With the month of December now upon us, many students can perhaps breathe a little easier these days. With countless midterms and research papers now out of the way, there remains only those few final exams before one can enjoy a much needed and well deserved Christmas holiday.
Us too here at Sport Services are walking a bit lighter these days. With the hectic fall varsity sports schedule winding down and our athletes busy studying their textbooks instead of their playbooks, we thought to take the time to highlight what was a busy fall of sports.
Biggest upset: women’s soccer
While an OUA bronze medal would not be the medal of choice for the No. 6 Gee-Gees women’s soccer team who were knocked out of CIS championship contention by the No. 1 OUA West Laurier Golden Hawks, they can at least take comfort in knowing they were the only team to have beaten the national champs, Queen’s University, this regular season. In two games this season, the garnet and grey recorded two shutout victories against Queen’s. This is no small feat by any means considering that Queen’s boasted the country’s top offense with 50 goals in 16 games.
Best individual performance: Brad Sinopoli, football
Fourth-year quarterback Brad Sinopoli, Peterborough, Ont., had a career season for the Gee-Gees in his second year as the team’s starting pivot. As such, Brad was named the CIS most outstanding football player of the year, receiving the coveted Hec Crighton award. He finished the regular season as the OUA and CIS leader with 301 attempts, 184 completions, 2756 passing yards and 22 touchdowns. In addition, and having already been named the OUA MVP, he also broke four Gee-Gees all-time records in the process for most attempts, completions, passing yards and touchdowns in a season.
Biggest win: women’s rugby vs. Bishop’s
On October 16, the Gee-Gees women’s rugby team recorded an 86-0 victory over Bishop’s for their third victory of the season. In what was an absolute team effort on all fronts, the garnet and grey took charge early and maintained their execution throughout the game in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.
Biggest loss: Yates Cup, football
Unless you have been living under a rock for much of this fall, you may certainly remember the Gee-Gees heartbreaking loss in the Yates Cup final to the Western Mustangs. After trailing 23-10 going into the fourth quarter, the garnet and grey made an improbable comeback to take a 25-23 lead in the final minutes. Unfortunately, the Mustangs would make good on a last second field goal to win 26-25 in dramatic fashion.
Still, along with their 7,194 fans in attendance for the game, the Gee-Gees can take great pride in a storied season that saw them finish first atop the OUA standings, produce six All-Canadians, eight OUA All-Stars and one Hec Crighton winner.
Biggest surprise: men’s hockey
After finishing last season in the basement of the OUA standings, the uOttawa Gee-Gees men’s hockey team managed to already eclipse that memory. Now midway through the 2010-11 season, the garnet and grey sit in fourth in the OUA East standings, and have already tallied more wins so far this season then all of last.
Led by rookie sensations Luc Olivier Blain, Longueuil, Qué., Kyle Ireland, Rosetown, Sask., and Dominic Jalbert, Gatineau, Qué., the Gee-Gees are poised to continue their breakthrough season. The Gee-Gees have three CIS and OUA top ten scorers with Blain, Ireland, and Matt Methot, while Jalbert is third among OUA defencemen and fourth in the CIS.
Biggest underachievers: men’s basketball
While it may be fair to say that this year’s men’s basketball team were expected to struggle a little bit, a 2-6 start to the season was not something anybody had envisioned. Still, and to their credit, their season record does not tell the whole story.
The men’s basketball team has had a few close games that could have went either way versus Western, Brock, and most recently Lakehead; and so their record could easily be that of 5-4 in retrospect. Also of some encouragement is the outstanding play of rookie guard Johnny Berhanemeskel, Ottawa, Ont., who is leading the team in scoring with an average 15.5 PPG.
Still, and regardless of their current standing, expect the men’s basketball team to turn things around in the New Year; this young Gee-Gees team continues to learn and improve each week.
Record setting performances: swimming
The Gee-Gees women and men’s swim team have been quietly rewriting the record books since starting their season in October. They have set 16 new records out of a possible 44 events, and have already achieved 13 CIS qualifiers – more than the entire team they sent last year to nationals. This is just a mere glimpse of what is to come when the Gee-Gees hit their peak swimming season in February.
Best look for 2011: women in the garnet and grey
The Gee-Gees women’s volleyball team demonstrated early signs of success this season despite their youth and some inexperience. It is clear that these girls are fine-tuning their game in hopes of hitting their stride in the second half of the season. This team was bestowed with some high expectations from their head coach Lionel Woods to start season, and by all accounts they have answered accordingly. If they can stay healthy, rest assured that this youthful Gee-Gees team is sure to make some noise come playoff time.
Similarly, the Gee-Gees women’s basketball team is looking to hit their stride come the New Year as well. Due to some exceptional circumstances through injury and ineligibility issues, the team has experienced their fair share of adversity early on. However, with Jenna Gilbert, Ottawa, Ont., and Awo Farah, Ottawa, Ont., returning to the line-up after serving their ineligibility time, and with countless others returning from injury, the second half of the season looks very promising for women’s basketball.
The Gee-Gees women’s hockey team is also working hard to find its game under new coach Yanick Evola. Despite losing some close games and hard fought battles, they are confident that all their hard work will pay off with time and patience. This team is poised to make some moves up the standings in the second half of the season for a favourable playoff draw.
Last but not least, track and field is just getting their season underway, and things are already looking very promising for the Gee-Gees this season. First-year hurdler Ashlea Maddex, St-Pascal Baylon, Ont., qualified for CIS nationals in her very first track meet this year at McGill University by running the 60m hurdles in 8.75s. In addition to Maddex, the Gee-Gees will already be sending athletes in 37 events for the OUA championships to be held at York University in February.