Volume 95, Issue 24
Tuesday, October 16, 2001
Winning like it's nobody's business
A perfect start, despite being wet behind the ears
By Melissa Wall
With only two games under their Speedos, the men's water polo team seem to be accomplishing their goals for the 2001-2002 season.
The men placed third in the Ontario University Athletics Championships last year and had aspirations of another strong showing this year, as they kicked-off the season against York University and the University of Toronto on Saturday.
In their first game of the new season, Western faced York winning 18-9 before downing Toronto 9-4 to jump out to a 2-0 start. With a mixture of old and new on the team, chemistry was tough to come by as the men struggled to get a feel for their new teammates.
"In the first game, we played pretty good. It was the first time we have played as a whole team, so our defence was a little rusty," captain Jim MacLachlan said.
Once they gained more familiarity with the playing styles of their teammates and that of York, the Mustangs became a powerful presence in the pool. By the time they played U of T, Western was firing on all cylinders.
The Mustangs started the game strong, scoring two goals in the first quarter. The defence proved to be much stronger in the second game, as U of T was held scoreless in the first half.
MacLachlan noted on the increased continuity of the Mustangs during their second game. "We had good defense and our communication was a lot better. We were used to playing with each other, so it was a lot smoother," he said.
U of T captain Jamie Halla said the Mustangs didn't let up. "We came out hard, but Western started out strong and held it there."
Western kept going strong on defence, allowing only four goals. The offense proved to be strong as well, tallying nine goals by the final whistle.
Halla said he and his teammates knew it would be a battle against the Mustangs. "Coming into the game we knew Western was a good team, they have a lot of returning players. We expected it to be a hard game. We are a young team we lost a lot of our strong players, but I'm happy with how we played," he said.
Despite the loss to Western, Halla said he is optimistic about his team's chances in the very tight OUA conference. "The season is going to be competitive. We have a good chance of making it to the final four and playing in the gold medal game."
As for the Mustangs, the experience and determination they showed against both teams is something they are counting on to propel them through the rest of their season as they prepare for the OUA championships.
"We have [a] positive outlook for the season. I'm happy with the first two games. Our goal is to win. We expect to be one of the stronger teams. We have a good chance of winning the championships, [but] it's going to be close," Western's coach Ray Lumsden said.
Copyright © The Gazette 2001