Pretty much every Western fall team was in action this weekend, playing their first games since the official beginning of the school year. Things went almost entirely to plan, with all but two of the 16 games featuring Mustangs teams resulting in a win for the purple and white. 

The baseball, softball, football and women's rugby teams all hit the road this weekend, as did both the men's and women's lacrosse teams. Both soccer teams and men's rugby held down the fort at home. 

Men's rugby (1-1)

The Toronto Varsity Blues visited Alumni Field on Saturday to play in the Mustangs' home opener. Western rebounded intensely after a tough road loss to McMaster the weekend before, shutting out Toronto 78–0.

Western physically dominated the whole game: Western's forwards repeatedly drew Toronto's defenders into the middle of the field with their strength, allowing the Mustangs to move the ball quickly and attack down the wings. 

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Mens Rugby Sept 9 - Liam McInnis

Men's rugby against the University of Toronto on Sept. 9, 2017.

"Our fly-half, Will Sauder, did a great job shipping the ball wide," said winger Trevor Noskiewicz, who scored two tries. "If our forwards are running hard, it just creates more openings on the outside for us to capitalize on."

Head coach Tom Dolezel mentioned some of the little things the team has been drilling in practice, complimenting his side on their improvement.

"We've been working on footwork in contact like crazy," he said. We've been getting faster ball which has been stretching the defences."

Men's soccer (3-0-1)

In the second match of a Western-Brock soccer doubleheader, the men's side took the pitch at Mustangs Field for a spirited clash. Despite great chances at both ends, nobody could find the net in the first half: as Western keeper, Kody Thomson, and his Brock counterpart, Matthew Haggith, were perfect through 45 minutes.

Forward Reza Nafar led the offensive effort, taking five shots and scoring the Mustangs' only goal. The sophomore pointed to Western's organization and possession as factors in the victory.

"We dictated everything," he said. "We made the other team run more, and I think they played two days ago so we were more fresh than them, and we used that advantage."

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Men's Soccer September 10 Image 5 (Goal Part 4)

Reza Nefar, 10, celebrates with teammates after opening the scoring. Sept. 10, 2017.

A lack of capitalizing on their chances was a concern for the home team. The Mustangs dominated the shot count, taking 13 attempts at the net, but poor accuracy meant that they only challenged the goalkeeper on four of them. 

Coach Rock Basacco wasn't too concerned, asserting that the most important aspect is getting chances.

Women's soccer (3-1-0)

The Mustangs improved to 3–1 on the season with a 1–0 win over Brock on Sunday. Veteran striker Sabrina De Nard scored in the 32nd minute, after which the home team's defence stayed strong to preserve a clean sheet. 

Women's rugby (0-1)

Women's rugby had a tough outing against a powerful Queen's side, falling 57–12 in their season opener. The Mustangs managed to score two tries, but their defence couldn't withstand the Gael onslaught.

Baseball (3-1)

The defending OUA champions played four times, with doubleheaders against both Guelph and Queen's. They split their series with the Gryphons on Saturday, winning 9–6 then losing 8–2. Western then swept the Gaels, winning 11–8 and 5–4. 

Softball (4-0)

The Mustangs were almost perfect, beating Ottawa 7–0 and 5–2 before blanking the Carleton Ravens 16–0 and 7–0. 

Women's lacrosse (2-0)

Western withstood some tenacious opposition, beating Brock 12–7 and Laurier 7–5 in St. Catharines. Rookie Shay VanEvery played a huge role, scoring a handful of goals, as the Mustangs opened the 2017 season perfectly.

Men's lacrosse (2-0)

The Guelph Gryphons hosted Western on Sunday, falling 7–6 to the visiting Mustangs. Thomas Masterson led the effort, scoring four times to secure his team's victory.

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Charlie is a third year student in Media, Information and Technoculture, and is a second year sports editor for Volume 111 of the Gazette. Follow him on Twitter @charliejclarke or contact him at charlie@westerngazette.ca

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