Marauders outlast Gaels, Gryphons best Gee-Gees
The football playoffs kicked off this weekend in Ontario, with the third-seeded No. 7 McMaster Marauders beating the sixth-seeded Queen’s Gaels 12-9 in rainy conditions at home and the fifth-seeded No. 9 Guelph Gryphons taking down the fourth-seeded Ottawa Gee-Gees 30-8 on the road. The Marauders’ win was particularly notable, as they jumped out to a 12-0 lead in the first half on a 24-yard touchdown catch by Dan Petermann, a 12-yard field goal from Adam Preocanin and a safety from the defence, but didn’t score again and had to hang on in the second half. They held the Gaels to three field goals (on five attempts) from Nick Liberatore, though, and then all but sealed the game on Eric Blake’s interception with 1:20 left. That let McMaster all but run out the clock before punting the ball back, and a desperation final heave from Queen’s quarterback Nate Hobbs fell incomplete.
The star of the game offensively for the Marauders was running back Jordan Lyons, who rushed 39 times (tying an OUA playoff record) for 319 yards (a rushing yardage that was the second-highest total in both U SPORTS playoff history and McMaster history). That helped the Marauders win the possession battle and control the clock. They didn’t find much success through the air, with quarterback Jackson White only completing 12 of 26 passes for 154 yards with an interception, but the ground attack worked well for them. On the other side of the ball, McMaster defensive tackle Hassan Berry led the way with six tackles and a sack, while defensive end Mark Mackie had four tackles and two sacks. And the defense as a whole held Hobbs to 18 completions on 47 attempts for 227 yards.
In the other OUA quarterfinal, the Gryphons were all over the Gee-Gees from the opening whistle, scoring 20 unopposed points in the first quarter and never looking back. Guelph running back Johnny Augustine collected 151 yards on 21 carries, while quarterback James Roberts completed 10 of 19 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. It was Roberts’ first game since he was injured Sept. 23 against McMaster. Gryphons’ kicker Gabriel Ferraro, who set the the U SPORTS single-season record last week with 33 successful field goals during the regular season, also made five of his six field-goal attempts on the day. Next week, Guelph will head to Waterloo to face the No. 5 Laurier Golden Hawks (the second OUA seed), while McMaster will travel to London to face the No. 3 Western Mustangs (the top OUA seed).
Elsewhere, the rest of the U SPORTS football conferences wrapped up their regular seasons. One notable result there had the Alberta Golden Bears beating the No. 1 Calgary Dinos 53-3 on the road to clinch their first playoff berth since 2010. (Calgary had nothing on the line in that game, though, and played some backups throughout the game and others in the second half, plus had horrible turnover luck early.) The No. 2 Laval Rouge et Or topped the Concordia Stingers 46-14 on the road Friday to clinch the top seed in Quebec and their twelth title in 13 years, while the No. 4 Montreal Carabins bested the McGill Redmen 27-17 at home Saturday and will be seeded second in the conference:
Out west, the No. 6 UBC Thunderbirds beat the No. 8 Regina Rams 44-15 at home Saturday. Next week, the Canada West semifinals will see Calgary hosting Alberta again and Regina at UBC again, while the RSEQ semifinals will see Laval host the Sherbrooke Vert et Or and Montreal host Concordia.
In Atlantic Canada, the 3-4 Mount Allison Mounties upset the 5-2 Saint Mary’s Huskies 26-25, but missed out on the final AUS playoff berth thanks to the 3-4 St. Francis Xavier X-Men beating the 1-6 Bishop’s Gaiters 27-17. The teams split the season series, with St. FX winning 37-0 Sept. 1 and Mount Allison winning 32-15 Oct. 7, but St. FX’s point differential gives them the tiebreaker. Interestingly enough, Mount Allison’s win was a reverse of their first game against Saint Mary’s this year on Sept. 23, where the Huskies scored 10 late points to win 27-26. Next week, Saint Mary’s will host St. FX in the AUS semifinals, with the winner advancing to face No. 10 Acadia in the Loney Bowl.
All of these conference playoffs lead up to the Mitchell Bowl (RSEQ champion at Canada West champion) and the Uteck Bowl (OUA champion at AUS champion) on Nov. 18, and the Vanier Cup in Hamilton on Nov. 25. On that front, The Trews were announced as the halftime act for the Vanier this week.
Lions claim OUA championship, prepare for nationals against Thunderbirds
The York Lions made some history this weekend, winning their first OUA field hockey title since 1996 with a 3-2 victory over the Guelph Gryphons Sunday. OUA co-MVP and rookie of the year Jaslan Stirling had another great game for York, scoring early and then later adding the winning goal in the 43rd minute. Sydney McFaul also scored for the Lions, while fellow OUA co-MVP Rebecca Plouffe and Kayla Magarelli scored for Guelph. Stirling scored early on before Plouffe equalized, and McFaul scored before Magarelli tied it up before the half, leading to Stirling’s eventual winning goal. Sara Vollmerhausen made several key defensive plays for the Lions throughout the game, including a late clearance on the Gryphons’ final short corner, and was named York’s player of the game.
The Lions will now move on to face the six-time defending champion UBC Thunderbirds in the U Sports championships, the first under the new Canada West versus OUA champion format. UBC will host those championships, and they’ll be a best two-of-three format, with games Friday and Saturday and the deciding game Sunday if needed.
Gaels dethrone 13-time reigning champion Gryphons
The OUA cross country championships this weekend saw a major shakeup from a historical perspective, with the 13-time reigning champion Guelph Gryphons finishing third behind the Queen’s Gaels and University of Toronto Varsity Blues on the women’s side. Queen’s runner Branna MacDougall finished first overall on the women’s side in the 8-kilometre race and was named OUA MVP with a time of 27:19.5. She became the second-straight Gael to win OUA MVP, following Claire Sumner last year. Queen’s Amy Stephenson finished fourth, while Sumner finished fifth and Molly Steer finished 10th. The Gaels collected 37 points as a team, well ahead of Toronto (62) and Guelph (79), and claimed their first OUA title since 2003, the last year any team other than the Gryphons won the provincial title. Oh, and they got some nice recruiting news even before that, as MacDougall’s sister Brogan committed to Queen’s this week.
The Gaels’ victory also may change things heading into the national championships, where Guelph has won the last 12 titles. Queen’s, Toronto and Guelph were ranked first through third nationally before this week, so the result isn’t perhaps all that surprising from that perspective. But it’s still very different to see someone other than the Gryphons entering nationals as the OUA champions.
On the men’s side, Guelph finished first for the 12th time in 13 years and the 16th time in the last 19 years. The Gryphons took the provincial championship back from the Western Mustangs, who broke up that streak last year. Connor Black led the way for Guelph, claiming the OUA MVP title and the individual gold with a time of 30:32.2. McMaster finished second, while Queen’s finished third.
Elsewhere, the Dalhousie Tigers won the AUS championships on both the men’s and women’s sides, claiming the women’s title for the fifth-straight season but their first men’s title since 2010. And the Laval Rouge et Or won the RSEQ championships for both men and women.
Out west, the Calgary Dinos placed first on the men’s and women’s side in the Stewart Cup, while the Victoria Vikes won the women’s B.C. provincial championship and the UBC Thunderbirds won on the men’s side, narrowly edging Victoria on a tiebreaker. Victoria will host the national championships Nov. 12.
X-Women and Gee-Gees claim conference titles, set up for nationals
The No. 1 St. Francis Xavier X-Women will be the top seed in the upcoming national championships after claiming the AUS title with a 58-21 win over the Acadia Axewomen Friday. AUS most valuable player Joanna Alphonso led the way with four tries for the X-Women, while Hannah Ellis had two, and June Beals, Alison Blanchard, Sara Hoenig and Miranda Sample added single tries. Danielle Franada chipped in four converts for St. FX. The X-Women, the defending U SPORTS champions, look to be in good shape heading into this year’s championships in Lethbridge. The Axewomen will be there as well as the seventh seed.
In Quebec, the Ottawa Gee-Gees thumped the Laval Rouge et Or 25-7 Friday to claim their fourth-straight RSEQ title. That one was close at the half, with Laval leading 7-5, but Ottawa then went on a 20-0 run. Emily Gray had a try and a penalty for the Gee-Gees, while Alexandra Ondo, Dria Bennett, and Danielle Erdelyi also chipped in tries. Ottawa will be the No. 2 seed at nationals, while Laval will be seeded fifth. The other competing teams will be the No. 3 Calgary Dinos (the Canada West champions), the No. 4 Guelph Gryphons (the OUA champions), the No. 6 Queen’s Gaels (the OUA runners-up) and the No. 8 Lethbridge Pronghorns (the host).
Rams go on a run
The Ryerson Rams have been on quite the postseason run. They entered the OUA playoffs as the third seed in the East with a 9-6-1 record, beat the sixth-seeded Queen’s Gaels 2-0 at home in the first round Wednesday and then edged the second-seeded (and No. 10 nationally) University of Toronto Varsity Blues on penalty kicks for a 1-0 road quarterfinal victory (3-2 in a shootout) Sunday. In penalty kicks, Raheem Rose, Nick Lambis and Misel Klisara scored for Ryerson, while Nikola Stakic and Savid Colelli tallied for the Varsity Blues. Ryerson will move on to the OUA semifinals Saturday to face the the top-seeded (and No. 5 nationally) York Lions, who beat the Western Mustangs 2-1.
Meanwhile, the second-seeded (and No. 8) McMaster Marauders edged the Guelph Gryphons 1-0 and will face the top-seeded Carleton Ravens (No. 5 nationally), who beat the UOIT Ridgebacks 7-0 Sunday.
Elsewhere, the No. 3 Alberta Golden Bears beat the UNBC Timberwolves 3-0 in the Canada West quarterfinals, while the No. 6 UBC Thunderbirds edged the Mount Royal Cougars 2-1. The Trinity Western Spartans and Thompson Rivers WolfPack also came up with quarterfinal wins. UBC will host the Canada West Final Four next weekend and will face the WolfPack in one semifinal, while the Golden Bears will take on the Spartans.
AUS and RSEQ conference play also wrapped up this weekend, with the playoffs set to start there soon. The No. 1 Montreal Carabins ended the season on a down note, suffering their first loss of the season Friday with a 2-0 defeat against the Laval Rouge et Or. They finished the season 10-1-1 and will host the McGill Redmen in one semifinal Friday; Laval will host the UQAM Citadins in the other semifinal. Meanwhile, the No. 2 Cape Breton Capers finished their regular-season campaign with a pair of victories, beating the Dalhousie Tigers 2-0 Saturday and the Saint Mary’s Huskies 2-0 Sunday to finish 11-0-1. They’ll host one AUS semifinal and No. 7 St. FX will host the other one.
Gaels knock off No. 10 Gee-Gees on penalties
The OUA soccer playoffs started this week, and the most notable result might be the exit of the No. 10 Ottawa Gee-Gees. Ottawa finished the season 10-1-5, in third place in the OUA East behind the No. 2 UOIT Ridgebacks (14-0-2) and the unranked Queen’s Gaels (12-3-1), and that meant they had to compete in the first round of the playoffs Wednesday. They edged Toronto there 1-0, but then fell 2-1 to Queen’s on penalties in the quarterfinals Sunday.
The other teams advancing to the semifinals were No. 2 UOIT, No. 3 Western, and Guelph, with the Gryphons making their first OUA Final Four appearance in almost two decades:
In the Canada West playoffs, the No. 5 Trinity Western Spartans picked up a 1-0 quarterfinal win over the UFV Cascades, while the No. 6 Victoria Vikes edged the Calgary Dinos 1-0. The MacEwan Griffins also beat the Alberta Pandas 2-1, and the UBC Thunderbirds picked up a 3-0 win over the Saskatchewan Huskies. The AUS and RSEQ regular seasons wrapped up this week, with those playoffs set to start next week.
Dinos, Gee-Gees, Carabins and Tigers claim titles
There was plenty of swimming action this weekend, with meets all across Canada. The Calgary Dinos handily triumphed at their own varsity tri-meet, finishing with 18 gold, 16 silver and 12 bronze medals to beat the Lethbridge Pronghorns and the Alberta Golden Bears. The Ottawa Gee-Gees earned the title at the Carleton Ravens Invitational, beating the hosts and the Brock Badgers and finishing with 26 gold, 25 silver and 26 bronze medals. In Quebec, the Montreal Carabins won the University Cup at McGill, besting the hosts, Laval, Sherbrooke and UQTR. And out East, the Dalhousie Tigers were triumphant at the 9th Annual Jack Scholtz AUS Invitational Swim Meet, hosted by Acadia. Dalhousie earned 28 gold, 20 silver and eight bronze medals, beating the hosts, Mount Allison and the University of New Brunswick.
Cougars earn split with No. 1 Pandas
The Regina Cougars had an impressive weekend on the ice, beating the No. 1 Alberta Pandas 3-2 in a road shootout Friday and then narrowly losing the rematch 3-2 in overtime Saturday. Friday’s game was particularly notable, as Emma Waldenberger tied the game for Regina with just 39 seconds left in regulation. Kylee Kupper would go on to score the shootout winner, while Jane Kish made 26 saves.
Elsewhere, the No. 2 UBC Thunderbirds earned a pair of wins over the Lethbridge Pronghorns, while the No. 6 St. FX X-Women beat the No. 3 Saint Mary’s Huskies 2-1 in overtime Saturday. The No. 4 Concordia Stingers picked up wins over Carleton and Montreal, the latter in overtime, while the No. 5 McGill Martlets lost 2-1 to Montreal Friday and 3-2 to Ottawa Sunday.
No. 3 Bisons drop a pair to No. 9 Dinos
Coming off Canada West silver medals and a fifth-place showing at last year’s nationals, the Manitoba Bisons were ranked third overall heading into this weekend, but it didn’t go so well for them. On the road against the No. 9 Calgary Dinos, the Bisons fell 3-1 Friday night and 3-2 Saturday. Scott Vercaigne’s 25 kills weren’t enough for Manitoba Saturday, while Alex Bader, Regan Fathers, and Tim Taylor had 19, 18 and 14 respectively for Calgary.
Gaels and Huskies start strong
The women’s basketball season got rolling this weekend, and several of the teams who did well last season are already off to good starts. The Queen’s Gaels finished second in the OUA last season and fourth at last year’s nationals, and they began this year with a 77-61 win over the Lakehead Thunderwolves. Andrea Priamo led the way for Queen’s with 15 points and nine rebounds. The Saskatchewan Huskies won Canada West last year, and they opened this season with 83-52 and 101-56 wins over the Manitoba Bisons.
Bears and Pandas earn Dino Invitational titles
The University of Alberta earned men’s and women’s titles at the University of Calgary’s Dino Invitational this weekend. On the men’s side, the Golden Bears claimed the team title with 94 points, well ahead of the UFV Cascades, who placed second with 41 points. The Dinos, Saskatchewan Huskies and Regina Cougars also competed. On the women’s side, the Pandas’ 31 points edged out the Dinos, with the Cougars, Huskies and Cascades following.
No. 2 Dinos pick up two wins
The No. 2 Calgary Dinos earned a couple of big victories at home this weekend, narrowly edging the Manitoba Bisons three sets to two Friday before beating them in straight sets in Saturday’s rematch. Calgary came back from trailing two sets to one Friday, led by a 20-kill effort from Kate Pexman. On Saturday, Laura McManes led the way with 13 kills in the straight-set win. The No. 1 Alberta Bears also earned two wins against MacEwan (3-0 and 3-2), and the No. 3 Montreal Carabins beat Ottawa three sets to one.
Rams get off to solid start with win over Thunderbirds
The Ryerson Rams were the runners-up at last season’s nationals to the Carleton Ravens, and they’re looking to be a force again this year. They came up with a big season-opening 84-58 win over the Algoma Thunderbirds Friday, led by a 16-point, six rebound-outing from Roshane Roberts and 13 points, eight rebounds and six blocks from Tanor Ngom. Canada West play also started this weekend, and last year’s three Final 8 participants (Alberta, Manitoba and Calgary) all opened up with a pair of wins.
No. 8 Dinos earn split with No. 4 Huskies
The No. 8 Calgary Dinos had a solid weekend, battling the No. 4 Saskatchewan Huskies hard Friday before falling 2-1 in a shootout, but then recovering to win the rematch 4-2 Saturday. Cain Franson led the way with two goals in that latter game. Elsewhere, No. 1 Alberta, No. 2 UNB and No. 3 St. FX all picked up a pair of weekend wins.
Social media posts of the week
In the wake of Kingston native and Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie’s passing last week, the Queen’s Gaels came up with a nice way to honour him during their weekend hockey games. Here are tweets from Queen’s Alumni Association president Sue Bates and Kingston Whig-Standard columnist Ben McLean on that: