Volume 95, Issue 7

Wednesday, September 12, 2001
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Field hockey ready to rock hard and roll fast

Too good to be true

Women ruggers turning it up

Women's Rugby Schedule

Women ruggers turning it up

By Dave Martin
Gazette Staff

Last Saturday, the Women's rugby team began the journey of the 2001 season in a tune-up, split-squad set of games versus the Guelph Gryphons.

Concerned more with evaluating their players in game situations than winning or losing, both coaches agreed not to keep an official score.

Western split their squad evenly, whereas Guelph used more of a first-string, second-string idea, leading to domination by Guelph in the first game and a lopsided edge in Western's favour for the second game.

Afterwards, Western head coach Natasha Wesch explained her objectives for the game.

"We were just trying to get a feel for our team out there, rather than going all-out for the victory. We got a chance to take what we've been practicing over the last couple weeks into games situations and see how they turned out. It was also a good opportunity to try out people at different positions and do some experimenting with possibilities for the season," Wesch said.

"This kind of game is what we need to try to get everyone working on the same page," she added. "We've got a lot of players coming in from different teams and different levels and it will just take some time to get the team working as one cohesive unit."

Wesch's counterpart, Guelph head coach Jim Atchkinson, had very similar things to say, noting what a great chance it was for the younger players.

"Our first game had basically our starting 22, minus a couple sidelined with injuries, but the second test gave our younger players a chance to get some game-intensity playing time. Most of them probably won't get too much [playing time] throughout the season so this was a perfect time for them to participate at the university level," Atchkinson said.

Atchkinson said he was also impressed by Western's younger players, commenting there is possibilities to make it into their rotation.

"There was a lot of speed on the second squad for Western and quite a few skilled players that definitely have the potential to play a role on their team during the year," he said.

Even after unexpectedly losing a couple young players from last year, Wesch said she is still excited about the younger talent on the team.

"We've got five players from the junior provincial team that right now are still a little banged up from the summer, but once they're healthy and have gotten accustomed to our system we should be in good shape," she said.

Team co-captain Judy McCartney echoed her coaches sentiment, that, with more practice time, the team would definitely be in good shape.

"We've got a lot of rookies who have great ability and, with a little more game-experience, [they] can really help this team stay competitive. That's why exhibition games like this are a really important building block before we start the season," McCartney said.

Though Wesch didn't seem too concerned with the uneven first game, she acknowledged the team has to keep practicing the basics.

"With only an eight week season, we don't have time to get into anything fancy. We just have to focus on the simple things such as passing and finishing tackles. The real crunch time doesn't start until playoffs, so we just have to make sure we put ourselves in a position to be there in the end," Wesch said.

The Mustangs start their season on Thursday in Windsor and have their home opener on Sunday versus the University of Toronto.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001