we have a lot of new people coming out and the team is looking even better than last year."

University athletics is presently re-evaluating the varsity program. At this time there is a freeze in place and Picard said he is glad the team is getting some recognition after being invited to the athletic banquet last year.

"For this season, we would like to go into the final tournament in second place. To do that we're going to have to be fast, move the ball quickly and count on key returning veterans like Monica Brown, Maggie Hinkson and captain Anne Henderson," Picard said.

Tom Hawke, coach of the Guelph Gryphons, said Western was the only team to break up their perfect regular season, tying them twice during last season's campaign.

"If it were not for Western's slow start last season they would have definitely finished higher in the standings. I'm not sure how many [players] they lost to graduation but their program has been strong for years," Hawke said.

The east division is expected to be even stronger this year with McMaster University and the University of Toronto leading the way. Hawke credits their strength to the amount of developed high school players from the Durham region and other feeder schools.

"As for us, we had another wave of graduation and will be fighting to put together the type of season we had last year. I guess you can say that this is our rebuilding year, it will be a while until we're strong again," he said.

Head coach of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, Todd Pepper said he sees the profile of field lacrosse improving across Ontario. "It is an official sport in the OUA," he said. "We have been trying for years before that to get it's status and now we have it."

Pepper said they are hoping to build on last year's season. "We placed second last year and want to reach the finals again. We have new players this year who have experience in the game so we are looking forward to the season."

The Gryphons will meet the Mustangs on Sept. 25 in a tournament involving teams from the west division.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999