Women return favour to McGill
By Josh Logan
After qualifying for the Ontario University Athletics championships
last weekend, the Western Mustangs women's tennis team looked
to capture their first league title since 1992 at home last
The Mustangs headed into Friday's semi-final with a rematch
of last year's women's championship against the York Lions,
the two-time defending champions.
The Lions started out strong by sweeping all three doubles
matches and easily took the single point in the recently adapted
-game pro set- format. Next came the six singles matches to
determine who would advance to Saturday's final against Toronto.
York's top player Natasha Kimberg, who has been named Ontario's
top singles champ the past two years, defeated Western's Jacqueline
Green while OUA Athlete of the Week, Helen Wong, snuck by Ola
Kowaleski of the Mustangs, both earning single points for the
Western victories came late in the day courtesy of Heather
Bialkowski and Diana Hanson. Bialkowski fought off a booming
serve throughout the match and a few costly double faults allowed
her to successfully contribute one point to the Mustangs.
Hanson endured her opponent in a match that tested patience
and ability on the baseline as she earned a second point for
the Mustangs on the last match of the day.
However, it was too little too late for the Mustangs as York
ended up winning four of the six singles matches, giving them
a 5-2 victory. York coach Mike Mitchell couldn't have been
more content with the outcome.
"We've stuck with the same line-up all year -we're very
strong physically and we have tremendous depth," Mitchell
said. "We're getting more contribution from our younger
players who have filled our middle positions of the line-up
to give us that added sense of confidence."
York defeated Western by the same margin of victory earlier
in the season and with the victory advanced to Saturday's final
On Saturday, Western stepped into the Western Tennis Centre
with aspirations of a third place finish against the same McGill
Redmen team that had defeated the Mustangs on their home court
in last week's qualifier.
The Mustangs struck early and often as they hit winner after
winner and painted a fresh set of lines on a shaken Redmen
squad. Western downed McGill by a final team score of 5-1 and
repaid the favour of handing them a loss when it counted.
"It was a big win for us today against McGill and we
got some revenge on the same team we lost to last week. We
got a few key performances, especially out of Diana Hanson,
who lost her first set 2-6 but ended up coming back and clinching
it for us with 6-3 and 6-2 victories," said first-year
coach Mike Richards following the match.
The Mustangs wind down their season by heading to Detroit
next Wednesday to challenge Wayne State and finally to Bowling
Green University next Friday.
The York Lions went on to defeat the Toronto Varsity Blues
in convincing fashion (6-1) and took their third consecutive
OUA women's tennis championship.