Welcome to Monday Morning Quarterback, a weekly look at all the best U SPORTS stories from the week across Canada West, the OUA, RSEQ and the AUS.
The U SPORTS fall season saw a lot of significant moments, with some like the U SPORTS Men’s Hockey All-Star Series taking place even after the start of the winter break. Here are 10 of the most memorable moments from the fall season.
10. Women's basketball
Gaels top Martlets in game celebrating 100th anniversary of Canadian women's university basketball
The Queen’s Gaels and McGill Martlets played a preseason game October 5 in celebration of the 100th anniversary season of Canadian interuniversity women’s basketball (which started with two games between McGill and Queen’s in February 1920). McGill won those 1920 games 21-16 and 21-7, but Queen’s won the 2019 one 77-55. Sophie de Goede led the way for the Gaels with a game-high 20 points, while Julia Chadwick added 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds. A full recap of the game can be found here.
No. 3 Marauders and No. 5 Carabins upset No. 1 Mustangs and No. 2 Rouge et Or for conference titles
This year’s football conference championships on November 9 saw a couple of notable upsets. In the Yates Cup, the No. 3 McMaster Marauders handed the No. 1 Western Mustangs their first OUA loss in 30 games, beating them 29-15. Meanwhile, in the Dunsmore Cup, the No. 5 Montreal Carabins beat the No. 2 Laval Rouge et Or 25-10 to win the RSEQ title.
In the Yates Cup game, the Marauders shone thanks to their defence, with Nate Edwards notching two of their five sacks and Noah Hallett and Josh Cumber each recording interceptions. On offence, McMaster quarterback Andreas Dueck completed 18 of 25 passes for 243 yards with an interception. For Western, star quarterback Chris Merchant (who would go on to win the Hec Crighton Trophy as the U SPORTS football player of the year) only threw nine passes in this one (completing four) thanks to injury, and backup Kevin John was intercepted twice. The Marauders would go on to fall 30-17 to the eventual Vanier Cup champion Calgary Dinos in the Mitchell Bowl.
In the Dunsmore Cup game, Montreal quarterback Frédéric Paquette-Perrault completed 16 of 25 passes (64 percent) for 203 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed nine times for 48 yards. Carl Chabot hauled in six receptions for 96 yards, while Reda Malki rushed 11 times for 66 yards. On defense, Marc-Antoine Dequoy had six and a half tackles and an interception for the Carabins. Montreal would go on to beat the Acadia Axemen 38-0 in the Uteck Bowl before falling 27-13 to the Dinos in the Vanier Cup.
Thunderbirds record seventh-straight CW title sweep, win 11th straight CW women's title
In swimming, the UBC Thunderbirds again came out on top of Canada West in the Nov. 22-24 conference championships, but it wasn’t an easy path for them. On the men’s side, UBC trailed the Calgary Dinos by one point heading into the final event, but Alexander Pratt delivered a couple of impressive late swims to help the Thunderbirds pull out their 20th overall conference title and Pratt won the individual 400-metre freestyle (one of his two individual golds in the event) and then anchored their win in the medley relay.
On the women’s side, the Thunderbirds entered the final day just 22.5 points ahead of Calgary, but wound up winning by 93, with rookie of the meet Anna Dumont-Belanger particularly shining. That meant that UBC earned their seventh straight sweep of the men’s and women’s conference titles and their 11th straight women’s title. ,A full recap of those championships can be found here.
7. Women's field hockey
Vikes sweep Gryphons for second-straight national title
The Victoria Vikes picked up their second consecutive national championship in field hockey this year, the third season where the championship format has seen the Canada West and OUA champions face off in a best-of-three series. The Vikes hosted that series this year against the Guelph Gryphons, and won the first two games (played on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2) 3-0 and 3-1 to seal the title.
Georgia Booker, Jenna Berard and Erin Dawson scored for Victoria in the first game, while championship MVP Anna Mollenhauer scored twice for the Vikes in the second game and Ashton Aumen added another goal. Full recaps of those games can be found here and here.
6. Women's soccer
Thunderbirds bounce back after losing Canada West final to win seventh national title
In women’s soccer, the UBC Thunderbirds had some disappointment in the Canada West final on Nov. 2, falling 1-0 to the Calgary Dinos. But they recovered at the Nov. 7-10 national championships, edging the Montreal Carabins 1-0 in the quarterfinals, then beating the Acadia Axewomen 1-0 in the semifinals and then getting revenge on the Dinos with a 1-0 win in the gold-medal match.
Championship MVP Danielle Steer scored the crucial goal for UBC in that final match, while keeper Emily Moore recorded her third straight clean sheet. A full recap of the gold-medal match can be found here.
Dinos win their fifth Vanier Cup, first since 1995
The Calgary Dinos lifted their fifth Vanier Cup overall and their first since 1995 thanks to a 27-13 victory over the Montreal Carabins on Nov. 23. Fifth-year Calgary quarterback Adam Sinagra completed 22 of 28 passing attempts (78.6 percent) for 292 yards and a pair of touchdowns and was awarded the Ted Morris Memorial Trophy as the game’s most valuable player, while Jalen Philpot had four catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. On defence, Jacob Biggs had five tackles, a sack and an interception for the Dinos. A full recap of that game can be found here.
4. Cross Country
Gaels win their first women's title at home, Dinos repeat as men's champions
The Nov. 9 U SPORTS cross country championships at Fort Henry Hill in Kingston, ON saw the Calgary Dinos win the men’s title and the host Queen’s Gaels win the women’s title. That was Calgary’s second straight men’s national cross country title. The Dinos were led by Russell Pennock (30:55.2) and Matthew Travaglini (30:58.4), who finished in third and fourth place respectively, helping Calgary to a 63-point finish. The McMaster Marauders finished second with 82 points, edging the Guelph Gryphons (who also had 82) on the best individual finish tiebreaker. Kieran Lumb of the UBC Thunderbirds won the men’s race with a time of 30:41.8. A full recap of the men’s race can be found here.
On the women’s side, the Gaels won their first national title in cross country thanks in particular to a strong showing from Branna MacDougall. MacDougall placed third overall with a time of 28:01:0, behind Lucia Stafford of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues (27:30.3) and Anne-Marie Comeau of the Laval Rouge et Or (27:44.2). For Queen’s, Kara Blair and Brogan MacDougall (Branna’s younger sister) placed fourth and fifth with times of 28:17.3 and 28:19.6 respectively, helping the Gaels to a 53-point finish. The Guelph Gryphons were second with 74 points. A full recap of the women’s race can be found here.
U SPORTS athletes find international success at Summer Universiade and University World Cup
There were some key international moments for U SPORTS athletes this year. At the 30th FISU Summer Universiade in Naples, Italy (July 3-14), the Canadian team finished with six medals, including a gold from the Windsor Lancers’ Sarah Mitton in shot put. At the inaugural KELME 2019 FISU University World Cup – Football in China in November, the Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s soccer team represented Canada and took home gold, beating Brazil’s Paulista University 1-0 in the final thanks to a header from Mikayla Morton.
And there may be more top international moments ahead on Canadian soil. Dec. 6 saw the announcement that Canada will host the 2022 FISU World University Rowing Championship in London, ON, in partnership with Rowing Canada Aviron, Western University and Tourism London. That’s only the fourth time ever that Canada has hosted a FISU World University Championship.
2. Women's rugby
Rouge et Or recover from losing RSEQ final to win first national title
Similarly to what happened in women’s soccer, the Laval Rouge et Or women’s rugby team lost a conference final but then went on to win a national title. The Rouge et Or lost 25-15 to the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the RSEQ final on Oct. 25, but then went on a run through the national field, beating the UBC Thunderbirds 32-12 in the quarterfinals and besting the Guelph Gryphons 21-5 in the semifinals. Laval then beat the Queen’s Gaels 22-14 in the Nov. 3 gold-medal match.
That championship match saw the Rouge et Or win their first-ever national title in women’s rugby, with tries from Nele Pien, Marie-Laura Choquette and Jan-Ma Létinois plus a penalty from Anne-Charlotte Beaulieu proving crucial. Laval’s Justine Pelletier was named tournament MVP. A full recap of the gold-medal match can be found here.
1. Men's soccer
Patriotes win first national title behind 15 saves from Félix Clapin-Girard
One of the most impressive individual performances of the fall came from UQTR Patriotes keeper Félix Clapin-Girard at the national championships. Clapin-Girard recorded three straight clean sheets in UQTR’s wins over the UBC Thunderbirds (1-0), Carleton Ravens (1-0) and Montreal Carabins (2-0), and was named tournament MVP as a result.
That showing against the Carabins in the Nov. 10 championship game was particularly remarkable, as Clapin-Girard made 15 saves to preserve the shutout. And he did so against the defending national champions, the tournament hosts, and the team that beat UQTR 2-0 for the RSEQ title back on Nov. 1. A full recap of the championship match can be found here.
Social media posts of the week
Also in women’s rugby, the Canadian U-18 team was announced for the 2019 Can-Am tour, held December 26-30th, 2019 in Chula Vista, California. Several players from U SPORTS schools are on that roster.
In swimming, University of Toronto Varsity Blues alum Kylie Masse was named Swimming Canada’s female swimmer of the year for the third straight year:
Meanwhile, UBC Thunderbirds swimmer Marcus Thormeyer was named the male swimmer of the year for the second consecutive year:
In volleyball, York Lions alum Melissa Humana-Paredes and partner Sarah Pavan were named the FIVB’s Most Outstanding Female Team for the 2018-19 FIVB World Beach Tour, and picked up individual awards as well.
In track and field, Laval Rouge et Or alum Charles Philibert-Thiboutot led the way amongst the many Canadians at the Boston University season opener, placing third (in his first race in 13 months, no less) and setting a Quebec personal best along the way:
And in women’s hockey, the Canadian team (featuring a number of U SPORTS-connected figures) fell 4-1 to the U.S. Saturday in Hartford, Connecticut in the first game of a two-game Rivalry Series. The second game takes place Dec. 17 in Moncton, NB.
Andrew has been covering university sports in Canada since 2005 at outlets such as The Queen's Journal, The CIS Blog, and Yahoo Canada, where he also served as the editor of the Canadian football blog 55-Yard Line. He has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree from Queen's University with a major in history, and currently works as a staff writer and editor for Awful Announcing and The Comeback.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewBucholtz