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.
Mustangs to host 2022 FISU World University Rowing Championship in partnership with Rowing Canada Aviron and Tourism London
For the fourth time ever, a FISU World University Championship is coming to Canada. Back in 1996, Jonquière, Que., hosted the 1996 FISU World University Judo Championship. Then in 2002, the University of Alberta hosted the FISU World University Wrestling Championship, and in 2010, Queen’s University hosted the FISU World University Cross Country Championship. This week saw the announcement that Western University will host the 2022 FISU World University Rowing Championship at London, ON’s Fanshawe Lake, in partnership with Rowing Canada Aviron and Tourism London:
The Western Mustangs have captured 14 combined men's and women's Canadian University Rowing Championship titles since 2006 (they placed second and third this year on the men’s and women’s sides respectively), and they’ve won 58 combined OUA titles in program history, so there should be plenty of their athletes represented at this event. But they’ll have competition; more than 20 countries and more than 300 student-athletes are expected to take part in that championship. More details on the event are available here.
U SPORTS all-star team unveiled for series at Canadian world junior team selection camp, led by Mikkel Aagaard
For the fifth straight year, a U SPORTS all-star men’s hockey team will face off against Canada’s National Junior Team Prospects ahead of the IIHF World Junior Championships. That series will come at the Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Selection camp at Oakville’s Sixteen Mile Sports Complex from Dec. 9-12, and in addition to practices, it will include two games, on Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. ET and Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. ET.
The U SPORTS roster for the event was announced this week, and there are plenty of notable figures on it, including Mikkel Aagaard of the Guelph Gryphons. Aagaard was the captain of the Danish team that finished eighth at the 2015 World Junior Championships in Montreal and Toronto, and he’s represented Denmark at six different world championships at varying levels since 2012. He has 12 goals and 24 points for Guelph so far this season, which has him tied for eighth nationally:
There are also seven other players on the all-star roster with All-Star Series and FISU Winter Universiade experience, including some notable major junior alums:
Plenty of U SPORTS coaches are involved as well, with UNB Reds’ coach Gardiner MacDougall (who was an assistant coach for the U SPORTS all-star team last year) serving as the head coach, and Queen’s Gaels head coach Brett Gibson (who led this team in 2016), Regina Cougars’ head coach Todd Johnson (an assistant on last year’s team), and Western Mustangs head coach Clarke Singer all serving as assistants. The full U SPORTS roster can be found here, and the full roster of the 31 players invited to compete for spots on this year’s World Junior team can be found here.
No. 4 Gee-Gees best No. 3 Ravens
The U SPORTS women’s basketball fall campaign wrapped up Wednesday with an OUA clash between two top-10 teams, with the No. 3 Carleton Ravens hosting the No. 4 Ottawa Gee-Gees. Ottawa emerged with a 66-49 win in a defensive duel, with the Gee-Gees making 38.1 percent of their field goal attempts and the Ravens connecting on just 33.3 percent of their own.
For Ottawa, fifth-year forward Katherine Follis and third-year forward Brigitte Lefebvre-Okankwu led the way Wednesday, notching 13 and 12 points respectively, while fifth-year centre Angela Ribarich added 10 points. For Carleton, fifth-year forward Alyssa Cerino and fourth-year forward Marlee Ball combined for 26 of the team’s 49 points. The teams will face off again at the Capital Hoops Classic on Feb. 7.
Another notable women’s basketball clash took place in Canada West Monday, with the Winnipeg Wesmen beating the Brandon Bobcats 74-57 on the road. That came after Winnipeg beat Brandon 77-65 at home the previous Thursday.
No. 1 Ravens edge No. 4 Gee-Gees
Carleton and Ottawa also faced off in a men’s game Wednesday, the last U SPORTS men’s basketball game before the winter break. There, the No. 1 Ravens pulled out a 69-65 home win over the No. 4 Gee-Gees, bolstered by 23 points from fifth-year guard Munis Tutu on just 10 field goal attempts. Meanwhile, fourth-year Ottawa guard Calvin Epistola notched 30 points for the Gee-Gees, but that was on 10-of-24 shooting. And the rest of the Ottawa offense only hit 10 of 34 shots from the field.
The Ravens got out to a good start in this one, leading 20-17 after the first quarter. However, the Gee-Gees responded with a strong second frame, and they took a 33-29 lead into the halftime break. Carleton outscored Ottawa 24-13 in the third, though, and while the Gee-Gees edged the Ravens 19-16 in the final quarter, that wasn’t enough for the win. They’ll have a chance to gain revenge at the Capital Hoops Classic on Feb. 7.
No. 9 Rouge et Or head into break with straight-sets win over Vert et Or
RSEQ play saw the No. 9 Laval Rouge et Or involved in two of the final U SPORTS women’s volleyball matches before the winter break, and they came out on top in both contests. Last Sunday, the Rouge et Or beat the Ottawa Gee-Gees 25-21, 25-14, 25-20 on the road, and on Friday, Laval bested the Sherbrooke Vert et Or 25-19, 25-19, 25-13. Eloise Ross Tremblay led the way for the Rouge et Or in Friday’s game with 13 kills and 15.5 points, while Maud Chapleau added 10 kills and 12 points.
Track and field
Rouge et Or post impressive results at Laval Invitational
One of the last notable track meets before the winter break came at the Laval Invitational this weekend, with the host Rouge et Or (under new head coach Sylvain Cloutier, who’d previously served as an assistant with the track team for eight years and as an overall sports studies leader for Laval last year) impressing with 204 combined points. The Sherbrooke Vert et Or were second with 70 points. Some notable individual gold-medal performances for Laval included Louis Brousseau in men’s high jump, Jean-Simon Desgagnés in the men’s 1500 metres, and Roxanne Bessette in the women’s pentathlon.
Social media posts of the week:
Following their victory representing Canada in the 2019 FISU University World Cup last week, the Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s soccer team returned home this week, and they received some impressive recognition on their campus and beyond:
In international rugby, the Canadian men’s and women’s sevens teams (both featuring plenty of players with U SPORTS connections) took part in the Dubai 7s this week, with the women (led by captain and St. Francis Xavier alum Ghislaine Landry) winning silver and the men going 1-3 overall, but besting Wales 31-14 (with UBC alum Phil Berna notching a Canadian try):
In wrestling, the Canadian Wrestling Trials (a key part of qualification for the 2020 Olympics) were held this week in Niagara Falls, ON, hosted by the Brock Wrestling Club, Wrestling Canada Lutte and the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games Host Society. Those trials included important matches on both the men’s and women’s sides. Some notable results there included Calgary Dinos’ alum Erica Wiebe (who claimed Olympic gold in 2016) coming up with two straight wins over Justina Di Stasio in the women’s 76kg final, while Concordia Stingers’ alum Jordie Steen topped the men’s 97 kg weight class:
In cross country, the 24 athletes representing Canada at the 2020 Pan American Cross Country Cup in the Langford and Victoria, BC area on February 29 were named this week, with that list including Guelph Gryphons’ alum Geneviève Lalonde (who won her second straight national cross country title last weekend):
In field hockey, the Canadian women’s team (featuring a lot of U SPORTS alums) recently posted a letter to their Instagram account about their desire to keep going despite a tough shootout loss to Ireland earlier last month:
In women’s basketball, U SPORTS coaches including Fabian McKenzie (head coach of the Cape Breton Capers’ women’s team, and head coach of the U18 Canadian national team) and Cheryl Jean-Paul (head coach of the Trinity Western Spartans’ women’s team, and head coach of the U17 Canadian national team) are taking part in the Women's National Age-Group Assessment Camp at Humber College this coming week, with 57 top Canadian players invited to that:
Finally, Sportsnet's Hometown Hockey profiled Ryerson Rams women's hockey captain Kryshanda Green, and her relationship with her grandfather, former NHLer Bill Riley.
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