It's common knowledge to most Western students that football is our most attended sport at Western. But what might not be common knowledge is that Western has 46 different sports teams, many of which are highly competitive in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). So for those of you looking to attend a game this semester, here are some of the most anticipated and exciting games you might want to consider attending.
1. Women’s Hockey vs. Nipissing - January 23 at 7 p.m.
While the Nipissing Lakers do not seem like an obvious rival to the CIS defending champions, there is a number of exciting reasons why Mustangs fans should attend this game.
First, the Mustangs have a target on their backs after they put a stop to Nipissing’s playoff run last season. The Mustangs downed the Lakers 3–1 and 3–2 in the OUA quarterfinals best-of-three series. The next meeting came earlier this season when the Lakers edged out the Mustangs 1–0 in late October.
But it isn’t just the Mustangs that the Lakers have been performing well against, as the team is making a run for top spot in the entire OUA. With a strong start to their season the Lakers are now tied with the Mustangs for the second place spot in the OUA standings with 29 points on the season so far.
As an added bonus, Katelyn Gosling and Brianna Iazzolino both stated their dismay for the Lakers earlier in the year on the Purple Pipe Podcast, saying the Lakers are easily the dirtiest team in the league. Simply put: these teams don't like each other so it's sure to be a dandy game.
2. Men's Volleyball vs. McMaster Marauders - January 30 at 8 p.m.
For the second time this season the Mustangs will be across the court from the league leading McMaster Marauders.
The Marauders won in straight sets over the Mustangs in early October (11-25, 21-25, 14-25) against the home team, but the Mustangs aren’t the only team to be swept by the volleyball powerhouse. The Marauders hold an undefeated 11–0 record, which puts them comfortably seated atop the OUA standings.
The Marauders have a history of having the best men’s volleyball team in the province as they have clinched the provincial title four times in the last five years. Despite closing out the first half of the season with a pair of losses to Toronto and Ryerson, the 5–5 Mustangs will be aiming to pick up their game in the New Year. A win against the best team in the province would certainly put the Mustangs back on track, so this game is sure to see the Mustangs leave everything they have out on the court.
3. Women's Volleyball vs. McMaster Marauders - January 30 at 6 p.m.
The Mustangs women's volleyball team will host the Marauders on January 30 for their second regular season game this season. The Marauders currently sit in first place in the OUA west with a 8–1 record while the Mustangs trail just behind in second place with a 7–2 record.
When the Mustangs traveled to Hamilton before the break the Marauders got some revenge on the Mustangs for knocking them out of the playoffs last year in quarterfinal action as they downed the visiting team in four sets. With the Mustangs slightly trailing behind the Marauders in the standings, the Mustangs will be looking to reclaim a victory on home court and edge the Marauders out of the top spot in the league.
4. Men's Hockey vs. Windsor (Charity Game) - February 6 at 4 p.m.
The Mustangs men's hockey team will be taking on their division rivals on February 6 at Thompson Arena. The Mustangs finished off 2015 on a rough note with four consecutive losses, one of which was a 4–1 loss to the Lancers at the beginning of December.
But despite the string of defeats the Mustangs have come into the second half of the year determined to gain some ground in the standings, as they downed the Laurier Golden Hawks last weekend to put themselves in a three-way tie with Guelph and Windsor for second place in west division.
This year's annual charity game will have two of the best teams in the OUA going head-to-head try to get ahead in the standings.
5. Women's Basketball vs. Lakehead (Jam the Gym) - February 26 at 6 p.m.
Even though the Lakehead Thunderwolves sit at the bottom of the OUA central division standings with a 3-5 record, this game is sure to entertain. Last season it was the Thunderwolves who led the Mustangs in the standings and cut Western’s playoff season short as they downed the Mustangs 71–45 in the OUA preliminary rounds.
This February matchup will mark the first time the Mustangs and the Thunderwolves meet on the court since last year’s playoffs and the 5–3 Mustangs will certainly be looking to prove that they are a force to be reckoned with this time around. Unfortunately for the Thunderwolves, Western will have home court advantage and a high attendance turnout is expected for the game as it is being promoted as the annual ”Jam the Gym” event.