Volume 95, Issue 10
Tuesday, September 18, 2001
'Stangs record continues to improve
Women start off on right foot
By Dave Martin
Sunday afternoon the Western women's soccer team defeated the Guelph Gryphons 1-0 in a hard fought battle bumping their weekend and season record to an impressive 2-0.
Last year, the women mustered just three wins the entire season making the hot start this year a statement and showing the tide has turned.
Head coach Mark Eys said he was pleased with the victory, but was worried about the team's slow start.
"We finished the game strong and pushed [until] the end to get the victory, but in the first half we didn't come out hard. We were permissive and didn't challenge the ball well," he said.
Eys also noticed an increased intensity in the second half.
"We came out on all cylinders in the second half and, versus a strong team like Guelph, you've got to be playing at your best to win. We created more chances for ourselves and capitalized on them. Guelph had several in the first half and luckily for us, they didn't convert," Eys said.
Guelph head coach Laurie Halfpenny-Mitchell almost echoed those exact words about the difference between the two teams.
"I thought we dominated the first half creating a lot of opportunities, but we just couldn't take advantage of those chances. Western came out stronger in the second half and it turned into a very intense game, really rough with a lot of pushing. They capitalized on one of their chances and in a 1-0 game, that's all it takes to get the victory," Halfpenny-Mitchell said.
Even with the two victories, coach Eys still knew exactly what the focus of upcoming practices is going to be.
"We're definitely going to continue to work on our defensive systems. We've defined this in our plan and have to focus on pressure situations and properly supporting the ball in our own zone," Eys said.
In testament to Eys' statement, the team didn't allow a goal in either game this weekend. A 2-0 victory over Windsor on Saturday was behind the back-to-back shutouts of goalkeeper Noelle Carbone.
Christina Bonasia potted the winning goal early into the second half Sunday, as well as scoring a goal in Saturday's game. The rookie forward said she felt Saturday's game against Windsor was a complete team effort.
"I thought we played a really solid game for the entire 90 minutes. We've got a lot of depth on this team and was a major factor in pulling through for the victory," Bonasia said.
Even Halfpenny-Mitchell noted Western had an advantage because of how well they worked as a team.
"They've got a lot of game experience and played very well as a unit. We're a young team and in a high-intensity match like today, that comfort level in game situations makes a big difference," said Halfpenny-Mitchell.
The women will try to keep their undefeated season going next Saturday as they take on the Laurier Golden Hawks at JW Little Stadium. Game time is 1 p.m..
Copyright © The Gazette 2001