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.

Men’s soccer

Ravens lose perfect record against Rams

The No. 2 Carleton Ravens entered this weekend with a 10-0-0 mark in OUA play and only two goals allowed on the season, but they faced a pair of Top 10 clashes on the road against the No. 6 Ryerson Rams and the No. 9 Toronto Varsity Blues. And the first of those didn’t go so well for them. The Rams pulled off a 3-1 win against the Ravens Saturday, scoring more goals than Carleton had allowed through 10 matches.

This match started with a lot of pressure from the Ravens, but it was the Rams who first got on the scoresheet, with Kyle Laborde-Ayres striking first in the 28th minute and then adding a second goal seven minutes later. Carleton responded with plenty of offensive chances of their own, but Ryerson scored again in the 79th minute when Abdallah El-Chanti deflected one home. The Ravens’ only goal on the day came from Stefan Karajovanovic in extra time.

A strong defensive effort was crucial to Ryerson’s victory here, with central defenders Alex Meczarski and Antony Curic particularly shining and keeper Ali Ghazanfari making four saves. But Laborde-Ayres’ goals were also vital, and they came as part of an impressive recent run for him.

Second-year forward Laborde-Ayres got his first goal of his career last Saturday against the Nipissing Lakers, then added another last Sunday against the Laurentian Voyageurs. His goals against the Ravens were the third and fourth of his career, and meant he now has four goals in his last three matches. And Rams head coach Filip Prostran had high praise for him afterwards, saying "These games are not too big for him, he doesn't get rattled. The big moments are made for Kyle, and this was obvious today the way he showed up and played."

The Ravens recovered to beat the Blues 3-1 Sunday, while the Rams didn’t have another game. But they’ll go on the road for a rematch with Carleton next weekend.

Elsewhere in OUA men’s soccer, the No. 4 York Lions beat the Laurier Golden Hawks 3-0 at home Friday and the Algoma Thunderbirds 10-0 on the road Sunday, while the No. 7 Guelph Gryphons fell 4-3 on the road to the Brock Badgers Friday. In the RSEQ, Friday games saw No. 3 Montreal Carabins earn a 1-0 home win against the UQAM Citadins at home and the No. 8 UQTR Patriotes edge McGill 1-0 at home. In Canada West, the No. 5 UBC Thunderbirds won 3-0 on the road against the Victoria Vikes Thursday and 4-0 at home in the return match Saturday, both part of the overall Legends Cup between the schools. And in AUS play, the No. 1 Cape Breton Capers and No. 10 UNB Reds both had byes, but the StFX X-Men beat the Moncton Aigles Bleus 3-1 Thursday.


No. 2 Carabins fall to Vert & Or

One of the biggest upsets this week came in football, where the No. 2 Montreal Carabins fell 23-15 on the road to the Sherbrooke Vert & Or Saturday. Montreal was 6-0 heading into that one, while Sherbrooke was just 1-4, but the Vert & Or were the ones who came out ahead on the day.

Sherbrooke quarterback Anthony Robichaud completed 14 of 20 passes (70 per cent) on the day for 177 yards and two touchdowns, while Louis Tardif added three field goals. Bruno Senechal also picked up 52 rushing yards on 13 carries. Carl Marchesseault and Jean-Simon Guilbert recorded interceptions for the Vert & Or, while Nicolas Malenfant added a sack and two pass breakups.

Elsewhere in RSEQ football, the No. 3 Laval Rouge et Or beat McGill 39-3 on the road Saturday. In OUA play, the Carleton Ravens recovered from last week’s Panda Game loss to the Ottawa Gee-Gees by beating the No. 7 McMaster Marauders 35-30 at home, while the No. 9 Gee-Gees beat the Windsor Lancers 54-26 at home. The No. 1 Western Mustangs and No. 10 Waterloo Warriors each had byes. In AUS action, the No. 8 Acadia Axemen beat the StFX X-Men 44-25 at home to improve to 6-0 and clinch first place in the conference. Canada West had a bye this week.

Women’s rugby

No. 4 Gryphons beat No. 9 Marauders to clinch berth in national championship

The McMaster Marauders and Guelph Gryphons have dominated the OUA rugby scene for the last five years, with McMaster winning conference titles in 2014 and 2015 and Guelph winning in each of the past three seasons. The No. 4 Gryphons hosted the No. 9 Marauders Saturday in an OUA semifinal, with both a place in the conference final and a national championship berth on the line, and Guelph emerged with a 77-24 win.

Julia Schell led the Gryphons with four tries and six converts, while teammates Hannah Beaumont, Emilie P. Belanger, April Wright, Sidney Brown, Talia Hoffman and Emmanuela Jada also added tries. Guelph will now face the No. 3 Queen’s Gaels (who handled the Brock Badgers 74-3 in the other OUA semifinal) on the road in the OUA final Friday.

Other notable playoff rugby results this weekend came in RSEQ play, where the quarterfinals saw the Concordia Stingers and Sherbrooke Vert & Or advance. Meanwhile, Canada West and AUS teams wrapped up their regular seasons this week, with postseason play beginning for them this coming week.

Cross Country

Rouge et Or and Gaels impress at UQAM interconference competition

The UQAM Citadins hosted an interconference event this weekend featuring over 100 runners from AUS, RSEQ and OUA schools as part of UQAM’s 50th anniversary celebrations, and that event saw lots of impressive showings. On the team front, the Laval Rouge et Or and Queen’s Gaels came out on top on both the men’s and women’s sides, with No. 1 Queen’s and No. 4 Laval placing first and second respectively on the women’s side and No. 4 Laval and No. 5 Queen’s placing first and second respectively on the men’s side.

Laval’s Jean-Simon Desgagnés won the eight-kilometre men’s race in a time of 24:48.50, with teammate Jonathan Tedeschi finishing third (in a time of 24:55:15) and other teammates Félix Lapointe-Pilote and Charles Paquet finishing fifth and sixth. The Gaels’ Mitchell Delange was second in a time of 24:52.84, while teammate Nathan Dehghan was fourth with a time of 25:08.59.

In the women’s eight-kilometre race, Queen’s runner Kara Blair finished first with a time of 29:05:57, while teammate Makenna Fitzgerald was third in a time of 29:25:32. McGill’s Elizabeth Hirsch was second in 29:16:54, while Laval’s Jessy LaCourse finished fourth (29:34:40) and her Rouge et Or teammates  Catherine Beauchemin and Aurélie Dubé-Lavoie were sixth and seventh respectively.

There were also some other interesting cross country results this weekend, especially from the OUA’s McMaster Marauders hosting the Bayfront Open. The No. 2 Marauders men’s team won the team title in the eight-kilometre race, with Alex Drover finishing first and Sergio Raez Villanueva picking up bronze. On the women’s side, the No. 7 Western Mustangs took the team title, bolstered by a fifth-place finish from Remy Cattell, while Laurier’s Lizzy Laurie and Sydney Pattison finished first and third.

And in AUS competition, the UPEI Panthers hosted the UPEI Invitational this weekend.

Men’s hockey

No. 1 Golden Bears earn two wins over No. 8 Huskies

The Alberta Golden Bears and Saskatchewan Huskies faced off this weekend in a rematch of both last year’s Canada West championship and U SPORTS semifinals, and the host Golden Bears came out on top both times. On Friday, Alberta won 5-1 in their home opener, and on Saturday, the Golden Bears earned a 3-2 win in double overtime.

Elsewhere in Canada West, the No. 6 Calgary Dinos picked up a 4-1 home win over the UBC Thunderbirds Friday, then followed up with a 5-4 overtime win in Saturday’s rematch. In AUS action, the No. 2 UNB Reds beat the Moncton Aigles Bleus 4-0 Friday in a game where they raised their national championship banner, then edged the UPEI Panthers 3-2 Saturday, while the No. 3 StFX X-Men fell 5-4 in overtime on the road to the Acadia Axemen Saturday. And in OUA play, the No. 4 Ottawa Gee-Gees beat the Laurier Golden Hawks 3-1 and the Waterloo Warriors 4-2 on a road trip this weekend.

Social media posts of the week

In AUS women’s hockey, the St. Thomas Tommies hosted the StFX X-Women Friday night, and that game came with a special tribute to Maddy Murphy, who lost her battle with depression last month. Murphy was close to some players on each team, including St. Thomas’ Danielle Ring and StFX’s Kristen McKinley, who joined the Murphy family for a pre-game ceremonial faceoff.

Elsewhere, the Ottawa Gee-Gees celebrated their school’s first official Pride Week, including with testimonials from various athletes:

In international swimming action, the second meet of the International Swimming League took place this weekend in Naples, Italy, and a U SPORTS alum played a big role. Varsity Blues alum Kylie Masse won the women’s 200m backstroke and placed second in the 50m and 100m backstrokes. Her Cali Condors finished second overall, just 2.5 points back of Energy Standard’s 493.

And in international volleyball, the Canadian men’s senior national team (featuring plenty of U SPORTS alums) won 19-25, 25-17, 15-25, 25-23, 18-16 against Italy Sunday at the FIVB World Cup in Japan. Captain Nicholas Hoag led Canada with 21 points, while teammate and McMaster Marauders’ alum Stephen Maar put up 20.

profile_1.png (74 KB)

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