Volume 95, Issue 77

Tuesday, February 19, 2002
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Mustangs board the "K-train"

Three-peat for Mustangs

Marauders up ante for next contest

Three-peat for Mustangs

By Matthew Hills
Gazette Staff

Last Saturday saw more birds flying at Thames Hall than at John Rocker's last visit to Shea stadium.

The cause of all this was the Western Mustangs badminton team winning its third straight Ontario University Athletics badminton championship. During this stretch, the team has gone three consecutive seasons undefeated, comprising a run of 56 wins in a row, while outscoring their opponents an impressive 357-39.

The powerful Western squad dominated the University of Ottawa Gee Gees 9-2 in a final that was never in question. The Mustangs trampled York early Saturday morning to move into the finals.

OUA format requires a round consisting of three men's singles, three women's singles, two men's doubles, two women's doubles and finally one mixed doubles – the winner being the team compiling six or more victories.

Nicole D'Cruz/Gazette
BADMINTON IS AS MUCH ABOUT HAVING STRIKING FORM AS IT IS ABOUT STRIKING BIRDS. The Western badminton team had the right look this weekend, winning Ontario University Athletics gold.

Ottawa, who beat the University of Toronto earlier Saturday morning, was the only team that came close to Western's calibre, with a 12-4 record this season.

Western coach Bill Mason was clearly proud of his team and their performance, describing his squad as "exceptionally deep, with talent at every position."

Mason noted the women's side was particularly strong, having lost only three matches this season, for a record of 95-3. The coach singled out Laura McKerall, Janis Kawamoto and Lauren Winter for their performances this season. All three earned all-star status, with McKerall and Winter completing a perfect year.

Mason was also careful not to take anything away from an "extraordinarily strong" men's team that went 78-10 over the year. Of particular note was the play of Tng Boon Hwa.

"[Boon Hwa] is immensely talented and has really come into his own this year. He's an exceptional singles player, with quick powerful strokes. This year he came through with impressive win after impressive win, his concentration has shone through."

The Gee Gees arrived in London with a berth in the finals on their minds, explained head coach Janet Hugli.

"We were confident we'd make it to the championship and we're really pleased with every performance. We knew though that Western would be really tough," Hugli said, adding this was a rebuilding year for Ottawa, as half of their roster was comprised of rookies.

Western co-captain Kevin Eng, in his fifth and final year with the team, said it was a great experience playing with such an incredibly strong team. Coach Mason described Kevin as a "tower of strength throughout his career."

"Practices were really intense. When you have tournament calibre games in practice, it just pushes you too improve," Eng said.

"Overall, it was a great weekend" said Mason in retrospect, adding "it was a perfect cap to the season."

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Copyright The Gazette 2002