Volume 95, Issue 32

Tuesday, October 30, 2001
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Sweet revenge is best served with a football

Mustangs havin' a ball on the field

'In the Cheap Seats'

Silver and bronze tennis medals

Women's rugby ends with a win

Sweet revenge is best served with a football

Mustangs pay back Warriors in playoffs

By Dave Martin
Gazette Staff

Being soundly beaten in front of over 10,000 supporters has to leave a fiery wound etched deep in the pit of your stomach – a terminal ulcer for which the only cure is redemption.

A month after a spoiled Homecoming game, the Western men's football team took revenge in its sweetest form Saturday afternoon, defeating the Waterloo Warriors 19-11 in OUA first round playoff action.

As is often the case in a hard fought game between two skilled teams, the outcome is decided through small details like special teams and turnovers, and this time the Mustangs had the advantage in both departments.

Western started to roll early in the second quarter when a blocked punt deep in the Waterloo end by defensive back Brian Tock led to a rushing touchdown by Drew Soleyn.

Late in the game, with only a minute remaining and Waterloo pressing for an equalizing touchdown, a fumble on the three-yard line delivered a death blow to the Warriors.

Waterloo head coach Chris Triantafilou felt the game was very even, except for those two big plays.

"Turnovers were simply the difference between the two teams – the punt block and us turning it over at the end," Triantafilou said.

Soleyn, who ran for 118 yards in Saturday's game, pointed out afterwards how important those plays were for the Mustangs.

"Our special teams came up big and our defence played phenomenally. The punt block was absolutely huge for us and our defence stopped them at the end right when it counted," Soleyn said.

Beth Kerim/Gazette
I'VE GOT YOUR BACK. Mustang running back Paul Attia (33) provides some much needed safety for kicker Rob Pikula (73).

The Mustang defence played extremely tough throughout the entire game, shutting down Waterloo's offence, even though they were without a key starter in running back Mike Bradley.

Western head coach Larry Haylor was very pleased with the defence and noted the difference in Waterloo's offence made by Bradley's absence.

"Our defence played consistently well throughout the full game, leaving [the Warriors] not much at all. I honestly would've rather played against Bradley because in big games like this – you want to match up against the best they have to offer," Haylor said.

Starting quarterback Chris Hessel, who threw for 245 yards and one touchdown, noted how well the defence played and was happy the Mustang offence has recently come together.

"For the last four weeks, both sides of the ball have been getting better and better – especially the offence. We're clicking now as a full unit and finally starting to complement our defence, which has done a great job all year," Hessel said.

Though the freezing winds and the shadow of academic duty looming on the horizon kept away a large number of onlookers – brave sports fans in the bleachers gave all they could muster in cheering on their team. Hessel said that being at home gave the Mustangs an advantage.

"Our crowd support definitely helped us out – giving us a big boost all through the game," Hessel said.

With the win, the Mustangs now move on to Hamilton to meet the undefeated McMaster Mauraders next week at 1 p.m. in the OUA semi-finals. Haylor said he knows defeating Mac will be tough.

"They are a very confident team and I think they have the best balanced offence and defence in the OUA. We're going to have to have a great game offensively, defensively and on special teams, but we're not going there to sit down and lose – they definitely know that," Haylor said.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001