Point-Counterpoint: Which Gaels team has impressed you most?

Journal Sports staff debate the qualities of two teams

Men's rugby is currently fourth in the OUA, while women's soccer has the sixth best defense in the OUA.
Photo: 

Men's Rugby 

Sarah O'Flaherty - Assistant Sports Editor


The Gaels’ men’s rugby team is undoubtedly the best varsity team that Queen’s has to offer. While they might not have a newly renovated stadium, at each match they manage to draw large crowds, play passionately and, almost always, come out with a victory.
 
The team has won the past four OUA championships and are confident in their ability to achieve their “drive for five”, winning a fifth straight OUA championship.  
 
At the heart of this year’s team are two players who have longstanding relationships with Rugby Canada — Lucas Rumball and Kainoa Llyod. 
 
Rumball, flanker and former captain of the team, is known for his bone-crushing tackles and strong defensive plays. Rumball splits his time between his national team commitments and the Gaels, remaining a consistent force to be reckoned on the Gaels’ front line. 
 
He fiercely defends the Gaels’ try line when under attack and is able to stop his competition dead in their tracks. As one of the more physically imposing players on the field, Rumball’s tackles and rucks consistently draw gasps from the crowd and instill fear in the opposition.   
 
With players like Rumball at the forefront, Queen’s defense is an almost impenetrable force. 
 
With five games down and just three left in the regular season, the Gaels only have 62 points against them, putting them just behind Guelph (20) and Western (58).
 
Kainoa Lloyd, the Gaels’ star winger and lead scorer, is arguably the best player in the OUA right now. He amazes the crowd at every game with his seemingly effortless sprints down field, currently registering 44 points and the most tries of any player in the OUA with eight.
 
With the speed of players like Lloyd, combined with the strength of the team’s front line, opponents rarely stand a chance against their unrelenting attack. Queen’s offense has accumulated 188 points, second in the OUA.  
 
Currently, the team is ranked fourth in OUA with a 3-1-1 record. While it might seem low for the defending champions, the team consistently plays at a level far above their ranking. 
 
They’ve already beaten the second-best team, the McMaster Marauders; tied the third best team, the Western Mustangs, and had a narrow loss to the number one team in the OUA, the Guelph Gryphons. 
 
It’s because of these stars they have on offense and defense, combined with the history of winning that head coach Gary Gilks has to be happy with the team’s prospects of winning their fifth-straight title.
 
Women's Soccer
 
Joseph Cattana - Sports Editor
 
Through ten games this year, the women’s soccer team has made one thing clear — last year wasn’t a fluke.
Looking to build on the successes of the 2015 OUA championship, where they went undefeated for 12 games, and later place fifth at the CIS national championships, there were still some questions surrounding this Gaels team. Would they be able to continue their strong defensive record? Can they win tight games? Can they repeat their title run?
 
Those questions have been answered.
 
Other than their 4-2 loss to the Carleton Ravens, Queen’s hasn’t allowed more than one goal in a game.
This year’s defensive line of Erin Cliffe, Claudia Glasspoole, Alicia Levy and Rachel Radu have played an integral  role while Kyra Steer has been out with an injury, boasting the leagues sixth best defense out of 19 teams in the OUA.
 
Fifth-year goalkeeper Madison Tyrell has been a steady goalie for Queen’s ever since she stepped on campus in 2012. Among starting goalies in the OUA this year (goalies who have played more than nine games), Tyrell ranks sixth in save percentage with a .839 percentage and sixth in goals against with .92 per game. 
 
While they might sit at fourth in the OUA East standings, Queen’s has played one game less than the teams ahead of them, with a win or tie putting them in third place. 
 
The Achilles heel of the team last year was an inability to finish close games. With seven draws on their 2015 record, head coach Dave McDowell constantly stressed the idea of winning the tight game.
 
This year, Queen’s has made up for last year’s faults, leaning on the attacking trio of Brittany Almeida, Tara Bartram and Jenny Wolever to win three games by a one goal margin. 
 
With Almeida’s ability to beat defenders in one-on-one situations, Bartram’s strengths in the air and hold-up play, combined with Wolever’s excellent speed and brilliance on the ball to weave through the opposition, this year’s team doesn’t need to just rely on their defense.
 
At any moment these three can score, as proven in their 4-0 trouncing of U of T at Richardson this year. Currently, Almeida and Bartram have combined to score eight of the 18 Gaels goals this year. 
 
In her second year with the team, Wolever has really grown into her role, becoming both a scorer and a provider, currently with three goals and tied for first in the OUA for the most assists with six.
 
With a side that can defend, win by both close and large margins and control in attack, McDowell looks to have his first complete squad since the 2010-12 dynasty which saw his team win two CIS gold’s and a silver.
 

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.