Welcome to Weekend Watch, your weekly preview of all the best U SPORTS action that can’t be missed across Canada West, the OUA, RSEQ and AUS.
For U SPORTS Football Weekend Watch, click here.
4th Annual International Day of University Sport
U SPORTS is proudly celebrating Friday the 4th annual International Day of University Sport (IDUS) together with the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and other National University Sport Federations across the world.
On this important day, U SPORTS members and conferences are sharing with the Canadian and international sports community what university sport means to them.
Bill Slater Western Invitational
Saturday, 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PT
Saturday, Women – 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT; Men – 11:45 a.m. ET / 8:45 a.m. PT
The Bill Slater Western Invitation takes place in London, Ont., this weekend – an event that will host several powerhouse OUA cross country teams in the first significant meet of the year.
The two-time defending women’s conference champion and No.1 nationally-ranked Queen’s Gaels kick off their season led by Brogan MacDougall, one of the rising stars in the nation. MacDougall led the Gaels to an OUA title and U SPORTS team silver medal in her first season – capturing Rookie of the Year and MVP honours at both the conference and national levels in the process. She’ll look to continue that success as the Gaels host the national race for the second straight campaign in November.
Meanwhile, Guelph head coach Dave Scott-Thomas is aiming to restore the Gryphons to their former championship glory, after finishing second in the men’s and third in the women’s national competitions last year. Scott-Thomas has earned a combined 27 U SPORTS banners at the helm of the Gryphons cross country program (14 men, 13 women). Fourth-year mechanical engineering student Mitchell Ubene looks to keep the momentum rolling, after placing first at the Spiked Shoe Invitational last week hosted by Penn State.
The OUA men’s champion and No. 3-ranked McMaster Marauders will also be racing in London on Saturday. Led by All-Canadian Sergio Raez Villanueva and reigning conference Coach of the Year Paula Schnurr – the first female to capture the award in over 50 years – the Marauders are defending their first OUA title since 1964.
Out east, the StFX Invitational is also taking place Saturday in Antigonish, N.S. – the first meet of the AUS season after the Dalhousie/Saint Mary’s Invitational was cancelled two weeks ago in Halifax due to Hurricane Dorian,
Last year, StFX’s Zoe Johnston took second place in the race, and will look to improve to the top spot this year. On the men’s side, Paul McLellan, had the top time out of returning athletes.
No. 2 Cape Breton @ No. 7 Acadia
Sunday, 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT
The second-ranked Cape Breton Capers women’s soccer team takes on AUS rival and No.7-ranked Acadia this Sunday.
The Capers (4-0-0) are undefeated on the season, led by striker Aaliyah Rowe, who has scored four goals in as many games. The Capers have been impenetrable on the defensive side, not allowing a single goal this season thanks to goalkeepers Haley Kardas and Rachel Yerxa.
Meanwhile, the Axewomen are coming off three straight wins to start the year and will turn to reigning AUS Female Athlete of the Week Jenna Boudreau for offensive production against the stout Cape Breton defence. The Halifax, N.S., native currently leads the conference and is ranked third nationally in points with seven – with three goals and four assists on the season.
Ahead of this matchup, the Capers honoured their lone national championship team from 2007 on Tuesday, inducting them into the Capers Hall of Fame.
No. 5 Ryerson @ No. 7 Toronto
Sunday, 3:15 p.m. ET/ 12:15 p.m. PT
The No. 7 Toronto Varsity Blues men’s soccer team will play host to their downtown rivals in the No.5 Ryerson Rams on Sunday at Varsity Stadium – the first match of a home-and-home series between the two sides.
Undefeated Ryerson (5-0-1) has been explosive up front end this year with an OUA-leading 19 goals for, while only allowing just five against. Midfielder Muaz Saleh, a mechanical engineering student, has accounted for five goals and two assists on the season.
On the other side, the Varsity Blues (4-0-1) are coming off a 3-2 win over Nipissing. Koosha Nazemi has three goals so far in the campaign.
No. 8 Calgary @ No. 9 Lethbridge
Saturday, 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT
The Battle of Alberta is alive and well, as the No. 9 Lethbridge Pronghorns host the No. 8 Calgary Dinos in Canada West women’s rugby action this Saturday for their home opener.
Lethbridge (1-0) won their only contest this season back on Sept. 9, blanking the Alberta Pandas 27-0, led by 8-man Sydney De La Mare, who scored a pair of tries.
Defending conference champion Calgary (2-1) is also coming off a 19-12 win last Saturday against the Pandas, and will look to stay in the win column against their southern provincial rivals.
Women’s Field Hockey
Victoria @ Calgary
Saturday/Sunday, 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT
The defending U SPORTS McCrae Cup champion Victoria Vikes kick off their title defence, with a Canada West road series against the Calgary Dinos beginning Saturday. Victoria hoisted the national championship trophy for the first time since 2008 last fall, after sweeping the OUA champion York Lions in last year’s best-of-three series in Toronto.
Calgary (0-2), is coming off a pair of one-goal defeats to UBC (2-0) in last week’s series. Midfielder Nicole Brown led the way for the Dinos, scoring two goals in the second match against the Thunderbirds.
The Vikes are looking to make another championship push this season, and their 13th national title.