Mustangs have a Byrne-ing sensation
By Ian Van Den Hurk
ALREADY KILLED THE GOALIE. LEAVE ME ALONE! The Mustangs’ Jessica
Van Dyk prepares to drop a massive body check on her opponent
during Saturday’s game against Waterloo. Or was
she trying to score? You decide.
Western continues to frustrate the women of Ontario University
Led by the always stellar play of star rookie forward Jenna
Byrne and veteran mid fielder Eva Havaris, the women's soccer
team cruised to another victory in OUA action on Saturday at
the Brescia Fields.
In a 5-0 win over the Waterloo Warriors, the women continued
their dominating play, having clinched a division title and
currently being ranked as the number one team under the Canadian
Interuniversity Sport rankings.
Waterloo head coach Peter Mackie's warning to avoid giving
up any early goals to the Mustangs fell on deaf ears. One minute
into the game, Havaris was mauled deep in Warrior territory.
Awarded a penalty kick, she fired a beautiful ball into the
net from 25 yards out to give the Mustangs the early lead.
Havaris looked very composed from the beginning of the game
and played all over the field, while the rest of the team seemed
to feed off of her intensity. After sustaining more pressure,
Havaris was given a free kick. She made the Warriors pay again,
lobbing a ball out front for Byrne to head into the open goal.
At this point in the game, Mackie was visibly and vocally
frustrated with some calls and was issued a warning, but no
card, from the referee.
Shortly thereafter, the Mustangs added to Mackie's frustrations
with a beautiful goal. After falling to the ground, midfielder
Allison Oosterhuis made a nice pass to Byrne, who pushed the
ball up the field. Byrne passed to teammate Cristina Bonasia
and the fleet-footed forward made no mistake, potting the Mustangs'
third goal in less than 20 minutes.
Mackie admitted the early goals quickly curbed the Warriors'
chances of winning the game. "The early goals are hard
to recover from. It deflates a team," he said.
Byrne later set up another goal with a gutsy pass to forward
Angela Hunter. Just before having her legs cut out from underneath
her by a Waterloo defender, Byrne threaded the needle to Hunter
who raced down the sidelines and scored from a tight angle.
Rookie midfielder Sarah Regan added a late goal to round out
the scoring, while keeper Jessy Kapitany earned a fairly uneventful
clean sheet, facing few scoring opportunities from Waterloo.
With just one more regular season game left, the Mustangs
are beginning to tune up for a run through the playoffs. Western
head coach Mike Van Bussel still sees room for improvement
if playoff success is to be had, but believes the team is on
the right track. "We're communicating, playing team defense
and not forcing things. We worked hard on that all week. In
the end we had goals from five different players and there
wasn't any let down."
A let down doesn't appear to be in sight for the Mustangs
- veterans like Havaris are prepared to make sure it remains
that way. Havaris admitted the team got caught looking ahead
last year, losing in the playoffs to eventual champion British
Columbia and being defeated 1-0 in overtime to Laval in the
bronze medal game.
"We're building on where we're at right now. Everyone
is playing great. We're aiming for perfection now - that's
the point we're at. But we're [going] to take it one game at
a time," Havaris said.
And although Byrne's confidence is considerably higher than
it was when she played her first university game back in September,
she doesn't want to get ahead of herself either. "I think
the whole team is rolling with confidence now. We can dominate
with our confidence. We're so excited [for the playoffs], but
we don't want to look ahead. We want to finish the regular