Volume 96, Issue 15
Tuesday, September 24, 2002

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Mustangs swat the Varsity Blues, but lose to York

By Sue Cardenas
Gazette Staff

Niru Somayajula/Gazette

THINK HOW HARD IT WOULD BE TO PLAY TENNIS WITH A SPOON. Alexandra Kowalewski and her tennis teammates kicked off their season on Saturday with a win over U of T and loss to York, both played here at Western.

TD Waterhouse Stadium wasn't the only site of high drama on Saturday.

Defending OUA champions York University and the always strong University of Toronto Blues made a visit to Western to trade break points and aces with the women's tennis team.

Western earned a split on Saturday, beating U of T, but falling to York. The team goes into the new season with not only new players, but with a new coach.

"It is very exciting to have such a fun and hard working group of girls this year with a great new coach," said player Diana Hanson, who dropped her singles match against York, but bounced back for a singles win over Toronto.

Veteran Mustang Jacqueline Green said the outlook for this year's team is bright, adding Saturday marked the first time Western has defeated Toronto in three years.

"This year's team contains a lot of talent and depth. Western tennis has a lot to prove to our school and the community. Everybody's hard work and contribution today has put us well on our way to becoming the best in Ontario," Green said.

The day started with Western playing the defending OUA champions York University.

"For our first match, I'm very pleased how our team played – we lost the doubles point in a tie-breaker and we had two singles matches go to 3 sets. Some of the rookies saw action and competed very well. Through the season, we should get stronger and stronger," said new head coach Mike Richards.

Despite the loss to York, the day was far from over – the team still had to play the University of Toronto Blues.

Mustang Heather Bialkowski said she was encouraged by the fact that when Western needed to turn up their game a notch, they responded well.

"The competition was tough, but we managed to pull through when we needed it most. Although our team lost to York, we are eager to face them again at OUAs," Bialkowski said.

Bialkowski and her partner Jenn Kane defeated both York (8-6) and U of T (8-0) in doubles.

As always, there were things that went right for the Mustangs and things that could have gone better. Despite gaining their first victory, Richards said Western had some work to do.

"[We're] excited we got our first win of the season. [Now it's] back to more practice [to] improve and prepare for our next matches here on Sept. 28," he said.

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2002 THE GAZETTE