Crunch time for rugby, soccer

Men’s rugby to host OUA semifinal while soccer travels to Ottawa

OUA playoff goal-scoring leader Nick Milonas in an Oct. 24 playoff game against Ryerson.
OUA playoff goal-scoring leader Nick Milonas in an Oct. 24 playoff game against Ryerson.

It’s shaping up to be a banner weekend for the Queen’s Golden Gaels.

While some varsity teams’ seasons have ended and a few are just beginning, the Queen’s men’s soccer and rugby teams are reaching the most pivotal points of their 2007 seasons.

The rugby team is fresh off the heels of a 99-0 embarrassment of Trent, which both teams agreed to call six minutes early due to its lopsidedness.

They will face the Western Mustangs in the semifinal, a team they defeated 16-13 in a rough match on Homecoming weekend. The game will be at Kingston Field at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Queen’s head coach Peter Huigenbos said he expects an improved Western team this time around.

“I’m sure they didn’t show us everything at the Homecoming game,” he said. “I expect them to come right back at us and make us work for everything we want to do.”

The Gaels have outscored their opposition 140-0 in their past two games.

Huigenbos said although the team has dominated the past couple of weeks, he doesn’t expect complacency to be a problem.

“Generally Queen’s doesn’t need any extra motivation to play Western at anything, anywhere,” he said. “Our boys will be focused and ready for the challenge on Saturday regardless of what’s happened the last couple of weekends.”

Centre Steve Shortly returns after winning the Ontario Senior Men’s Championship with his club team in Aurora.

Huigenbos said he’s excited to have Shortly on the back line again.

“We already have a lot of speed and skill, and he gives us that brute force and the experience that really makes a difference.”

Huigenbos said he hopes for a high attendance at the game.

“We expect a huge crowd this Saturday and it really helps the guys on the field and puts a lot of pressure on Western,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to a great day for rugby.”

Attendance at the game will be free, but there will also be a licensed area with alcohol available for purchase. Admission to the “Gaels’ club” will be $5. Music and loudspeaker announcements will also try to attract more fans, said Kelly Smith, co-ordinator of home events.

Winger Zach Pancer said having an easy opposition in the quarter-finals helped the team prepare.

“Trent was a good game for us to kind of work on our plays,” he said.

While the rugby team attempts to advance to the OUA final, the soccer team will travel to Carleton University and focus on earning a berth in the CIS tournament, to be held in Vancouver the following weekend. They’re coming off a 2-1 win at the University of Toronto last weekend.

The team faces York, the top seed in the West Division, in their semifinal on Saturday. If they win, they will earn a spot in the OUA final and the nationals. If they lose, they will settle for third place at best and a trip home.

Head coach Chris Gencarelli said the team is focused on being prepared for the most important weekend of their season.

“It’s going to be difficult to prepare for a team we haven’t played … but we’ll be ready.”

Gencarelli said he’s excited for the trip to Ottawa.

“We hope to accomplish something great this weekend.”

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