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

Field hockey ready to rock hard and roll fast

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff

People say you have to take advantage of your youth. The Western field hockey team are doing their best to comply with this age-old adage.

The ladies of the turf were in action over the weekend at the Lamport Exhibition tournament in Toronto. The team had mixed results with tough, one goal losses to St. Mary's and the University of Toronto, a win over Queen's and a scoreless draw with York.

Western head coach and former player Jennifer Symmes said although this is a youth laden squad, they will not be a team who rolls over for the competition.

"We have a really young team. Our oldest player is in third-year, so every position is up for grabs. Although we have a young group, we also have a solid group," Symmes said.

While some might be of the mind that with youth, comes inexperience and inevitably mistakes, Symmes said she views the age of this team as a real chance for the entire group of women to step up and lead the way.

"Instead of people looking to one or two key veterans to lead, everybody on the team has been taking the initiative to pick up their role," she said.

Gazette file photo
COMIN' ATCHA! Western women's field hockey action, ran full-throttle the way it should last weekend.

Symmes isn't the only one who sees the young legs on this team as a real advantage. Second-year left winger Alison Cross said she thinks this year's edition of the Mustangs will be able to catch some teams off-guard.

"I think we showed [on the weekend] our youth is to our advantage. We're fit and quick and I think we're going to be somebody for other teams to bargain with."

Cross added she is surprised at how early the character of this team has emerged. "It's really crazy to see all this heart so early. People are going after every ball like it's the last two minutes of the game all the time."

Midfielder Angela Meggs said Western got a good gauge of where they stand in the Ontario University Athletic Conference because of the stiff competition they're up against.

"I think we surprised some teams. York and Toronto are usually one and two [in the province] and we were right with them. We're really excited," she said.

While the roster has already been determined, Symmes said she is still looking to see where all the chips will fall. "What we're looking for now is starters and travellers because we have 20 on the roster, but we can only have 16 on the bench."

The youth theme on this team is not just restricted to the playing field. Symmes herself is in her first year as head coach, after a year as an assistant. She said she's excited to meet this new challenge.

"Last year was hard [as an assistant], this year is easier. I learned a lot from [former head coach] Keith Concisom and I'm feeling confident. It's my chance to give back. I've gotten so much from field hockey at Western."

The real season starts this weekend for the women against York in Toronto

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Copyright The Gazette 2001