Welcome to Monday Morning Quarterback, a weekly look at all the best U SPORTS stories from the week.
Brogan MacDougall leads Gaels to sweep:
The cross country season kicked off this weekend with several races, and one of the most notable was the Queen’s Invitational, held on the course at Fort Henry Hill in Kingston. That course will host the next two national championships, and the host Queen’s Gaels got their season off to a great start, taking the top five spots on the men’s side and first through fourth on the women’s side (plus eighth). On the women’s side, the first-place finisher was Brogan MacDougall, an athlete competing in her very first university race.
While this was MacDougall’s first race for Queen’s, there’s been talk about her for a while thanks to both her own success in the high school ranks and thanks to her older sister Branna. (Running Magazine did a great feature on the duo last month, which can be seen here.) Branna joined the Gaels last year after a stint in the NCAA at Iowa State, and found a ton of success, winning the Western Invitational, winning the OUA individual title (and helping Queen’s upset 13-time OUA champions Toronto there), and placing third individually at nationals and helping the Gaels to second overall there. Oh, and the two athletes who beat her there, Toronto’s Sasha Gollish and Queen’s teammate Claire Sumner, have both graduated, so Branna is one of the favorites to win the women’s national individual title this year.
But Brogan may be in the group pushing her older sister. In high school, she set records as the fastest at her age, and she was profiled by Sportsnet as part of their Canada 150 series last year.
There was a lot of hype around Brogan's decision to follow her sister to Queen's last fall, and she turned in an impressive performance in the Canadian 5-kilometre road-running championships last weekend, placing fourth on the women’s side. This win at Fort Henry certainly suggested she’ll be a key runner to watch this U SPORTS season. She finished in a time of 29:04.72, while fellow Gaels Taylor Sills, Makenna Fitzgerald, and Jade Watson were second, third and fourth at 30:36.03, 30:36.72, and 31:25.75 respectively. Branna didn’t compete in this race, but she and Brogan have been training together all year, even while there was still snow on the ground. So expect the two siblings to both be crucial to Queen’s success this year.
On the men’s side, Mitchell de Lange led the way for Queen's, finishing first overall in a time of 25:49.59. Brett Crowley was second with a time of 26:16.34, while Matthew Flood was third in 26:20.34 and Ruben Sansom was fourth with a time of 26:30.18. Mitchell Kirby finished fifth in 26:43.28, giving the Gaels a sweep of the top five spots and a perfect team score of 15; Laurier was the next-closest team with 54 points.
Next week, both Queen’s teams will travel to the Western Invitational. Other notable U SPORTS cross country results from this weekend saw St. Francis Xavier’s Alex Neuffer and Dalhouise’s Michelle Reddy claim top spots on the men’s and women’s side respectively in the UPEI Invitational (the first invitational meet ever hosted by the Panthers), while Regina’s Gregory Hetterley and Saskatchewan’s Courtney Hufsmith won the Cougar Trot, and Laval’s Anne-Marie Comeau won the women’s race at the McGill Invitational, where UQAM’s Maxime Lopes was the top U SPORTS finisher (third overall) in the men’s race.
Warriors win first Battle of Waterloo in 16 years, upset No. 4 Golden Hawks
The Waterloo Warriors are continuing their comeback story. Most of the seasons since their 2011 relaunch of the football program haven’t gone that well, with the team only posting a 4-44 overall record through 2016 (including three 0-8 seasons), but they started 4-0 last year (for the first time since 1998) and showed some life. While they lost their final four games to finish 4-4 and missed the playoffs on a tie-breaker, there was still something to build on there, and they’ve gotten off to a strong start this year, beating Windsor 53-37 and Toronto 41-18 before narrowly losing 21-18 to then-No. 7 Carleton last week. And Saturday saw perhaps the Warriors’ best recent result yet, as they knocked off their crosstown rivals, the No. 4 Laurier Golden Hawks, 34-32 to win the Battle of Waterloo for the first time since 2002.
And that win came on a spectacular play. The Warriors were down 32-27 inside the final three minutes of the fourth quarter and were facing 1st and 10 on their own 22-yard line, but quarterback Tre Ford was able to hit receiver Tyler Ternowski, and Ternowski used his speed to outrace numerous Laurier defenders and take the play to the house for an 88-yard touchdown:
A couple of defensive stands later, and the Warriors were victors indeed. And head coach Chris Bertoia was fired up afterwards:
On the day, Ford went 26 for 35 with 472 yards and three touchdowns and added 86 yards on eight rush attempts. Ternowski caught 10 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown. But that one play between them was the most special of them all, and it produced a very different result in the Battle of Waterloo, one that hadn’t been seen in well over a decade.
OUA championship rematch between Lions and Gryphons ends in 1-1 draw
Last year saw a big shakeup in OUA field hockey, with the York Lions winning their first conference championship since 1996 in a hard-fought 3-2 final against the Guelph Gryphons. Those two sides had a rematch Sunday, with road team Guelph holding York to a 1-1 draw. Rookie forward Chloe Walton scored for the Lions in the 20th minute, but the Gryphons’ Rudi Ballard equalized 10 minutes later.
The Lions had another match later in the day Sunday against the McGill Martlets, and their offence came out firing in that one en route to a 9-0 victory. Second-year forward Jaslan Stirling, the OUA leading scorer, co-MVP and rookie of the year last year, had a great game in that one, scoring four goals, while Walton added two more and Sydney McFaul, Kyra McKinnon, and Sara Vollmerhausen contributed one apiece.
In Canada West, the reigning U SPORTS champion UBC Thunderbirds were held to 2-2 and 0-0 draws at home by the UVic Vikes in the first two regular-season matches of new head coach (and much-decorated former player) Poonam Sandhu’s tenure. Abbey MacLellan and Niki Best scored in the first half of that first game for UBC before Sam McCrory and Erin Dawson responded in the second half for UVic. In the second game, UBC keeper Rowan Harris and UVic keeper Robin Fleming both shone.
No. 1 Capers edge No. 9 X-Men 2-1
The defending national champion and top-ranked Cape Breton Capers gave us one of the best men’s soccer matches of the weekend, beating the No. 9 St. FX X-Men 2-1 on the road. But how that win came was somewhat unusual.
Defender Daniel Pritchard put Cape Breton up 1-0 in the 72nd minute with a header off a throw-in from Matt Larter, and the true dagger came less then 10 minutes later when a free kick from the Capers’ Cory Bent led to a shot that X-Men defender Josh Read handled on the goal line. That earned him a straight red card, reducing St. FX to 10 men, and Cape Breton captain Stuart Heath converted the ensuring penalty to make the score 2-0. Dan Hayfield made it close late for the X-Men with a 90th-minute blast from 35 yards out that cut the score to one, but that wasn’t enough in the end.
Social media posts of the week
First, three players and coaches with U SPORTS ties were inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame Friday; famed former St. FX fullback Paul Brûlé (in the amateur player category), former Western quarterback turned CFL player turned Western and York coach and famed author Frank Cosentino, and former Saskatchewan Huskies lineman turned CFL lineman turned current Huskies coach Scott Flory. Here are some photos from that:
In other football social media posts, the Huskies honored former head coach Brian Towriss (who holds U SPORTS records for wins and games coached) Friday before their game against the Calgary Dinos:
Elsewhere, the World University Squash Championships wrapped up in England, with the Canadian team placing eighth:
In a men’s hockey exhibition game, Queen’s beat RMC 6-0 in the Lou Jeffries Game in Gananoque, Ontario, a game named after the long-time Gananoque hockey coach, GM and volunteer. And that game had some notable highlights:
And some notable chirping back from the RMC men’s hockey account:
Let’s end this week’s column with something completely different. In men’s soccer, Alberta’s Ajeej Sarkaria recovered from a saved penalty against the UFV Cascades in a big way; he promptly scored off the ensuing corner kick.
Now that’s how you bounce back.