Coaches’ corner: A sneak peek into varsity sports this year

August 25, 2014

With the academic year coming to a fast start, the athletics department at Fanshawe is also gearing up for another exciting year. With Humber College being a strong competitor all across the board, head coaches, Athletic Officer, Ernie Durocher and Manager of Athletics, Nathan McFadden helped to shed some light on what to expect for each sport’s upcoming season.

BADMINTON

For the first time in several years, the Falcons not only represented the College at OCAA championships, but also came home with a medal.

“The previous year we did not [go to championships], so last year not only did we have two different teams get there … we had one of those people on the men’s single side medal,” said McFadden. “That was extremely positive for our program to be back on the medal podium and we look forward to building on that going into this year.”

While the team is losing some players, Durocher said new recruits will add to the already-steady group.

“We’ve got a nucleus of players coming back that will make us strong,” he said.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

Head coach Tony Marcotullio was out of town during the interview process so Durocher covered.

A large bout of turnover will leave the Falcons looking for new recruits for the coming season. Marcotullio will be looking for tall players, said Durocher.

“We need some big guys,” he said. “Getting some tall fellows to fit the roles of forwards and centres would be appropriate. You can’t ever have enough shooting guards.”

While the team does well with defensive play, Durocher said the offense could brush up a little.

“They were sporadic when it came to scoring and grinding out wins,” he said. “I think Tony [Marcotullio] has always been on that premise that he starts from defense and works his way from there.”

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Head coach Bill Carrier will be working with the same group of girls from last year, hoping to continue building up the young team.

“Our goal [last year] was to make it to the provincial championships and we made it there,” he said. “Last year we were very young … We would like to win a couple games at the provincial championships.”

Carrier doesn’t foresee many challenges, thanks to a large group of returnees. He credits the team’s success to self-motivation.

Carrier only hopes that a few superstars will come out for tryouts. “I’m looking forward to the season and let’s get it on.”

CROSS COUNTRY

Coming off a hot streak, John Loney and his third-time national champs are hoping to bet at it again. The team also won provincial championships for the fifth year in a row.

“I did lose the top three guys, but have some really nice new prospects coming in,” said Loney. “We’ll be right back in the midst.”

Loney will be relying on his more experienced runners to set a good example to incoming rooks.

“We get a lot of turnover in college sports. We can’t necessarily afford to have a two- or three-year plan … I always look forward to that first practice to see where everybody’s at.”

CURLING

With the women being provincial champs and the men winning bronze at provincials, head coach Barry Westman hopes to continue the momentum, despite losing a couple of long-term curlers.

“We do have a really good solid returning team on both the men’s and women’s side,” said Westman. “We’ve got a couple new recruits coming in with good curling pedigrees and we’re really hoping to regain our national championship title.”

Westman said the biggest challenge for the curlers is balancing schoolwork with athletics and other responsibilities.

“A lot of our players play on other teams as well,” he said. “There’s quitea huge commitment from our players each week and weekends away.”

Westman enjoys the passion each athlete has and said it keeps him excited about the sport.

BASEBALL

As one of the two new varsity sports introduced this year, head coach Brian Harvey has big dreams for the (currently) barely-formed team, which is his first priority.

“The difficulty is trying to narrow down to get that 20 [guys] because there’s a lot of good talent out there,” said Harvey.

From there, he hopes to bring the team to the top of the OCAA league – consisting of only six teams.

“That’s our first goal – to be in the top four for sure,” he said. “My expectation would be to end up in the top two in that tournament because the top two would then go and play the top OUA teams.”

Harvey would like to see his team supported.

“We’d like to get a lot of fans out to our games at Labatt Park.”

FASTBALL

Londoner Catherine Arthur will be taking the helm of Fanshawe’s new fastball team. Her lengthy career playing in the London area helped her succeed a coaching position.

“I coach an 18-and-under level in London and wanted to have the opportunity to take the next step,” Arthur said. “We’re looking for [people] who really want to represent the falcons well and be dedicated, be hardworking.”

She said adding baseball and fastball to the Falcons’ lineup has been greatly supported and that she has big hopes for this inaugural season.

“There’s a huge softball/baseball community in London,” she said. “We want to compete and we want to make it to provincials. There’s seven teams in the league but only four will make it to provincials, so our goal is to get to provincials and have a good showing.”

GOLF

Head coach, Andy Shaw, is looking forward to working with sports psychologists to mentally prepare this year’s golf team for three- and four-day tournaments, something the team has struggled with in the past.

“Most of the players that we recruit – they’re not used to playing highly-competitive golf, where it takes three to four days of preparation and tournament stress,” he said. “That’s what we work on every year. Mentally and physically being able to play four days in a row.”

Shaw encourages female golfers of all levels to come out to tryouts.

“People always think they’re not good enough, but we encourage all females to come out.”

MEN’S SOCCER

Finishing fourth at provincial championships, Paul D’Hollander is looking forward to working with a new group of guys. D’Hollander is losing 50 per cent of his team and is in the process of looking for a new goalie.

“Finding a very capable goalie will be critical and at the same time maintaining our philosophy and finding the players to defend well,” he said. “We were challenged in offensive output … we need players who can finish resulting in goals.”

D’Hollander added that he is always looking for new players.

WOMEN’S SOCCER

After the heartbreak of getting knocked out at playoffs, James Welsh is looking to rebuild his team. Ten girls will be returning this season, and Welsh is turning his focus to scoring goals.

“We played really well as a team,” he said. “We need to improve our scoring. Although we had all the possession and controlled the play, we struggled to score goals when it mattered. We definitely need to improve on that.”

Welsh is expecting 10 new recruits to join the remaining members, and he said getting everyone to gel as a collective whole is going to be a challenge.

“It’s a such a short season that it’s always a challenge to get everybody playing together and on the same page in terms o tactics and style of play.”

MEN’S VOLLEYBALL

Losing star player Mathieu Poulin doesn’t discourage coach, Patrick Johnston. In fact, he’s optimistic the nine returnees will become even stronger in the coming season.

“I’m most looking forward to being able to build on what we started last year,” he said in an email. “My goal from day one was to create a sustainable program … We fell short of our goal of winning OCAA’s and finished with a bronze medal, but we are back and more motivated than ever.”

Johnston is looking to build the team offensively.

“We were a very stingy defensive team and frustrated our opponents,” said Johnston. “This coming season we are going to take a bit more risk offensively.”

WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL

New head coach, Shawn Pellow, is excited to continue fostering this team’s success.

Finishing second in the province, Pellow knows the team did something right. His goal is to rebuild the already-successful program.

“The first thing to do is establish new roles, establish exactly what we want to do and accomplish down the road,” he said. “It’s always been successful. Its reputation will sell itself; leaving the level of play where it is.”

Pellow’s experience as former coach for Mohawk should give him a leg up on competition.

“I understand how to set up the program to peak when we need to peak,” he said. “I understand the regulars of the day-in and day-out of a student athlete and how difficult it can be to balance an academic life with academics.”

“I think I have a better understanding than a coach who hasn’t had collegiate experience … I’m just excited to be involved.”

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