By Kirk Jessome
As the first half of the 2017-2018 season winds down for the holiday break, we’re taking the opportunity to look back at the standout performances from the fall semester. Our first in a two-part series, this week’s story features soccer, cross country, swimming and track and field.
The women’s soccer team had a much-improved season, finishing with a 7-3-2 conference record, improving on their four-win season last year. The Tigers were able to claim a spot in the AUS playoffs, but were eliminated in the quarter-final in a thrilling match that ended in penalty-kicks to decide the winner.
Arguably the biggest factor in their record is the outstanding performance of rookie goaltender Kate Fines. Fines earned the starting role in all 12 conference games, and collected six shutouts in her seven wins. Her stellar play earned her a spot on the U SPORTS all-rookie team, as well as being named the AUS rookie of the year. Also joining her as a first team all-star was Taylor Goodwin. Maya Venkataraman and Rachelle Lalande were named to the second team.
It came down to the very last game of the season to decide if the men’s soccer team would earn a playoff birth, but they couldn’t manage to find the goal they needed. The team finished with a 4-6-2 record in the tough AUS conference, putting them just outside the playoff picture. The squad had a fantastic start to the season, going undefeated in their first five conference matches before a string of untimely losses at the end of the season saw their playoff hopes slip away.
The team was led on the backfield by fifth-year captain, Jonathan Doucett, and up front with the goal-scoring touch of Freddy Bekkers. The tremendous performance by both athletes earned them each a spot on the AUS second all-star team.
It was another strong season for the women’s cross country team, taking home the AUS banner for the fifth-consecutive year. First-year runner Savanna Jordan led the squad throughout the season and won her first AUS championship race, earning MVP and rookie of the year honours to go along with an AUS first team all-star nod in the process. She followed up the win with a 12th place finish at the U SPORTS national championship. Her breakout season led to her being named the U SPORTS rookie of the year, in addition to earning second team all-Canadian honours. The Tigers finished 13th at the national championship as a team.
On the men’s side of cross country, it was a dominant year in the AUS for the Tigers. Led by Cal DeWolfe’s third-place finish, the Tigers claimed their first AUS title since 2010. The key to the strong year was a deep roster, as all seven of the Tigers runners were able to finish within the top 15 at the conference championship. DeWolfe once again led the team when they traveled to the national championship with a 29th place finish. Just like the women, the men finished up the season with a 13th place finish at nationals.
Both Tigers swim teams have gotten off to a phenomenal start to their season in the first-half of the year. Opening up the season at the Amby Légere Invitational hosted by UNB, the Tigers easily came away with the first-place finish by 280 points over second place Acadia. The Tigers were also to able to take the victory in the second meet of the season at Acadia. Both the men’s and women’s teams came out above Acadia once again by a combined total of nearly 225 points.
At the Kemp-Fry Invitational meet hosted at the Dalplex, six Tigers swimmers were able to post U SPORTS championship qualifying times, in addition to winning both meet titles by a large margin. Isabel Sarty posted national qualifying times in the 100m and 200m freestyle, at the Kemp-Fry and that performance earned her the U SPORTS athlete of the week honour. The Tigers are back in the Dalplex pool on January 20th.
Track & Field
The men’s and women’s track and field teams opened up their season just before the end of the semester with a few standout performances. Maya Reynolds got off to a speedy start, winning both the 60m, and 60mH races. Her performance earned her the final AUS athlete of the week honour for the fall semester. Also opening his season well after coming off of a national bronze medal win was Mike Van Der Poel, who took first place in the 300m race with a 34.75. The track and field teams continue their season immediately after the winter break on January 6th.
Next week will feature a recap of the Tigers basketball, hockey and volleyball teams.