Welcome to Monday Morning Quarterback, a weekly look at all the best U SPORTS stories from the weekend.
No. 3 Rouge et Or shut out No. 1 Carabins
One of the most-anticipated matchups this week saw the No. 1 Montreal Carabins (5-0 heading into the weekend) go on the road to face the No. 3 Laval Rouge et Or (5-1), in a rematch of the Carabins’ 21-16 home win over the Rouge et Or Sept. 9. This time around, it was all Laval, with the Rouge et Or rumbling to a decisive 22-0 victory in front of 18,383 fans, the fourth-best crowd in program history.
This was really a team effort from Laval, as fourth-year quarterback Hugo Richard only completed 17 of 31 passes for 150 yards with a touchdown and an interception (he did add 46 rushing yards and another touchdown on eight carries) and no Rouge et Or player had more than 59 rushing yards (second-year RB Alexis Côté collected 59 on nine carries), but the offense did enough to get by and the defense shone.
The Laval defense recorded an incredible six interceptions on the day, four off Carabins’ third-year starting quarterback Samuel Caron (who completed 11 of 23 passes for 130 yards) and two off first-year backup Dimitri Morand (who completed eight of 12 for 91 yards). In the last match between these teams, Caron threw for 377 yards and a touchdown without a pick, so the Rouge et Or kept him much more in check this time. Fourth-year defensive back Gabriel Ouellet recorded four of those interceptions himself, tying a Canadian university record for interceptions in a single game. Fifth-year defensive lineman Edward Godin also had a great game, recording eight tackles (tied for a game-high) and three sacks. Their efforts helped propel Laval to a big win, one that will give the Rouge et Or the top seed in the RSEQ playoffs if they can beat the 3-3 Concordia Stingers next week.
U SPORTS football saw another big upset this weekend, with the No. 7 Laurier Golden Hawks (5-2 heading into the game) downing the No. 5 McMaster Marauders (6-1) 40-15 to wrap up the OUA regular season. Laurier was led by an efficient performance from first-year quarterback Tristan Arndt (making his first U SPORTS start, to boot), who completed 18 of 23 passes for 213 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, and by third-year receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr., who had 10 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown to set a U SPORTS single-season record for receptions (75 catches) and a Laurier single-season record for receiving yards (953). Third-year defensive lineman Robbie Smith also had a great day, recording 3.5 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble and one pass breakup and setting a Golden Hawks’ single-season record for sacks (10.5).
Elsewhere in the Top 10, the No. 2 Calgary Dinos bested the No. 8 Regina Rams 42-30 to improve to 7-0. That one was a passing duel, as third-year Calgary quarterback Adam Sinagra threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns and fourth-year Regina quarterback Noah Picton threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns, falling just short of his 13th-straight 300-yard game. The No. 4 Western Mustangs thumped the Ottawa Gee-Gees 63-10 to finish the regular season 8-0, with second-year running back Trey Humes and third-year running back Cedric Joseph rushing for 138 and 137 yards respectively, but fifth-year Ottawa kicker Lewis Ward did make his only field-goal attempt of the day, giving him the three points he needed to pass Neil Lumsden as the Gee-Gees’ all-time leading scorer (and the third-leading scorer in U SPORTS history). The No. 6 UBC Thunderbirds narrowly edged the Manitoba Bisons 17-16, while the No. 9 Guelph Gryphons beat the Carleton Ravens 28-23. In AUS action, the No. 10 Saint Mary’s Huskies fell 33-23 to the Acadia Axemen, who improved to 6-2 and clinched first place, plus a berth in the Loney Bowl conference championship game.
No. 2 Gryphons down No. 7 Gaels in OUA championship, No. 3 Gee-Gees advance
The No. 7 Queen’s Gaels run through the conference playoffs came to an end Saturday. After a 109-0 win over the Trent Excalibur and a 20-15 upset of the McMaster Marauders (last year’s OUA silver medalists), Queen’s fell 43-17 to the unbeaten No. 2 Guelph Gryphons in the OUA final. The Gryphons raced out to a 22-5 lead early, but the Gaels battled back early in the second half to make it 22-17. In the end, Guelph retained their OUA title thanks to strong showings from fifth-year scrum half Chloe Runge, who had two crucial tries down the stretch, and fourth-year No. 8 Kylie Shaughnessy, who played the last 20 minutes despite suffering a pinched nerve in last week’s 55-0 win over the York Lions and helped the Gryphons fend off the Gaels’ comeback. Both teams will head to nationals in Lethbridge next week.
In Quebec, the No. 3 Ottawa Gee-Gees picked up a decisive 46-14 win over Montreal in the RSEQ semifinals Saturday to continue their unbeaten season. First-year centre Lauren Minns led the way for Ottawa with two tries. The Gee-Gees will look to pick up their fourth-straight RSEQ title next weekend against the No. 5 Laval Rouge et Or, who won a narrow 32-26 clash against the No. 9 Concordia Stingers in the other semifinal Sunday. Both teams have booked their ticket to next weekend’s national championships.
In the AUS semifinal, the No. 10 Acadia Axewomen downed the UPEI Panthers 53-18 Friday. They’ll play the No. 1 St. FX X-Women this coming Friday for the provincial title, with both teams moving on to nationals. And in Canada West, the No. 6 Victoria Vikes edged the Lethbridge Pronghorns 20-17 in one semifinal Friday, while the No. 4 Calgary Dinos beat the UBC Thunderbirds 44-12 in the other semifinal to stay undefeated. Lethbridge beat UBC 26-13 in Sunday’s third-place game and will compete in nationals as the host. The Dinos beat the Vikes 26-21 in Sunday’s final for the Canada West title, and will also appear in the nationals.
Marauders sweep Ohio State, Spartans start title defence with two straight-sets wins
The McMaster Marauders have recorded impressive success in their annual Nike Team North America preseason challenge against the Ohio State Buckeyes (the two-time defending NCAA champions), and that continued this weekend with a five-set win Saturday and a three-set win Sunday. That improved McMaster’s all-time match record against Ohio State to 5-2. Third-year outside hitter Matt Passalent led the way Friday with 22 kills on 34 attempts, plus an ace and a block assist, while fifth-year outside hitter Brandon Koppers made 16 kills on 41 attempts and added three aces and two and a half blocks. Here’s the block that won the fourth set for the Marauders Friday:
Elsewhere, the U SPORTS regular season kicked off in Canada West, with the two-time defending champion Trinity Western Spartans picking up two straight 3-0 wins over the Saskatchewan Huskies. First-year outside hitter Jesse Elser led the way Sunday with eight aces, seven kills and four blocks, while third-year middle hitter Pearson Eshenko went six for six on attacks with three blocks. The RSEQ regular season also got underway with an unexpected result, with the Montreal Carabins beating the Laval Rouge et Or (last year’s provincial champions) 3-1 Friday. Fourth-year athlete Godefroy Veyron-Trudel led the way for Montreal with 17 kills on 31 attempts, plus an ace and a block.
Badgers and Golden Hawks win Brock Open, Excalibur runners turn in strong showing
The Brock Open was the main cross country event this weekend, and the host Badgers came out on top on the men’s side with a team score of 44, narrowly ahead of the Waterloo Warriors’ 47. First-year runner Jeremy Mol delivered the best finish for Brock in the men’s 7-kilometre race, placing 11th overall (third amongst runners from competing teams) with a time of 23:46.5. In the women’s 5-kilometre race, the Laurier Golden Hawks took the team title with a score of 31, led by second-year runner Lizzie Laurie, who placed fourth (second amongst runners from competing teams) with a time of 19:26:3. The Trent Excalibur finished second with a score of 51, but got great performances from Sarah Law (second overall, first amongst runners from competing teams with a time of 18:45:1) and Anastasia Nepotiuk (10th overall, third amongst runners from competing teams with a time of 20:21:6.
No. 10 Carabins earn draw with No. 1 Rouge et Or
The top-ranked Laval Rouge et Or went into this weekend with a 9-0-1 record, and picked up a 2-0 win over the Sherbrooke Vert et Or Friday, but they were held to a 1-1 draw by the No. 10 Montreal Carabins Sunday. Fourth-year keeper Claudia Dubé-Trempe made four saves for Montreal in the draw, while third-year striker Emmanuelle Alcindor scored for the Carabins and fourth-year forward Joëlle Gosselin responded for Laval. Elsewhere, the No. 2 UOIT Ridgebacks earned a 2-1 win over the Queen’s Gaels and a 4-0 win over the RMC Paladins, while the No. 3 Western Mustangs edged the Brock Badgers 1-0 and beat the McMaster Marauders 2-1.
And Canada West has a new all-time career points leader. UBC Thunderbird striker Jasmin Dhanda recorded her 64th career point when she scored a goal in the opening minute of Friday night’s game against Fraser Valley to claim the record. She currently leads U SPORTS with 12 goals on the season.
Previously, the record was set by former UBC Thunderbird Janine Frazao in 2013, when Dhanda played her rookie season.
No. 3 Huskies get a double-OT win
The No. 3 Saskatchewan Huskies competed in one of this weekend’s most exciting hockey games, pulling out a 4-3 double-overtime win over the Lethbridge Pronghorns Friday. Third-year forward Logan McVeigh scored that winner on a partial breakaway. The Huskies then beat the Pronghorns again Saturday to improve to 6-0-0 on the year, notching a 5-2 win thanks to the help of four points from fifth-year forward Josh Roach.
Elsewhere, the No. 1 UNB Varsity Reds got a big 6-2 win over the UPEI Panthers Saturday, while the No. 2 Alberta Golden Bears recorded 5-2 and 4-1 wins over the Manitoba Bisons.
Lions score 14 goals across two games
The York Lions had a strong Sunday in field hockey, beating the Western Mustangs 4-1 and then downing the Waterloo Warriors 10-0. First-year forward Jaslan Stirling had five goals against Waterloo and a goal and an assist against Western, while third-year midfielder Montana Merante had a goal against the Mustangs and a goal and two assists against the Warriors. Out West, the Victoria Vikes finished a perfect regular season with 4-0 and 6-0 wins over the Calgary Dinos.
The Lions will now prepare to host the OUA Championship tournament this weekend, with the winner advancing to a best-of-three showdown for the national title against UBC.
Lakehead wins six varsity matches in dual meet with Algoma
The Lakehead Thunderwolves kicked off the wrestling season by hosting Algoma University for a dual meet this weekend, and they won six of the 10 contested varsity matches and all three exhibition matches. Fifth-year wrestler Jacob Luczak had a nice homecoming; he went to high school in Thunder Bay and competed for the Lakehead Wrestling Club before spending four years at the University of Regina, then joining the Thunderwolves this year. Luczak competed in two matches, winning one by a fall and the second 10-0 by technical superiority. Reigning U SPORTS champion Marco Palermo was also among the Lakehead wrestlers picking up a win.
Redmen hold No. 1 Carabins to a draw
The No. 1 Montreal Carabins dropped their first points of the season Friday in a 0-0 draw with the McGill Redmen. Keeper Antoine Marchal made seven saves for the Redmen, and helped them snap a five-game losing streak against the Carabins. Montreal bounced back to beat the UQTR Patriotes 6-1 Sunday, though, with Heikel Jarras notching two goals.
Cougars knock off No. 2 Thunderbirds
The No. 2 UBC Thunderbirds started the weekend strong with a 4-3 road win over the Regina Cougars Friday, but Regina got revenge with a 1-0 win in the rematch Saturday. Tamara McVannel scored for the Cougars Saturday, while Jane Kish made 13 saves for the shutout.
In Friday’s game, Celine Tardif led the way for the Thunderbirds with a goal and an assist.
Heat earn a split with reigning champion Thunderbirds
The UBC Thunderbirds claimed last year’s U SPORTS women’s volleyball championship, and got their title defense off to a good start Friday by beating the UBC Okanagan Heat three sets to one. However, the Heat triumphed in Saturday’s rematch, again by a 3-1 score. Siobhan Fitzpatrick and Ann Richards led the way for the Heat Saturday, posting 15 and 11 kills respectively.
Social media post of the week:
Former Laurier defensive lineman (and current Edmonton Eskimo) Kwaku Boateng took time to shout out some impressive performances from players at his alma mater:
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.