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.
No. 1 X-Women open with 73-5 victory over Panthers, Mike Cavanagh’s 100th win
The Atlantic University Sport (AUS) women's rugby season kicked off this weekend, and the defending conference and national champion StFX X-Women (ranked first overall in the Top 10) got off to a good start. On the road against the UPEI Panthers Friday (a game moved up thanks to the projected impact of Hurricane Dorian), StFX picked up a 73-5 win, which happened to be the 100th career win for head coach Mike Cavanagh.
However, Cavanagh was quick to shift the focus to his team afterwards.
"It's always nice to start the season off the way we did," he said. "Our offloading was very good today. We sometimes get in the habit of running into people and setting up, but we kept the ball alive today."
Early tries from Maddie Harroun and Hannah Ellis put the X-Women up 12-0 nine minutes in, and the StFX defence came up big shortly afterwards, stopping the Panthers inches from the try line. Alex Hamilton, Katie Pentz, Tashayla Tynes and Sam Lake added further first-half tries for the X-Women while Sophie Duguay responded for UPEI, leaving the score 32-5 at the break. It was all StFX from there, though, with Lake adding three more of the team’s final seven tries en route to their 73-5 victory.
Elsewhere in AUS play, the No. 8 Acadia Axewomen beat the Saint Mary’s Huskies 109-5 Friday. Canada West women's rugby also began this weekend, with one notable result there coming from the No. 6 Victoria Vikes edging the No. 7 Calgary Dinos (who were ranked second to the Vikes’ third in the preseason poll of conference coaches) 18-17 at home Sunday in the 10th annual Jenny Vincent Memorial Game, the Vikes’ first win in that series since the inaugural game. The three-time defending Canada West champions Dinos had previously beaten the UBC Thunderbirds (ranked first in that conference poll) 22-14 on the road Friday.
OUA and RSEQ women's rugby began last week, and those conferences continued play this weekend as well. In RSEQ action, a rough start to the season continued for the defending conference champion and national third-place finishers No. 4 Ottawa Gee-Gees, who opened last week with a 22-22 tie against the Sherbrooke Vert & Or, then fell 28-17 to the No. 3 Laval Rouge et Or Saturday.
In OUA play, the No. 5 Queen’s Gaels pitched their second shutout of the year, beating the McMaster Marauders 100-0 at home Saturday to follow up on a 135-0 home win over the Western Mustangs Monday. This coming Saturday, Queen’s will go on the road to face the No. 2 Guelph Gryphons, the defending OUA champions and national silver medalists; Guelph had a bye this week after a 49-12 win over McMaster last week.
Women’s Field Hockey
Lions open OUA title defence with 4-0 win over Martlets
The OUA women’s field hockey season began this weekend with a selection of games hosted by the York Lions, and the hosts (the two-time defending OUA champions and 2018 national runners-up) got off to a good start themselves with a 4-0 win against the McGill Martlets Saturday. McGill held York off the scoresheet for the first quarter, but Michelle Lee gave the Lions a 1-0 lead off a penalty corner in the second. Frankie St. Louis and Marella Greco added second-quarter goals, and Amira Brar provided some insurance in the fourth quarter. Goalkeeper Serena Vilde got the win for York.
The other OUA games this weekend at York saw the Guelph Gryphons (last year’s OUA runners-up) beat the Western Mustangs 8-1, the Queen’s Gaels edge the Waterloo Warriors 2-1, and the Toronto Varsity Blues best the Martlets 9-0. This coming weekend will see a series of games at Queen’s on Saturday and Sunday, including Guelph against York on Sunday.
Canada West regular season play also begins this week, with the UBC Thunderbirds on the road for games against the Calgary Dinos Saturday and Sunday.
No.7 Rams and No.10 Golden Hawks fall at home to Golden Bears and Varsity Blues
In Canada West play, the No. 7 Regina Rams fell 18-17 to the Alberta Golden Bears Friday, while in OUA action, the No. 10 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks lost 38-34 to the Toronto Varsity Blues Saturday.
The Canada West game saw the Rams leading 3-0 after the first quarter and up 16-8 at the half. The Golden Bears reduced that lead to six points by forcing a third-quarter safety though, and then a bobbled snap on a punt gave Alberta great field position that turned into a 14-yard touchdown run from Jonathan Rosery.
The Golden Bears then added a single in the fourth, but faced two late field goal attempts from the Rams. However, they blocked one and saw the other one drift wide for a single in the final seconds.
In the OUA game, the Golden Hawks led 17-0 after the first quarter, but the Varsity Blues found a way to battle back. They outscored Laurier 24-8 in the second quarter to only trail by one at the half, and then added further touchdowns in the third and fourth (the last one with only 40 seconds to go) against nine fourth-quarter points for the Golden Hawks.
For Toronto, quarterback Clay Sequeira completed 18 of 32 passes for 322 yards and four touchdowns, while Will Corby had five catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns and Nolan Lovegrove had three receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns (including the game-winner in the final minute). This marked the Varsity Blues’ first win against a ranked team since 2010 (a victory over the then-No. 2 Ottawa Gee-Gees) and their first win against Laurier since 2013.
Elsewhere in Canada West action Friday, the No. 4 Calgary Dinos won 24-10 at home against the No. 6 Manitoba Bisons, while the Saskatchewan Huskies beat the UBC Thunderbirds 40-7. In further OUA results, the No. 2 Western Mustangs picked up a 34-17 road win Saturday against the No. 5 McMaster Marauders.
In RSEQ play, the No. 1 Laval Rouge et Or and No. 3 Montreal Carabins both picked up wins Saturday (41-6 over the Concordia Stingers and 34-4 against McGill respectively), while in AUS play, the Acadia Axemen beat the St. FX X-Men 54-19 Friday.
Capers start title defence with a pair of wins
AUS men’s soccer began regular season play this week, and the defending conference champion Cape Breton Capers got off to a strong start with a pair of victories at home. On Friday, the No.1 Capers (who also topped the AUS coaches’ pre-season poll) beat the UNB Reds 2-1 behind goals from Peter Schaale (last year’s AUS player of the year, who also played for the Canadian Premier League’s Halifax Wanderers this summer) and Cory Bent. On Sunday, they edged the UPEI Panthers 1-0 behind a goal from Bent.
Elsewhere in U SPORTS men’s soccer, RSEQ action saw the No. 2 Montreal Carabins best the Laval Rouge et Or 3-0 Friday, while OUA play saw the No. 3 Carleton Ravens pick up road wins over the Laurentian Voyageurs and Nipissing Lakers (1-0 and 3-0 respectively) and the No. 4 York Lions take down the McMaster Marauders 1-0 at home before downing the Waterloo Warriors 4-0 on the road.
Also in OUA action, the No. 5 Ryerson Rams beat the Queen’s Gaels and RMC Paladins on the road (1-0 and 2-0 respectively). In Canada West, the No. 6 UBC Thunderbirds had a bye, but the No. 7 Thompson Rivers Wolfpack had a rough road trip, losing 1-0 to the Trinity Western Spartans before picking up a 1-1 road draw against the Fraser Valley Cascades.
Social media posts of the week
McGill men’s hockey coach Kelly Nobes passed away Wednesday at 45. Nobes had coached at McGill for nine years and led their team to five national championship appearances, including a gold-medal finish in 2012 (the first University Cup in program history) and a silver finish in 2011. He also won four divisional titles there and three Queen’s Cup Ontario championships, including one last year, and he received the Father George Kehoe Memorial Award as U SPORTS Fox 40 coach of the year in 2017-18.
Before his time at McGill, Nobes spent time as a head coach with the RMC Paladins (2001-06) and Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (2006-10); he posted an overall U SPORTS record of 399 wins,287 losses and 14 ties in 700 games. He also played at McGill for four seasons and finished as the ninth-leading scorer in program history with 64 goals and 181 points in 131 games. There were plenty of thoughtful tributes to him on social media this week:
Elsewhere in men’s hockey, a team of Quebec university all-stars (including seven McGill players) will face the Montreal Canadiens’ top prospects Tuesday. The all-star team includes players from McGill, Concordia and UQTR.
In international news, Canada’s women’s 3x3 basketball team again came out on top, winning their third consecutive 3x3 Women's Series title at an eight-team international event in Montreal. The Canadian team there was made up of Katherine Plouffe, Michelle Plouffe, Paige Crozon, and Carleton Ravens’ alum Catherine Traer.
And the Canadian men’s senior basketball team came up with an 82-60 win over Senegal and a 126-71 win over Jordan at the FIBA World Cup, the latter which saw Canada make a FIBA World Cup record 24 three-pointers. Carleton alums Phil Scrubb and Thomas Scrubb recorded nine and five points respectively in the Jordan game, while Acadia alum Owen Klassen had seven points and seven rebounds.
In further international action, the Canadian men’s senior volleyball team placed third at the NORECA continental championships in Winnipeg, beating Mexico 25-14, 25-18, 25-12 in the bronze-medal match Saturday. That team has a strong lineup of coaches and players with U SPORTS backgrounds, including head coach Glenn Hoag (Sherbrooke Vert & Or), captain Gord Perrin (Thompson Rivers WolfPack) and Saturday scoring leader Ryan Sclater (Trinity Western Spartans).
And the Canadian women’s beach volleyball team of Melissa Humana-Paredes and Sarah Pavan continued their strong summer (which saw them become the first Canadians to win a beach volleyball world title in July, clinching qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics along the way), placing fifth at the FIVB Rome Finals this week. Humana-Parades played U SPORTS and OUA volleyball for the York Lions.
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