Western lays the smack down on Windsor Lancers
Mustangs squash - literally
Mustangs squash - literally
By Wes Brown
The podium was riddled with purple after the Ontario University Athletic Individual Squash championships last Saturday, as both Western's men's and women's teams had two players finish in the top three at the Western hosted event.
For the Western women, Leah Bishop won gold, defeating teammate Leanne Devos in the finals 3-0. On the men's side, Jonathon Dale defeated Waterloo's Sheldon Zimmerman 3-0 while Erik Zaremba defeated teammate Ryan Heider for the bronze 3-2.
Women's head coach Leslie Forsbrey said everyone on the team worked hard all year and added the all Western final was great to see.
"[They] both played awesome," Forsbrey said about the Bishop and Devos match up. "There's a great rivalry between them. Leanne has never beat [Leah], but her game has really come along from the beginning."
Bishop said the weekend games went well, despite playing a lot of Western people over the course of the tournament. "There were six Western people in the top 16 seeds," she said. "Leslie has spent a lot of time with the rookies and the returning players that, plus our depth, has been our keys this season."
McMaster University's women's head coach, Ray Chan-A-Sue, said he was satisfied with his players and was extremely proud of bronze medalist Kim Milne. "She has been solid at her first year of university play," he said about the highlight of the McMaster team.
On the men's side, Western head coach Jack Fairs said the tournament was wide open going in, adding Dale's win was not a major upset, but showed just how much the title was up for grabs. "The competition featured a very balanced group of people. Jonathon was seeded fourth going in, played extremely well and deserved to win."
Dale said final standings featured four Mustangs in the top five places which illustrated the strength of Western's team. "I played Erik [Zaremba] in the semifinals and it was a much tougher match then the one in the finals," he said. "Two years ago I lost in the quarter-finals. This is the first time I've gone this far."
University of Toronto's men's head coach Steve Neilson said the play was good overall with a large turnout. He added the Toronto players finished where he thought they would. "I was seeded eighth and finished eighth. Another one of our guys was seeded fifth and he finished up sixth so there were no real surprises."
Neilson added he had played Dale on two previous occasions this season and commented on what a good player he was.
The next challenge for both Western's men and the women will be next weekend's OUA team championships. Forsbrey said he was confident her women's team would take the championships, something Bishop agreed with entirely. "All the teams at the OUs are out to beat us because they're a little tired of us winning all the time."
As for the men's team final, Fairs said his team was going into the four team event seeded first with Toronto second, Queen's University third and the University of Waterloo in fourth.
Dale said his team hasn't lost all year and doesn't intend to start now. "We're going to meet U of T in the first round and that will be our toughest match of the whole competition. If we can get by them, we definitely have a shot at it."