Volume 92, Issue 34
Wednesday, November 4, 1998
millions of bad feelings
Kickers bury playoff skeletons
© Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
By Ian Ross
There may be something after all to the overused and under-estimated cliche, "taking it one game at a time."
The Mustang women's soccer team would certainly agree to this, after capturing the Ontario University Athletics championship over the weekend by defeating the Queen's Golden Gaels 3-1 at Carleton University in Ottawa
Haunted by an early quarter-final exit last season after winning the Ontario West division in the regular season, the team returned to the playoffs once again as division winners but this time with a different philosophy, according to co-captain Carmyn Aleshka.
"We achieved a goal that we set for ourselves two years ago," Aleshka said. "And we did it by taking it one game at a time."
Aleshka explained how last year's team was consistently looking forward to possible match-ups and not concentrating on the present. This time around the team refused to allow their poor judgement handicap their talents and instead followed a philosophy which paid big dividends. Concentrating on each game as it arrived proved successful, as the team battled strong competition and the skeletons from last season's playoffs were vanquished.
"We matched up well against them but I think we played with a little more heart," Aleshka said.
The secret to moving through the tournament was the directed focus but it may have been the stunning performance of goalkeeper Anna Grgic which carried the team to the gold medal. Assistant coach Peter Russell witnessed several show-stopping saves and was extremely pleased with the young keeper's ability to handle the post season pressure.
"She was the best player of the tournament," Russell said. "Anna was in total control. She made some stops that 99.9 per cent of goalkeepers in this league would miss."
In total, Grgic allowed only two goals over three games as Western rolled over Toronto 3-0 in the quarter-finals, York 2-1 in semifinal action and Queen's 3-1 in the gold medal game.
Queen's coach Dave McDowell led his team over Western 2-1 in pre-season action but admitted his squad was out-played on Sunday afternoon.
"It was a good, tough battle. They played well in the first 30 minutes and took advantage of us in some good situations," McDowell said.
Both teams qualified for the Canadian championship and McDowell said he would like nothing better then to earn a second shot at beating the Mustangs.
Western head coach Sheri Kitching agreed with her counterpart that a re-match would be exciting and is positive about the Mustangs chances. She feels her team will be peaking at just the right time.
"We want to be able to play a full 90 minutes. Right now we are at about 75," Fowler said.
"We still haven't played the best soccer we can yet."
The nationals get under way Nov. 12 in Victoria.
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