October 15 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 25  

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Women return favour to McGill

By Josh Logan
Gazette Writer

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 weekend.

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 Lions.

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 against Toronto.

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.



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