The Gazette’s year-end team reviews

Badass badminton, brazen baseball, women’s golf dominates, hockey looking up, volleyballers fare well

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western Baseball

Jon Purdy

GETTING THE SCOOP ON A YEAR IN REVIEW. Western's baseball team enjoyed continued success, as did many other Mustangs squads. Here's a look back at how the teams fared this season.

BADMINTON
Successes: Jenn Lam won the F.W.P. Jones Trophy as Western’s top female athlete and the squad captured its fourth Ontario University Athletics title in five years.

Disappointments: The team lost one matchup to McMaster. That’s about it.

What to expect next year: The women have a lot of graduating players, but the men’s squad only had one senior this year. It’s tough to pick against Western after the last few seasons.

BASEBALL
Successes: Western’s boys of summer defeated rival Brock to win their second consecutive OUA championship. The ’Stangs had three first-team all-stars and four second-team all-stars.

Disappointments: Western’s biggest disappointment of the season was most likely its second-place regular-season finish behind Brock.

What to expect: The Mustangs need to fill gaps left by graduating veterans like outfielder Matt Bekar and pitcher Ryan Butkowsky, but their roster remains largely intact, making a third title a realistic possibility.

MEN’S BASKETBALL
Successes: After missing the playoffs four straight seasons, the Mustangs finished 11-11 and reached the OUA West divisional quarter-final. Forward Andy Wedemire won OUA West Rookie of the Year while teammates Danny Jeon and Brett Lawrence had strong rookie campaigns.

Disappointments: The men didn’t get much production out of Dave Wilson or Al Paron this past year, as neither player contributed much on either side of the floor.

What to expect: With head coach Brad Campbell back at the helm and a year of playoff experience under their belt, the Mustangs should once again compete in their division.

Women's Basketball

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Successes: OUA West all-stars Amanda Anderson and Nadine Paron led the women to a 17-5 record, establishing the Mustangs as a powerhouse in the OUA West.

Disappointments: Despite having home-court advantage, Western was once again ousted in the first round.

What to expect: With no seniors graduating and a fresh crop of recruits, the women’s team could contend for the OUA crown for the next few seasons.

CROSS COUNTRY
Successes: James Gosselin won Canadian Interuniversity Sport bronze to help the men finish fifth at the nationals. The women placed fourth.

Disappointments: They haven’t given us much reason to complain.

What to expect: With most runners returning, expect another solid season.

CURLING
Successes: The team ranked second heading into the OUA tournament and won bronze.

Disappointments: Western failed to reach the CIS tournament " unfortunate for a second-ranked team.

What to expect: Look for the Mustangs to build on this season’s success and challenge for the CIS title next season.

FENCING
Successes: The fencers took silver at the OUA championships after winning the team men’s foil and sabre events and finishing second in epee.

Disappointments: Women’s fencing had many individual successes but finished seventh overall.

What to expect: Western fencing has promising depth with first and second-year students Andrea Csiba, Kathryn Skelton, Mark Jones and Adam Kircheffer.

FIELD HOCKEY
Successes: Two wins versus McGill and one over Carleton highlighted a difficult 3-9-2 season.

Disappointments: The Mustangs missed the playoffs, accumulating only 11 points in regular-season play.

What to expect: The team, composed mainly of first and second-year players, lacked experience. Hopefully, as Western’s veterans gain experience, they can look forward to a winning season next year.

FIGURE SKATING
Successes: With 80 overall points and 11 medals, the squad edged Queen’s to win the OUA title.

Disappointments: Our only disappointment is that we weren’t there to watch.

What to expect: With over half the Mustangs in their first and second years, a repeat championship is quite possible for this experienced and conditioned squad.

Football

FOOTBALL
Successes: The team rode a 5-3 regular season record into an OUA quarter-final win against Windsor. Four Mustangs " quarterback Michael Faulds, offensive tackle Richard Zulys and defensive backs Corey McNair and Matt Carapella " were named to the annual East-West Bowl team.

Disappointments: The squad lost to Laurier in the OUA semifinal and failed to reach the Yates Cup in head coach Larry Haylor’s final season.

What to expect: Expect top-notch quarterbacking from Faulds and a dynamic offence if running back Randy McAuley exercises his fifth year of eligibility.

MEN’S GOLF
Successes: Kevin Bryce was named an OUA first-team all-star and tied for third overall at the OUA championship. The squad placed second at the Laurier Invitational and won the Western Invitational in St. Thomas.

Disappointments: The golfers finished a ho-hum eighth at the Waterloo Invitational and were somewhat overshadowed by the stellar women’s team.

What to expect: Young standouts Bryce and Sean Keane are underclassmen and cagey vet Ian Hodgins also returns.

WOMEN’S GOLF
Successes: The women’s golf team clutched its OUA championship banner proudly after a successful season with multiple first-place finishes.

Disappointments: After a big win at their first NCAA tournament, the Mustangs’ second NCAA event, the Northwood Invitational, was less noteworthy. Western finished fourth out of seven teams.

What to expect: Coming off an exciting OUA win, Western looks promising entering next season. ’Stangs fans can look forward to another top OUA finish.

Men's Hockey

MEN’S HOCKEY
Successes: Though young by Mustangs standards, Clarke Singer’s bunch showed serious mental toughness and grit down the stretch, grinding out two huge wins against Lakehead.

Disappointments: The Mustangs struggled within their division and fell to the Waterloo Warriors in three games in the playoffs.

What to expect: Captain Craig Kennedy needs to shoulder the load, especially on a power play that is losing Steve Benedetti, Chris Eade and Mike McKeown from the first unit.

WOMEN’S HOCKEY
Successes: Battling all season, the Mustangs surged come second semester and made a name for themselves in the postseason.

Disappointments: The ladies capped off a roller-coaster year with a tough loss to the Guelph Gryphons in the quarter-final.

What to expect: With nearly the entire roster returning, next year should resemble the second half of this season more than the first.

LACROSSE
Successes: Melissa Kandola and Erin Abel were both named OUA first-team all-stars following this past season. Kandola was fourth in OUA scoring and Abel was one of the top defenders.

Disappointments: The ’Stangs finished 3-6-1 in regular season.

What to expect: Western is losing some top performers this season but will look to rebuild with its rookies next year.

ROWING
Successes: The team captured gold medals in both the men’s and women’s OUA and CIS championships.

Disappointments: With so many successes, it’s hard to find a fault with Western this year.

What to expect: With a healthy string of returnees, Western’s rowers should expect nothing but success next season.

MEN’S RUGBY
Successes: The ’Stangs utilized some of the quickest wingers in the league to earn an OUA final berth against McMaster.

Disappointments: Western continued the tradition of almost securing a championship, losing to McMaster in the final seconds.

What to expect: The team’s core will stay intact so the squad should do well next season.

Rugby

WOMEN’S RUGBY
Successes: Western absolutely dominated the regular season, to the point fans came to expect a three-peat national championship.

Disappointments: The Mustangs had trouble pulling the chicken bone from their collective throat in the OUA final, losing to Guelph. Apparently it was still lodged there weeks later, when Lethbridge knocked them out of national contention.

What to expect: Many valuable veterans, including stud Tanja Ness, are leaving this year, but it’s hard to pick against a team which has dominated the last couple seasons.

MEN’S SOCCER
Successes: Western took gold in the OUA championship, defeating Brock in penalty kicks before placing fifth at the nationals. The Mustangs’ success earned them the ninth overall CIS ranking.

Disappointments: We can’t blame Western for losing to host Alberta at the nationals.

What to expect: The Purple and Silver lose many veterans this offseason, but as long as standout keeper Haidar Al-Shaibani is around, they’ll be competitive.

WOMEN’S SOCCER
Successes: The women’s soccer team finished 5-3-6 in the regular season and reached the OUA final four in the playoffs.

Disappointments: After a win in the quarter-final, the Mustangs lost their semifinal game and their bronze medal game.

What to expect: Women’s soccer has a young team and is currently rebuilding in hopes of an OUA championship banner in an upcoming season.

MEN’S SQUASH
Successes: The team captured the OUA team title for the 24th consecutive year. Molson Trophy winner Iain Crozier finished second in national men’s competition.

Disappointments: Dropping three sets in the OUA championship was as bad as it got this year.

What to expect: Though many seniors are leaving, there’s still a strong returning class, so expect the men to win their 25th straight championship.

WOMEN’S SQUASH
Successes: Western won the OUA women’s tournament for the second straight year. OUA first-team all-star Stephanie Edmison won the Black Knight Canadian University and College Squash Title.

Disappointments: Finding fault in a repeat champion would be nitpicking, wouldn’t it?

What to expect: With only one senior this year, the team will remain largely intact, and a shot at another title is probable.

SWIMMING
Successes: Both teams reached the nationals. Bryn Jones paced the team with two fourth-place finishes and a sixth-place finish.

Disappointments: The only disappointment we can think of is that the new recreation centre, complete with an eight-lane, 50-metre competition pool, won’t be operational until 2008.

What to expect: Both teams have incredible depth and many first-year swimmers, which bodes extremely well for the next few years.

MEN’S TENNIS
Successes: The men rebounded from a tough loss in the final last season to win OUA gold.

Disappointments: There weren’t any.

What to expect: The ’Stangs will lose Andrew Nisker, but Justin Kates is eligible to return. While a fifth title in six years is a tall order, it isn’t unrealistic.

WOMEN’S TENNIS
Successes: A promising young team secured OUA bronze.

Disappointments: A berth in the final would’ve been ideal, but them’s the breaks sometimes.

What to expect: Expect a young squad to greatly improve and contend in the competitive OUA.

TRACK AND FIELD
Successes: The men won bronze at the CIS championships, with the 4x100-metre relay team of McAuley, Tarek El Morsey, Abdull Zubair and Miguel Wason snagging gold. Jen Cotten also won the team’s MVP award.

Disappointments: Injuries hampered dynamic athlete Andrew Judge throughout the season.

What to expect: Superb competitors like Wason, Cotten, Tara Paluzzi, Heather Patterson and Jason Kerr will return to terrorize the competition.

MEN’S VOLLEYBALL
Successes: Western finished 14-6 in regular season play. Veterans Josh Chisholm and Andrew Hinchey were both named second-team OUA all-stars.

Disappointments: After making the OUA playoffs, Western’s run was short-lived; it lost to York in the quarter-final.

What to expect: The squad is losing some integral players this year but has impressive depth that will surely bring success in the near future.

WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL
Successes: The team was 18-1 in the regular season and boasted two OUA first-team all-stars in Melissa Mann and Julia Hall. Andrea Ruste, who had 396 digs, was the top-ranked libero in the country and Dean Lowrie won OUA Coach of the Year.

Disappointments: While an OUA bronze is impressive, the team has to be disappointed without a provincial title.

What to expect: A good core of players entering their second year should propel the team to another solid season.

WATERPOLO
Successes: Freshman Rami Halali finished the year with a team-high 17 goals in 10 games.

Disappointments: Despite challenging during its 10-game season, the team finished 0-10 for the second straight year.

What to expect: Thames Hall’s practice facilities aren’t adequate to compete, but with numerous young team members showing fantastic development and with a new pool opening in 2008, the squad’s outlook is positive.

Wrestling

WRESTLING
Successes: The women won the OUA title while the men won bronze. Four Mustangs earned individual bronze at nationals.

Disappointments: While the Western Open tournament at Alumni Hall was a great success, neither team finished higher than third.

What to expect: The team will miss seniors like Phil Medeiros and Ian Patton. Then again, any loss seems small after legendary Terri McNutt’s graduation last year.

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