Western ready to cook Gryphons
Ruggers thwart invading Warriors
A smashing season
A smashing season
By Anthony Thomas
Both the men's and women's tennis teams hope their young guns will be blazing this weekend for their opening tournaments.
Men's assistant coach Dino Sarcoretto said despite the losses of great players like Dave Dodge and Brendan Collins from last year's Ontario University Athletics championship squad, the team can be successful this year. "I must admit this could be the best team that we have had since I have started coaching here," Sarcoretto said. "I didn't expect this, I know that we lost some good players from last year but some good young players have come."
The men also have some great returning players such as Asier Ania and team captain Jamie Dunnett. "We have only three returning players and the rest of the guys are all new but from what I have seen they are really good players," Dunnett said. "We have a potentially good number two guy in Jordan Caldwell."
Sarcoretto also had high praise for young Caldwell. "I expect lots from Jordan Caldwell, its just practice but we will see what happens this weekend under a little bit of stress and pressure."
Dunnett notes that Caldwell is not the only bright spot. "This whole lineup is stacked with players like Rob Mooreland and Asier who were down in the States on scholarship for a few years," Dunnett said proudly. "I would say that this year is the best team we have had."
York University's tennis coach Eric Bojesen said he believes the Western men will have a strong team, but are not assured to repeat as champions. "They have a good chance to repeat but they will be pushed by Queen's [university] who have added some strength and challenged by McMaster [university]."
Both Dunnett and Sarcoretto agreed that Queen's and McMaster will be the teams to beat.
The men's goal is to make the playoffs. "I know that the playoffs are at home this year and it would be an embarrassment if we couldn't make the playoffs," Sarcoretto explained. "First we will make the playoffs and then its anyone's game from there."
The women don't know what to expect yet. "We have a fairly new team," said coach Suzie Hatch. "We only have four people back so we have five new faces on the team. It is a pretty young and unproven team.
"We are hoping to do at least as well or better than last year which was fifth out of eight teams."
First-year player Erica Biser pointed out that the women's team has a lot of depth. "There are nine players on the team and anyone of them can beat the number one or number two [players]. Everyone is pretty evenly matched," Biser stated. "As a team I think we are pretty good but I do not know what the other teams are like."
Before the first weekend it is really tough to predict where teams are going to finish, Bojesen said. "Nobody tells you who they have. After the first weekend you have an idea of what they have."
Hatch said she is eagerly awaiting this weekend's tournaments. "I am interested to see how we are going to measure up against the other teams. Our team has a lot of depth and players have nice attitudes they are all hard workers."
The women will face down Waterloo and Queen's in Waterloo and the men will meet York university and McGill universityin York on Saturday.
Both Dunnett and Hatch said they are hoping increased interest in professional tennis will improve interest in university tennis. "The game of tennis is getting a lot of notoriety these days and hopefully that will carry over to Western tennis," Dunnett said. "I don't think that the interest has been higher since the early '80s," Hatch added.