Mustangs winter team review: Making the grade

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Winter varsity report cards are based on a team’s performance in comparison with the expectations they had going into the season. An “A” indicates a performance well above expectations, a “B” indicates a team met expectations and a “C” indicates a team performed below its potential.

Track and Field

Track and Field
After competing in an incredibly strong Ontario University Athletics division that saw several schools ranked in the top 10 nationally, the Western women’s and men’s track teams did themselves proud by placing third and fifth respectively at Canadian Interuniversity Sport nationals.

Veteran standout Jen Cotten took home Female Athlete of the Meet honours after winning gold medals in the pentathlon, long jump and 4 x 400m relay. On the men’s side, Alex Witmer captured his second consecutive silver in the high jump while Tumelo Moleko brought home a bronze medal in the triple jump.
Grade: A

Wrestling

Wrestling
The Western wrestling team turned in a solid performance this year, with the women sending five wrestlers to nationals and placing eighth overall out of 14 teams.

First-year student Sam Stewart, the OUA Rookie of the Year and OUA champion in the 51-kg division, won the Mustangs lone medal at nationals by capturing the bronze. Team captain Lesley McCallum, who also won at OUAs, finished just off the podium at nationals in fourth place in the 55-kg division. Liz Sera and Kirby Steinhoff also turned in strong performances for the ’Stangs, with both placing sixth in their respective weight classes.
Grade: A

Men's Hockey

Men’s Hockey
This year’s men’s hockey team greatly exceeded early expectations after coming home with a national silver medal. The Mustangs capped off their terrific season with a trip to the national final where they fell 4-2 to the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds. The unexpected success is largely due to the stellar play of the team’s rookies. Going 7-1 through the OUA playoffs and 19-7-0-2 in the regular season, the Mustangs are poised to repeat their dominance next season. With a high volume of returning players, we can be sure the Mustangs will be on every team’s radar.
Grade: A

Men's Basketball

Men’s Basketball
Making it all the way to the semi-finals, only to lose to the Carleton Ravens on a buzzer beater might not be any consolation for fifth year players Brad Smith and Matt Curtis, but they should hold their heads high for an outstanding season. The two seniors were instrumental throughout the year leading Western to a 19-3 record and dominating throughout the playoffs. Point guard and team leader Matt Curtis was named to the CIS tournament all-star team. Forward Keenan Jeppesen will be a key player to watch for next season.
Grade: A

Women’s Volleyball

Women’s Volleyball
Led by OUA West libero of the year Andrea Ruste, the Mustangs peaked at the right time and rolled all the way to the OUA semis before losing to the heavily favoured York Lions. Despite the heartbreaking loss, the women bounced back to take the bronze medal by beating the Toronto Varsity Blues in a thrilling five set match. Ruste was named to the OUA First Team All-Star, and was joined by teammates Sara Farrell (First Team) and Sarah Johnston (Second Team). Look for Farrell and Johnston to be crucial next year as this team tries to build off its stellar season.
Grade: B

Men’s Volleyball

Men’s Volleyball
The men’s volleyball team finally emerged this past season as a force in the OUA, challenging McMaster’s domination atop the standings. Led by OUA First Team All-Star Eric Simon, the Mustangs finished with a 15-6 record overall, including a huge win over the Marauders. Unfortunately the season ended with an OUA quarterfinal loss to the visiting Waterloo Warriors. Despite that, the overall success this season led to head coach Jim Sage being named OUA Coach of the Year. Despite losing a few contributors, the volleyball team should continue to be a contender in the tough OUA division for years to come.
Grade: B+

Men’s Squash

Men’s Squash
For the 26th time in as many years, the Western men’s squash team scooped the OUA title. The Mustangs found victory over the Queen’s Gaels and silver medalist McMaster Marauders, posting convincing 6-0 scores. First Team All-Stars Chris Hanebury and Ryan Herden played a key role in preserving the Mustangs legacy. Western hopes history repeats itself for a 27th time next season.
Grade: A+

Women’s Squash

Women’s Squash
After last year’s upset, the Western women’s squash team broke the five game hot streak of the Toronto Varsity Blues to reclaim the provincial title. Leading the talented underdog squad was OUA Women’s Player of the Year Stephanie Edmison and her fellow OUA First Team All-Star Heather Lamb. Their accomplishment earns the women’s squash team top honours.
Grade: A

Curling

Curling
After winning OUA’s, both the men’s and women’s curling teams finished in a disappointing fifth place at the CIS championships last week. In a sudden death tie-breaker, Saint Mary’s University eliminated the men’s team from the tournament. The women were eliminated in final round-robin play with a 10-6 loss against Manitoba. Evan Lilly was named a First Team All Canadian at the second position and Scott McDonald was given Second Team honours as skip. Both teams are very young and will continue to improve their result in coming seasons.
Grade: A

Women’s Hockey

Women’s Hockey
When judging the women’s hockey season, you have to look separately at the different expectations surrounding this team. There are the team’s expectations; then there are those of everyone else. While positive thinking and confidence heading into the season may count for something " the reality is, when you have a rookie-laden roster, you’re bound to experience some growing pains. With an 8-13-6 record, things could have been much different for this young team had a few bounces gone its way in overtime. If they can keep some rookies around next year and hope for a bit of luck in recruiting, there is no reason this team shouldn’t make the playoffs in 2010.
Grade C+

Fencing

Fencing
The Mustangs fencing team saw numerous successes on the men’s and women’s side this season. In the OUA finals the star was Mark Jones, who won the Desjarlais Trophy for the men’s epee individual competition to help the men earn an overall team silver medal. The Western women’s foil and epee teams finished third and the sabre team finished fourth in the competition, with leader Andrea Csiba earning bronze in the women’s epee individual. The University of Toronto Varsity Blues, hosts of the tournament, proved too much for the Mustangs and took home the championship.
Grade: B+

Women’s Basketball

Women’s Basketball
The Mustangs women’s basketball team can take pride in its 17-5 record and a fine playoff run. Ending the season ranked eighth in the nation, the team was defeated by the Windsor Lancers in the OUA semi-final, 82-61. All-star shooter Amanda Anderson broke Western’s scoring title and finished a remarkable season with a team high 355 points. Despite losing fine talent such as Bess Lennox, Nadine Paron, Kim Hurley, Deena Kurilsky and Megan Lapointe pending graduation, the team’s solid season and hard fought hunt for a provincial title sets a solid base for next year.
Grade: B+

Swimming

Swimming
The Western women’s swim team stole the provincial title from the Toronto Varsity Blues, who have been boasting OUA supremacy for the past eight years. Mustangs sophomore Hayley Nell won four gold medals and was named Female Swimmer of the Meet. The ’Stangs swam to a fifth place finish at the CIS final.

After a mediocre swimming season, the Mustangs men pulled together to finish second place in the OUA, behind Varsity Blues. The men went on to swim to a 12th place finish at nationals.
Grade: Women A, Men B+

Figure Skating

Figure Skating
The Western figure skating team felt a lot of pressure this season, as the goal was to win its third straight OUA championship. Unfortunately the team did not make it three in a row and instead settled for a third-place finish behind the Guelph Gryphons and the Queen’s Gaels, who came first and second respectively. Individual successes include Catherine McLean and Brittany Bartlett Jr.’s Silver Similar Dance gold medals and David Saunders’ Men’s Freeskate gold. Saunders is only in his first year with the team and should be a big part of Western’s future success.
Grade: C+

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