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.
McMaster @ Lakehead
Friday/ Saturday, 6:00 pm ET/ 3:00 pm PT
The OUA season tips off this week as the McMaster Marauders begin their U SPORTS title defence against the Lakehead Thunderwolves.
McMaster and Lakehead finished in the top two spots in the OUA West division a year ago. Lakehead made it to the conference semifinals, while the Marauders, led by veteran head coach Theresa Burns, went on to win the Critelli Cup before taking home the Bronze Baby at the national championship.
Both the Thunderwolves and Marauders have lost key pieces to their teams due to graduation and will have a new look in for the season.
McMaster will be heavily reliant on third-year guard Sarah Gates, who led the Final 8 tournament in scoring last year and was second in the OUA regular season scoring, averaging 17.1 points per game.
Last season, the Thunderwolves were led by U SPORTS fifth-year All-Canadian Leashja Grant, whose 20.6 points per game was fifth-best in the nation and 12.5 rebounds ranked fourth. With the loss of their star player, Lakehead will be looking for an elevated offensive output from sharpshooting guard Nikki Ylagan, who averaged 12.6 points and 3.0 three-pointers per game.
This marks the centennial season of Canadian university women’s basketball, which also features the debut of the nation’s 48th team – with the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks opening on the road against the Laurentian Voyageurs.
Ryerson @ Brock
Saturday, 8:00 pm ET/ 5:00 pm PT
On the men’s side, the Ryerson Rams start their season in search of a sixth consecutive podium finish at the national championship.
Following their cross-town battle with the York Lions on Thursday, last year’s U SPORTS Final 8 bronze medalists takes on the Brock Badgers in St. Catharines, Ont.
Last year, Ryerson had a record of 21-2, reaching the OUA Wilson Cup final, before falling to the national champion Calgary Dinos in the U SPORTS semifinals.
The Rams’ top two scorers graduated in the offseason, and as a result, will heavily rely on seven-foot-two centre, Tanor Ngom – who averaged 11.3 points and grabbed 5.6 rebounds per game last season.
Last year, Brock finished in second in the OUA West boasting a 16-8 record. The Badgers are sailing in unfamiliar territory as Willy Manigat takes the reigns as head coach. Manigat will look to Tyler Brown as the team’s primary offensive force. Last season, the play-making guard posted career highs with 11.3 points and 5.2 assists per game. Brown will be playing alongside Carleton Ravens transfer Emmanuel Owootoah in the Badgers’ backcourt.
The Rams also have a new bench boss, as former associate head coach Borko Popic takes over for Roy Rana – who was hired in the offseason as an assistant with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.
Women's Field Hockey
The OUA women’s field hockey championship is up for grabs this weekend, with the host and top-seeded Guelph Gryphons (10-1-1) looking to snag their first title since 2013.
The Gryphons ended the regular season with the best record in the conference and hope to keep their seven-game win streak alive against the McMaster Marauders in Friday’s quarterfinal. Guelph led the nation this year with 54 goals in 12 games, but they’ll have stiff competition from the Toronto Varsity Blues and two-time defending champion York Lions.
UBC @ Victoria
Saturday / Sunday, 2:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT
Meanwhile out west, the defending national champion Victoria Vikes (3-0-3) host the UBC Thunderbirds (2-0-4) this weekend, in a two-game series that will determine the Canada West champion and host of the U SPORTS Championship next week.
Last year the Vikes captured their first McCrae Cup since 2008, snapping the rival Thunderbirds’ streak of seven straight national titles.
In two meetings earlier this season, the teams played to a pair of scoreless draws.
All races Saturday
|Conference||Host||Venue||Time (ET)||Time (PT)|
|CW||Calgary||Canmore Park||1:30 p.m.||10:30 a.m.|
|OUA||McMaster||Bayfront Park||11:00 a.m.||8:00 a.m.|
|RSEQ||Laval||Plains of Abraham||1:05 p.m.||10:05 a.m.|
|AUS||UNB||Kingswood Golf||11:00 a.m.||8:00 a.m.|
It’s Conference Championship weekend in cross country, as some of the best Canadian university runners compete in the final tune-up before the national race in Kingston, Ont. hosted by Queen’s.
In the AUS, the No.10 StFX men and Dalhousie women will be looking to repeat as champions on UNB’s home course.
In Quebec, defending U SPORTS individual silver medalist Jean-Simon Desgagnés leads the No.4 Laval men, while No.3 Laval women – led by national silver and bronze Aurélie Dubé-Lavoie and Catherine Beauchmin – will battle with No.4 McGill for the team title. The Laval men are looking to capture their ninth RSEQ banner in a row, while the women are searching for their third straight.
In the OUA, the No.2 McMaster Marauder men – who captured conference gold last season for the first time since 1964 – host No.3 Guelph, No.5 Queen’s, No.6 Western and No.9 Windsor. On the women’s side, No.1 Queen’s features U SPORTS title holder Brogan MacDougall.
Finally, the No.1 Calgary Dinos men and No. 6 Calgary women will serve as hosts of the first Canada West Cross Country championship since 1993. U SPORTS bronze medalist Connor Black and the Calgary men are looking to defend their national title, while the women will be battling the No.5 UBC and No.9 Trinity Western women.
No. 5 Ottawa @ No.2 Laval
Friday, 6:30 pm ET/ 3:30 pm PT
The Ottawa Gee-Gees (3-2-1) visit the Laval Rouge et Or (6-0-0) to decide the RSEQ title. Laval defeated Ottawa in both of their regular seasons tilts.
The Garnet and Grey will be looking for redemption, by utilizing Michaela Haley, who has been excellent all season, scoring 11 tries during the regular season to the conference.
For the Rouge et Or, winger Anaïs Gilbert scored a team-high five tries, while Anne-Charlotte Bealieu ranked second in the nation with 71 points – all of which came from either conversions or penaties.
No.7 Acadia @ No.3 StFX
Saturday, 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT
Bell Aliant TV 1 / AUStv
The StFX X-Women host the Acadia Axewomen for the AUS women’s rugby championship this weekend. The X-Women (6-0-0) are coming off an unbeaten regular season campaign after winning their program’s sixth national championship a season ago.
Led by fifth-year prop Sam Lake, who topped the AUS in points scoring with 11 tries, the X-Women are searching for their fourth conference banner in a row.
The Axewomen (4-2-0) will have their shot to take down X-Women after an impressive performance against the UPEI Panthers in the AUS semi-final, dispatching UPEI by a score of 52-20. In the victory, Acadia’s Emilie Merilainen led the way with three tries, receiving AUS athlete of the week honours.
In addition, swimming action picks up and the wrestling season kicks off with the first meets of the new campaign.
|Sport||Matchup||Day||Time (ET)||Time (PT)|
|Men’s Volleyball||Queen’s @ York||Saturday||2 p.m.||11 a.m.|
|Women’s Volleyball||(6) Dalhousie @ Saint Mary’s||Friday||6 p.m.||3 p.m.|
|(4) Toronto @ (2) Ryerson||Saturday||6 p.m.||3 p.m.|
|(8) McGill @ (7) Montreal|
|Men’s Hockey||(1) UNB @ (9) StFX||Friday||6 p.m.||3 p.m.|
|(6) Calgary @ (8) Saskatchewan||Friday / Saturday||9 p.m.||6 p.m.|
|Women’s Hockey||(3) McGill @ (5) Montreal||Friday||7 p.m.||4 p.m.|
|(2) Guelph @ (8) Western||Saturday||2:30 p.m.||11:30 a.m.|
|Coupe Universitaire 2||McGill||Saturday|