Western storms back from 20-3 halftime deficit to beat Carleton in wild overtime finish, while Waterloo’s Tre Ford and Tyler Ternowski tie OUA records
The U SPORTS football season kicked off this weekend for OUA, AUS and RSEQ teams, and one particular highlight came Sunday from the defending Vanier Cup champion Western Mustangs’ 26-23 overtime road win against the Carleton Ravens. Carleton got off to a strong start in that one, taking a 3-0 lead after the first quarter and 20-3 at the half, but the Mustangs battled back with 20 straight points of their own and looked set to win in regulation. Then, however, the Ravens managed a Hail Mary pass followed by a 50-yard field goal from Mike Domagala, which tied the game at 23 with less than a second left and led to it going to overtime.
In overtime, things didn’t start so well for Western, as a first-down holding call set them back. They were able to regain some distance on second down, though, and Marc Liegghio remained perfect on the day with his fourth field goal on four attempts (he also had two successful extra point conversions), drilling one from 36 yards out to put the Mustangs up. Then, on Carleton’s overtime possession, Western defensive back Bleska Kambamba came up with an interception near the goal line to secure the win.
Fourth-year Western quarterback Chris Merchant had some early struggles in this one, but finished with 19 completions on 26 attempts (73.1 per cent) for 212 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Meanwhile, second-year Carleton quarterback Mike Arruda threw for 297 yards, but only completed 13 of 28 attempts (46.4 per cent) with two touchdowns and two interceptions. On the ground, Cedric Joseph paved the way for Western with 20 carries for 101 yards. And this extended the Mustangs’ winning streak to 13 games, dating all the way back to last year’s season opener. But they needed those big overtime plays from Liegghio and Kambamba to get there.
Meanwhile, the Waterloo Warriors picked up a 53-37 win over the Windsor Lancers, one driven by the connection between quarterback Tre Ford and receiver Tyler Ternowski. Ford completed an incredible 25 of his 28 passing attempts (89.3 percent) for 463 passing yards and six passing touchdowns (tying an OUA record for passing TDs) while adding a rushing touchdown, and Ternowski caught 11 balls for 289 yards and four touchdowns (tying an OUA record for receiving TDs). If that duo keeps that up, they’ll make Waterloo a team to watch.
Elsewhere in notable football results, the Laval Rouge et Or (last season’s RSEQ champions and Vanier Cup runners-up) started their campaign with a 14-1 win over the Sherbrooke Vert et Or, while the Montreal Carabins (last year’s RSEQ runners-up) shut out the McGill Redmen 33-0. In other Ontario action, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (last year’s OUA runners-up) beat the Ottawa Gee-Gees 39-21, while a closer game saw the McMaster Marauders edge the Guelph Gryphons 16-15 (after a last-second 56-yard field goal attempt from Guelph’s Gabe Ferraro fell short), and the . And in Atlantic Canada, the Saint Mary’s Huskies beat the St. FX X-Men 20-13, and the Mount Allison Mounties beat the Bishop’s Gaiters 36-22 in an interconference game.
Mustangs-Gryphons OUA championship rematch ends in a draw
There’s been some preseason action in the other conferences, but the OUA is the only conference to begin its regular season so far. The Guelph Gryphons and Western Mustangs wound up on top of OUA in women’s soccer last season, with Guelph winning that championship on penalty kicks but Western finding more success (an eventual fourth-place finish) at nationals. The two sides had a rematch in Guelph Sunday, and there again wasn’t much between them, with that clash ending in a 0-0 draw. Keepers Libby Brenneman and Megan Girardi stood strong for the Gryphons and Mustangs respectively.
Elsewhere in OUA action, the Ryerson Rams beat the UOIT Ridgebacks (last year’s fourth-place OUA team) 1-0 on Saturday thanks to a goal from Alex Rodkin, while the Brock Badgers beat the Laurier Golden Hawks 1-0. Saturday also saw three draws, with the Carleton Ravens and Laurentian Voyageurs scoring two goals apiece, the Ottawa Gee-Gees and Nipissing Lakers finishing with a 1-1 tie, and the Trent Excalibur and University of Toronto Varsity Blues battling to a 1-1 draw. On Sunday, Nipissing beat Carleton 2-0, Ottawa thumped Laurentian 5-0, Trent and Ryerson finished with a 1-1 draw, Toronto bested UOIT 2-1, and the York Lions beat the Windsor Lancers 3-1.
Golden Bears best Griffins in Battle of Edmonton
Both Canada West and OUA teams started their regular seasons this weekend, but many of the Canada West games were postponed thanks to air quality issues from the B.C. wildfires. One notable game that was played saw the Alberta Golden Bears, who finished fourth in the Canada West playoffs last year, take down the MacEwan Griffins 2-0 Saturday in a battle of Edmonton teams. The Golden Bears were ranked second in the Canada West preseason polls, while the Griffins were ranked 13th, so it wasn’t a surprising result from that standpoint, but it did show an impressive Alberta team that looks to contend again this year. The Golden Bears got goals from Noah Cunningham and Matthew Miki, plus seven saves from fifth-year keeper Connor James.
Elsewhere in men’s soccer, the defending OUA champion York Lions started with a 1-1 draw against the Western Mustangs Friday and then faced the Windsor Lancers Sunday. Last year’s OUA runners-up Carleton earned a pair of wins on the weekend, beating Laurentian 2-1 Saturday and Nipissing 2-0 Sunday. And last year’s third-place OUA team, the Ryerson Rams, beat UOIT 2-1 Saturday and bested Trent by the remarkable score of 12-0 Sunday.
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Women’s futsal finishes sixth, numerous U SPORTS players taken in CWHL draft
The FISU world university futsal championships were held in Almaty, Kazakhstan this week, and the Canadian team had plenty of U SPORTS connections. With the help of U SPORTS, the team raised $3,016 to get there thanks to online backers, helping to alleviate participants’ costs. They wound up finishing sixth, and they produced some notable highlights along the way, with Moncton's Catherine Dupuis finishing as the tournament's top scorer and the team winning the Fair Play Award. Some photos are available here, and here’s one clip of a particular goal from former Saskatchewan Huskies’ soccer player Leesa Eggum:
Off the pitch, head coach Alexandre Da Rocha of UQAM and his squad visited the only orphanage in Almaty:
Elsewhere, many U SPORTS women’s hockey players were selected in the CWHL draft, including Ryerson Rams’ captain Ailish Forfar at ninth overall:
Other notable U SPORTS connections from that draft included the Calgary Inferno taking Manitoba Bisons’ star Venla Hovi (a 2018 Olympian for Finland) in the sixth round and Saskatchewan Huskies’ star Kaitlin Willoughby (captain of the U SPORTS all-stars this year) in the seventh round , and the Canadiennes de Montreal drafting six U SPORTS players: