Volume 93, Issue 80

Thursday, March 2, 2000


Not just Gravel in the fish pond

Murtaugh: hockey's lethal weapon

Strawberry out of season this year

Murtaugh: hockey's lethal weapon

By Jayson Babel
Gazette Writer

As time runs out on the Western career of indoor hockey manager Karen Murtaugh, it becomes obvious she's done it all. When it comes to coaching to leading her team on the field, she's been there and done that.

Nicknamed "Zippy," Murtaugh began playing field hockey in junior high school when she was introduced to the sport at the club level. Grasped by the game, she was originally attracted to the travelling aspect of the club team she joined.

She played for five years at Western and was praised by her indoor hockey teammate Jen Symmes for her skills. "[She has] quickness, amazing stick handling and ability to anticipate," Symmes said.

Next year, Murtaugh will hang up her shoes in university competition as she moves on to Queen's University in pursuit of a career in medicine. In her roles as coach and player in both indoor and outdoor field hockey at Western, she became a valuable asset to the program, according to indoor hockey coach Keith Concisom.

"Karen [has] experience and intense knowledge of the game. Karen brings a different element of leadership and experience to the team," Concisom said. "Having participated as a coach in the outdoor season, she thinks like a coach and is a greater threat on the field."

With Murtaugh in the lineup for one last season, Concisom said the indoor team has its best chance to medal. Although Concisom said he thought the team was among the top four in Ontario, he recognized the unpredictability of the sport. "Any team can beat any other team on any given day," he said.

Team co-captain Symmes, shared her coach's sentiments and said she counted on Murtaugh's experience and ability to propel the team into the Ontario University Athletics championships.

"Right now we've got a chance to do really well, we're right up there with the top teams," Symmes said. "I expect to medal, we've got all our starters back and that's including Karen, so hopefully we can capitalize on that and do really well."

Murtaugh said she expected to medal this season, which would add excellence to her final chapter with the Mustangs. She added field hockey has been a defining part of her life and she would miss the competition, as well as her teammates.

Murtaugh attributed one of the best aspects of the sport to the people she's met. "It's great to have a group of people that, not only that you play with, but have fun with as well."

When asked about her plans for field hockey at Queen's, Murtaugh said she was unsure. "I don't think I'll play there, whether or not I'll be involved I don't know. They have their own team and in a way I'm ready to move on," she said. "For the most part, I think my university field hockey will be over when I leave here."

Concisom said he would be sad to see Murtaugh move on, but was proud of her many accomplishments, such as being named a rookie of the year in her first year and gaining recognition as an all-star.

"I am most proud of watching her become one of the most dominant players in the league and having had something to do with that," he said.

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