October 21 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 28   

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Mustangs have a Byrne-ing sensation

By Ian Van Den Hurk
Gazette Staff

Dallas Curow/Gazette
YOU 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 Athletics soccer.

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 season perfect."





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