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.
Rouge et Or beat Gaels for first national title
The women’s rugby championships this week at the University of Ottawa saw the Laval Rouge et Or pick up their first women’s rugby national title.
Laval entered as the RSEQ finalists after falling 25-15 to the Ottawa Gee-Gees last week in the conference championships, but then made a run through the national field, beating the Canada West champion UBC Thunderbirds 32-12 in the quarterfinals and taking down the OUA finalist Guelph Gryphons 21-5 in the semifinals.
In Sunday’s final, the Rouge et Or defeated the OUA champion Queen’s Gaels 22-14 to claim the gold medal thanks to tries from Nele Pien, Marie-Laura Choquette and Jan-Ma Létinois. Justine Pelletier was named the championship MVP. A full recap of the gold-medal game is available here.
Women’s field hockey
Vikes win second straight national title, sweeping Gryphons
The Canada West champion Victoria Vikes hosted the women’s field hockey championships this week, taking on the OUA champion Guelph Gryphons in a best-of-three series. The Vikes wound up sweeping that series to take their second-straight national title.
On Friday, Victoria picked up a 3-0 win, with Georgia Booker, Jenna Berard and Erin Dawson all scoring. On Saturday, they won 3-1 behind two goals from Anna Mollenhauer (named the national championship MVP) and one from Ashton Aumen. Full recaps of those games can be found here and here.
No. 1 Gee-Gees knocked out in OUA playoffs, while No. 6 Dinos claim first Canada West title in 14 years
One of the most notable results this weekend came in the OUA women’s soccer playoffs, where the No. 9 York Lions beat the No.1 Ottawa Gee-Gees (the defending national champions) 3-2 in overtime at the Gee-Gees’ home field in the semifinals Friday. A 115th-minute goal from Marissa Castellano proved the difference there.
In the OUA final Saturday, the Lions beat the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 2-0 to claim their first conference title since 2009, with goals coming from a Joselyn Gagliardi corner going in off a defender and from Jessica Lush firing a strike home off a rebound.
Meanwhile, the Canada West championship saw the No. 6 Calgary Dinos blank the No. 10 UBC Thunderbirds 1-0 in Saturday’s gold-medal match to win their first title since 2005. Kelsie MacDonald scored there for the Dinos, while Lauren Houghton made three saves to preserve the clean sheet, including tipping a free kick from the Thunderbirds’ Jacqueline Tyrer off the crossbar and out.
In the AUS championship, the No. 4 Cape Breton Capers claimed their third-straight conference title with a 3-2 win Sunday over the No. 8 Acadia Axewomen. In RSEQ, the No. 3 Montreal Carabins beat the No. 5 UQAM Citadins 2-1 Friday to win their second consecutive conference title. All of the conference champions will take part in the national championship this week at the University of Victoria, where they’ll be joined by the Varsity Blues, the Thunderbirds, the Axewomen and the host Vikes.
No. 3 Ravens edge No. 1 Lions for OUA title, while No. 2 Capers beat No. 10 X-Men
The men’s soccer conference championships took place this weekend, and the OUA title proved particularly interesting. The No. 1 York Lions and No. 3 Carleton Ravens faced off there for the third-straight year, but the Ravens came out on top for the first time in those clashes, winning the final 3-0 Saturday to claim their first conference title since 2005.
Stefan Karajovanovic scored first for the Ravens in the 29th minute off a penalty, while Quinn Honeyman-Wootton notched their second goal four minutes later. Karajovanovic then added his second of the day in the 69th minute.
In other men’s soccer conference championship action this weekend, the No. 2 Cape Breton Capers claimed their fourth consecutive AUS title with a 2-0 overtime win Sunday against the StFX X-Men thanks to goals from Peter Schaale and Charlie Waters. In RSEQ, the No. 4 Montreal Carabins won their third-straight conference title, taking down the No. 6 UQTR Patriotes 2-0. And in Canada West, the No. 5 UBC Thunderbirds beat the Calgary Dinos 2-0 Saturday to win their third consecutive conference title. All of the conference champions and finalists will take part in the 2019 U SPORTS Men’s Soccer Championship presented by La Cage – Brasserie sportive this week, hosted by the Carabins.
Dinos survive late Hail Mary from Bisons
This weekend’s football conference semifinals saw plenty of action, including a remarkable finish in the Canada West semifinal between the Calgary Dinos and Manitoba Bisons. Manitoba trailed the host Dinos 47-40 with six seconds left, but quarterback Des Catellier was able to evade pressure, roll out, and throw a bomb from his own 52. That pass made it all the way to the Calgary five-yard line, where it went right into a crowd of players from both teams and bounced out. But it fell right to trailing receiver Tristen Dyce, who caught it and promptly raced in for a touchdown.
The Bisons then went for a two-point conversion to try and win the game in regulation, but couldn’t quite pull it off.
Calgary hung on for a 47-46 victory. But it almost didn’t turn out that way.
Panthers earn split with No. 9 Huskies
Regular season men’s basketball action began in AUS and Canada West this weekend (OUA play started last week, and RSEQ play begins this coming week), and the UPEI Panthers posted a notable opening result. On Friday, the Panthers picked up a 71-68 home victory over the No. 9 Saint Mary’s Huskies, led by 23 points (including a late three-pointer) from Dakelle Brooks. Saint Mary’s responded with a 92-87 road win Saturday to split the series, but beating a nationally-ranked team was still a great way for the Panthers to kick off their season.
No. 1 Huskies start with a pair of 50-point-plus wins
The No. 1 Saskatchewan Huskies are the defending Canada West champions, and they got their regular season off on the right foot this weekend. Saskatchewan posted a 78-21 road win over the Brandon Bobcats Friday, then followed that up with a 99-41 victory Saturday. Summer Masikewich led the way for the Huskies all weekend, posting a game-high 17 points Friday and adding 15 points (tied for the game lead with teammate Sabine Dukate) and 11 rebounds Saturday.
Social media posts of the week
Three Canadian wrestlers with U SPORTS ties won bronze at the U23 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary this week. On Thursday, Calgary Dinos’ wrestler Tiana Kennett and Concordia Stingers’ alum Jade Dufour both won their bronze-medal matches (in the 59- and 50-kg classes respectively), and on Friday, Brock Badgers’ wrestler Hannah Taylor won bronze in the 57-kg class.
In international swimming, UBC Thunderbirds’ swimmer Markus Thormeyer improved his Canadian record in the 200-metre backstroke at the International Swimming League event in Budapest:
In international women’s field hockey, the Canadian team (with a roster filled with players with U SPORTS connections) lost 4-3 in a shootout to Ireland, ending their hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
In men’s soccer, Hamilton’s Forge FC won the North Star Shield as the inaugural champions of the Canadian Premier League, defeating Calgary’s Cavalry FC 1-0 on the road in the second leg of the final Saturday. (Forge FC won the first leg 1-0 at home.) There are some players and coaches on the Forge FC roster with U SPORTS connections, including head coach and technical director Bobby Smyrniotis, a York Lions’ alum.
In rowing, the UBC Thunderbirds claimed the Canadian University Rowing Championship titles on both the men’s and women’s sides. That was their second-straight women’s title and their third-straight men’s title.
And in OUA men’s rugby, the defending conference champion Queen’s Gaels and the Guelph Gryphons each won semifinal clashes
Queen’s will host Guelph in the OUA final this coming Saturday.