Future looks bright for young Western squad

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

After finishing second place in the Ontario University Athletics East division this year, the women’s lacrosse team narrowly lost 13-11 to the Toronto Varsity Blues in the bronze medal game this past weekend.

After a slow start in the match, the ’Stangs were paced by three-goal performances from attacks Leanne Nichols and Nicole Pullen to tie the game 7-7 at halftime.

The two teams traded goals in the second half, with Western even leading 11-10 at one point. However, three unanswered Blues goals at the end of the match gave them the win and the bronze medal.

Despite falling short of their goal, graduating centre Stephanie Curtis was happy with how the team played over the weekend.

“We would have like to have done better, but in the [bronze medal game] we played so well as a team we weren’t overly upset with the loss,” she said.

In particular, Curtis was happy with how the ’Stangs functioned as a team.

“We had scoring from five different people, whereas most teams have scoring from one or two people, which shows how balanced we are,” she said. “We don’t rely on one or two people " we relied on everyone.”

Head coach Craig Windley echoed Curtis’ sentiments on the match and season.

“This is not the result we hoped for this season but it was definitely a huge step for our team,” he said.

With a number of rookies on the team this year, Western initially struggled to find its form at the start of the season, but became cohesive heading into the playoffs.

“We struggled [initially] because we had so many new players, but by our second weekend of play we really had things down. We knew we could count on each other,” Curtis said.

With Curtis, captain Julianne Dawkins and a few other vital cogs leaving the team, another young squad will be hitting the field next year at Western.

However, many young players such as defender Erin Abel " who was named a first team OUA all-star " should provide a solid foundation for the future.

“The girls we got this year really created a strong base,” Curtis said. “I think they’ll definitely be able to continue [off the success of this year].”

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