Point-counterpoint: MVP of winter varsity teams

The Journal’s sports team make their pick for the best winter performer  

Veronika Lavergne (left) and Katrina Manoukarakis (right).
Veronika Lavergne (left) and Katrina Manoukarakis (right).

The Journal’s sports staff trade jabs over which player matters most to their varsity team’s success.

Veronika Lavergne, Women’s Basketball 

After transferring from the University of Albany to Queen’s in the summer of 2016, Veronika Lavergne has been the engine of the women’s basketball team that’s shown no signs of slowing down this season. 

Currently, the second-year post leads the nationally-ranked eighth women’s basketball team in points, free throw attempts, field goal percentage, rebounds and blocks. 

And she’s doing it in just 21.2 minutes per game.

Talent and value are often paired in the same line of thought — but they couldn’t be more different. While a player of great talent catches the eye for their skill, a player of value typically hovers under the radar, acting like the glue that keeps a team together. 

But Lavergne is both. 

Her numbers speak to her skill while her efficiency speaks to her value. Irrespective of how much floor time she sees, she uses every second she can to her advantage. 

Lavergne started just two of 19 games last season with the Gaels — her first with the team — and averaged a modest 8.0 points, 4.7 boards and 0.8 blocks per game. Now, with a bigger role on the team, she’s started all but one game, averaging 14.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and OUA-best 2.1 blocks per game. 

Unlike other basketball stars, Lavergne picks her spots on the floor, knowing when and where to exploit teams. Her value isn’t dependent on her stat line, but rather the rate at which she creates.

Of the top 18 scorers in the OUA, Lavergne, who herself ranks ninth in the conference, averages the least minutes. And what’s more, she isn’t even in the top 50 among the OUA’s leaders in minutes this season. 

If that’s not value — I don’t know what is.

— Sebastian Bron

Katrina Manoukarakis, Women’s Hockey

Now in her third season as a Gael, Katrina Manoukarakis has established herself as one of Queen’s top athletes. In the midst of a career season, her success has come as a surprise to few.

Manoukarakis’ success dates back to when she first stepped on campus. In her starting season as a Gael, Manoukarakis was named 2015/16 OUA Rookie of the Year after a season that saw her finish with 25 points and an OUA second-best 15 goals. In her second season, Manoukarakis scored only four goals but managed to finish second on the Gaels in points with 15. 

Since then, things have only gotten better.

With two games remaining, Manoukarakis is sitting at an OUA-best 27 points with her closest follower four points behind. Moreover, her stats sheet has been filled with less celebrated statistics. 

Manoukarakis is currently second in Ontario for  game winning goals and assists — a testament to her ability to be the major difference in a game. It’s a well-known fact hockey is a team sport and it’s clear Manoukarakis isn’t out to prove otherwise.

It’s no secret the women’s hockey team has seen a significant improvement this year — owning the first spot in the OUA is a clear indicator of that. This year more than ever, Manoukarakis has proved her rookie season was only the beginning of something great, and has now been a significant contributing factor in bringing the Gaels to becoming one of the nation’s best programs.

— Matt Scace

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