Volume 96, Issue 81
Wednesday, March 5, 2003

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Western teams caught slacking over break

By Jordan Bell
Gazette Staff

Boyz II Men's hit song "End of the Road" could be aptly used to describe Western Mustangs athletics this year.

While most of the Western population was basking in the Mexican sun, skiing the slopes of Whistler or, if unlucky, working its ass off in dreary London, the Western Mustangs athletic teams were dropping like flies.

Every Western team has bit the proverbial bullet, save the track and field team and the women's curling team. Listed below is the athletic carnage that took place over Slack Week.

Men's Basketball

Niru Somayajula/Gazette
THE END OF AN ERA. Mustangs point guard Jimmy Grozelle couldn't muster another 50 point game against Lakehead, but he will be remembered for the sheer determination he exhibited during his time at Western.

The men's basketball team experienced highs and lows all season, making it very difficult to predict how the young squad would fare in the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the Mustangs drew the Lakehead Thunderwolves in the first round of the Ontario University Athletics West playoffs. Like the Mustangs, the Thunderwolves were an extremely inconsistent team this season, but seemed to contain the perfect nucleus to challenge the third place Mustangs because of their massive height advantage, especially with 6'10" centre James Purcell and 6'6" forward Dan Zapior.

The Thunderwolves jumped out to a 19-1 first half lead and it appeared like the strong Western crowd was in for a rude awakening. However, the Mustangs fought valiantly, coming up just short when a few Jimmy Grozelle long bombs ironed out. The final score was 85-76 in favour of the Thunderwolves.

It was an emotional night for the Mustangs, as it marked the last game in a Western uniform for guard Mark Porte and Western's biggest little man Jimmy Grozelle.

The Mustangs finished with a 12-10 regular season record, good for third in the OUA West. Grozelle was named to the first team All-OUA and guard Adam Peaker was named to the second team.

Women's Basketball

The female Mustangs fared a tad better than the men, advancing to the OUA West semi-finals, but like the men, their season came to a premature end.

The final blow came at the hands of the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks. The Golden Hawks didn't just beat the Mustangs, they completely decimated them in convincing fashion, 84-59.

Guard Julie Lamparski led the Mustangs with 15 points and forward Joanne Chehade added 10. The Mustangs finished the season in third place in the OUA West with a 14-7 record.

Men's Hockey

Lennie Kwan/Gazette
HOW THE MIGHTY FALL. The perfect year is over, but at least they lost to a team from Ontario and not Quebec.

Who would've thunk it?

The Mustangs and their perfect regular season record were stunned, shocked, amazed and even astonished when they lost their best of three OUA Far West playoff series to the Lakehead Thunderwolves in two straight games.

The Mustangs and the Thunderwolves had an ongoing rivalry all season. Early in the year the Thunderwolves grabbed two victories in Lakehead, but those victories were later deemed invalid because the Thunderwolves used an ineligible player.

On Jan. 24, the Mustangs embarrassed the Thunderwolves 9-2 and promptly handed Lakehead another loss, this time by a 5-4 margin, the next night at Thompson Arena. It appeared the Mustangs had gained the upper hand in their rivalry.

But when the stakes were at their highest, the Mustangs couldn't win the pot. They put their backs against the wall when they lost Game 1 5-2 in Thunder Bay. Their storied season ended with a 2-1 overtime loss this past Saturday in front of the Western faithful.

Centre Joe Talbot finished the season with 38 points and right winger Brad Yeo added 35. Right wing Tim Zafiris notched 17 goals and stellar goalie Mike D'Alessandro finished second in Canada with a 1.98 goals against average.

Western will play host to the Queen's Cup tournament this weekend. Lakehead, York University, the University of Toronto and the always entertaining UQTR will battle for OUA supremacy.

Men's Volleyball

The men's volleyball team was young – extremely young. But the squad carried a late season streak to grab some impressive victories.

The first came against former head coach Dave Preston and the McMaster Marauders, which sent the Mustangs into the playoff draw. They took that victory and cruised with it, upsetting the Queen's Golden Gaels in a breathtaking five set match in Kingston.

Unfortunately, the Mustangs couldn't solve the Guelph Gryphons and their fabulous rookie right side hitter Chris Simek.

Left side Peter Sidler led the Mustangs in three major categories: points with 3.93 per match, kills with 3.15 per match and aces with 0.31 per match.

Women's Volleyball

The women's squad had a disappointing showing in the OUA final four, which was contested the weekend after Western students were bound for beaches.

The Mustangs once again lost to the York Yeowomen, a team they had continued trouble with all season, by a score of 3-2. And to make matters worse, the Mustangs dropped the bronze medal game to the Guelph Gryphons 3-0.

However, the season wasn't all bad for the purple and white. The Mustangs got a terrific contribution from graduating senior left side Lyn Christensen, who led the OUA in points and kills per game, as well as their other graduating player, right side Jessica Powell.

The Mustangs return a young lineup next season, so the squad should be in the thick of the playoff hunt. Left side Jill Pardy and middles Kyla Simpson and Jameela Lencucha will be integral parts of the Mustangs next year.

The Rest

It wasn't all losing and hanging heads on campus over slack week. Many teams and individuals carried home trophies and victories.

For the second straight season, the Mustangs figure skating team brought home an OUA championship. In 15 events, the Mustangs had 11 medalists, most notably Leanne Moir with gold in the Ladies Singles and the Pairs Fours, Laura Boehmer with gold in the Solo Dance and Senior Silver Similar Dance, Julie South with gold in the Senior Silver Similar Dance and Bronze Rhythm, Nancy Ford with gold in the Dance Variation and Bronze Rhythm, Liz Love with gold in the Dance Variation and Bronze Rhythm and Diana Hyde with gold in the Pairs Fours and the Bronze Rhythm.

This past weekend in St. Catharines, Ayman Ezzeddine wrestled to the best finish for a Mustang at the Canadian Interuniversity Sports championships, placing third in the 76 kilogram weight class. Celebrated female wrestler and former Purple Pipe winner Terri McNutt finished just out of the medals with a fourth place finish.

The women's track and field team continued their dominance, winning the OUA championships at York University. The defending National Champions came into the competition ranked third in the OUA, but bucked the odds to win. Jenn Moskal won silver across the board in her four events: the 600 metres, the 1,000m, the 4 x 400m relay and the 4 x 800m relay. Ashley MacNeill won silver in the 60m hurdles and a gold in the 4 x 200m relay. And to cap the successful meet off, Tanya Krynen dominated the competition in the pole vault, winning gold with a personal best 3.66m vault.

The men's track squad finished third at the OUA finals.


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