Volume 96, Issue 7
Tuesday, September 10, 2002

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Redemption on the minds of Mustangs

Niru Somayajula/Gazette

FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL. Western Mustangs fullback Lena Hesselmans attempts to keep the soccer ball away from a Fanshawe Falcon defender.

By Jordan Bell
Gazette Staff


The academic institution sarcastically referred to as "Funshawe College" definitely didn't have fun on Friday night.

Fanshawe's women's soccer team got their ass handed to them by the Western Mustangs to the tune of a 4-1 defeat.

What makes it even worse is that the Mustangs were missing 2001 Canadian Interuniversity Sport Rookie of the Year, striker Cristina Bonasia (fresh off a yanking of the wisdom teeth), as well as fullback Julie Jansen and four other integral veterans.

Midfielder Meaghan Doucet spurred the offensive outburst, scoring two goals and adding two assists. Striker Jessica Van Dyk and rookie midfielder Anna Chudyk added a goal a piece.

Despite the fact Fanshawe isn't a heavyweight on the soccer circuit, Mustangs head coach Mark Eys (2001 CIS Coach of the Year) said he was pleased with the results of the team thus far.

"At this stage, we're happy [with the progress]," Eys said. "Obviously we're nowhere near where we want to be, but neither are any of the teams that we've played. Winning the old fours is a step we wanted to take and tonight's another warm-up for us."

The "old fours" Eys alluded to was last weekend's Old Four Tournament at McGill University. The Mustangs recorded a 2-0 victory over Queen's and a 2-1 win over host McGill.

Western is coming off an extremely disheartening season last year in which they produced a phenomenal 9-0-1 regular season record, but were denied entry to the "big dance," the 2001 CIS National Championship, because they lost to Queen's 1-0 in their Ontario University Athletics semi-final.

"We came just a little bit short of getting to where we wanted to be last year," Bonasia said. "We have one goal this year – we want to get to Alberta (host of the 2002 nationals). We think we have the girls to do it."

The Mustangs return with a veteran-laden lineup, along with some fresh faces. Bonasia will undoubtedly be the focal point of the offense, coming off a stellar rookie season in which she scored 12 goals. If the hardware grab continues, Bonasia will be turning her trophy room into a trophy warehouse.

The Mustangs, however, aren't a one woman outfit. Van Dyk is another spark plug on the offensive end and goalie Noelle Carbone is a stopper in every sense of the word.

Add fullbacks Lena Hesselmans and Jansen, as well as midfielders Chrystal Johnston, Eva Havaris and Doucet, and the Mustangs once again appear to be headed for OUA prominence. Eys believes the holes that existed at the end of last year have been filled with a compelling rookie class.

"We have 12 veterans and eight rookies," Eys said. "We're extremely excited about the first-year players – they're filling a variety of spots left by graduations. We're fairly deep."

Women's soccer in Canada seems to have catapulted to the top of the pecking order, as seen by the support for the sport's international governing body FIFA, Under-19 World Championship.

"I think a lot of people have geared their attention towards women's soccer," Jansen said.

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2002 THE GAZETTE