Volume 95, Issue 5

Friday, September 7, 2001
 
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SPORTS

If only multiple choice exams were this good...

Like gypsies? Our editors peer into their crystal football

Bucs will make the rest of the NFC walk the plank

A look into the OUA

Mustangs to beef up on offence

Diehards drool over Western athletics

One day lacrosse could be boss

Keep off the frosh 15: Staying fit in junk food heaven

Soccer team to work on their offensive firepower

In the stands or on the field, Mustangs never die

Soccer team to work on their offensive firepower

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff

It's one thing to not get invited to the big dance and never know what you're missing, but it's quite another to get an invitation one year only to be shunned the next and told you no longer belong to the "in" crowd.

The Western men's soccer team has some experience with the sting of not attaining lofty expectations. After consecutive national triumphs in 1998 and 1999, the Mustangs failed to qualify for the post-season last year due, in large part, to a lack of scoring that made for a plethora of low scoring squared matches.

Western head coach Rock Basacco said increased scoring punch is a prime objective for this year's squad, but it is by no means the only area this team is striving to improve.

"Finishing will be a key. Obviously, you've got to put the ball in the net. Six ties will not be good enough to put us in the play-offs, we've always been strong defensively and hopefully that will continue this year," Basacco said.

Solid play at both ends of the field will be a must for the Mustangs this year if they hope to excel in a tough OUA West division. Basacco left no doubt who Western's main competition will be within their division, this year.

"Definitely Laurier, being the defending national champs. I think it's a credit to the OUA West that the last three national titles [Western '98, '99, Laurier '00] have come from there."

The Mustangs will be hurt by the departure of their former co-captains Mike Potts and Justin Tasev. However, the loss will be compensated by the return of defender John Hassen, who has swapped positions with Potts.

Last year, Hassen was on the sidelines as an assistant coach, while Potts piloted the defensive core. This year it will be Potts pacing on the sideline while Hassen anchors the defence.

Hassen identified increasing team chemistry, one of his goals this year. "I really want to get the team to gel. I want to lead by example, but I also want to have all the guys share in the responsibility," he said.

One of the men who will be counted on heavily is striker Glen Duer. Duer led the Mustangs in scoring last year and if the sputtering offence is to hit its stride, Duer will no doubt be one of the main contributors.

"I'm looking to do whatever it takes," Duer said. "If I've got to lead the [CIS] in scoring or if it takes passing off to my teammates, then that's what I've got to do."

Basacco confirmed Western is hungry to reassert itself as a soccer power.

"Once you've tasted nationals, you really want to get back, but we need to take it a step at a time. Winning the OUA West would be a key goal because you then host a play-off game. Getting to the OUA championship game is another because you automatically qualify for nationals," Basacco said.

The Mustangs will try to put their best foot forward on the road back to the nationals when they kick-off the season by hosting Windsor on Saturday, Sept 15 in our very own TD Waterhouse Stadium.




To Contact The Sports Department:
gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 2000