The Gaels’ fall term report card

The Journal assesses the performance of this semester’s sports teams

Fall term athletes are (left to right) Katie McKenna, Braden Novakowski, Ruth McArthur, James Potter and Connie Dayboll.
Fall term athletes are (left to right) Katie McKenna, Braden Novakowski, Ruth McArthur, James Potter and Connie Dayboll.
Katie McKenna, Braden Novakowski, Ruth McArthur, James Potter and Connie Dayboll represent some of the fall teams.
Katie McKenna, Braden Novakowski, Ruth McArthur, James Potter and Connie Dayboll represent some of the fall teams.

The following is the Journal’s evaluation of the fall teams’ performances. Grades are based on the teams’ results relative to pre-season projections.

Women’s rowing: A+

The women’s rowing team had an outstanding season, capturing both the OUA and national championships. They received strong performances from many athletes, including Connie Dayboll and Jenny Hogsden. Dayboll won two gold medals at the OUA championships and added a gold and a silver at the nationals. Her two golds at the provincial championships continued her four-year undefeated run at that tournament. Hogsden won the OUA heavyweight singles race and was named Rower of the Year by the Ontario Rowing Association. Head coach John Armitage took home the national women’s coach of the year award.

Women’s cross country: A

This was a banner year for the women’s cross-country team, who were led by the performance of first-team All-Canadian Leslie Sexton. Sexton was named an All-Canadian after placing fifth in Canada and third in the OUA. As a team, the women finished fourth at the OUA championships at Western and seventh at the CIS race in Victoria, B.C. Along with Sexton’s outstanding season, the team also saw consistent performances from Leah Larocque and Liz Miller.

Mountain biking: A

For the third consecutive year, the mountain biking team won the University Cup series, a four-race circuit held across Ontario each fall. The team tallied 1,840 points in four races, finishing more than 250 points ahead of second-place Guelph. Steve Chapman finished second in the men’s A standings, while Jennifer Morgan placed second in women’s A. The Gaels also had four bikers in the top six women’s B overall finishers.

Men’s rowing: A

The men’s rowing team had a strong season, winning silver medals at both the OUA and national championships. Led by Mike Wilkinson, who shared the national Oarsman of the Year award with Western’s Tim Colson, the men missed winning the OUA championship by only two points. They also won the heavy pair and lightweight four events at the nationals and finished third in the lightweight singles, lightweight doubles and heavy eight.

Men’s cross country: A-

After a promising season capped by Braden Novakowski coming within six seconds of winning the OUA title, the men came in a disappointing fifth place at the nationals in Victoria. Robert Kitz placed 13th at the CIS race while Novakowski came in 18th place. The men were the top Canadian team at both the Western Invitational in September and at a Hamilton College meet two weeks later. Justin Hall was selected a Desjardins Top-Eight Academic All-Canadian.

Women’s lacrosse: A-

The women’s lacrosse team stayed the course this season, capturing the OUA silver medal for the third year in a row. The Laurier Golden Hawks beat the Gaels 9-6 in the championship game, the third time in a row the two teams had met for the title. The Gaels finished with a regular season record of 3-3 before defeating Guelph 14-2 and the University of Toronto 7-6 in playoff matches to reach the final. Captain Ruth McArthur was named the OUA’s most sportsmanlike player, while rookie Lisa McLaughlin was named an OUA first-team all-star. McArthur, Martha Ross and Laura Snyder were named second-team all-stars.

Men’s rugby: A-

After a disappointing fourth-place finish in 2006, the men romped to a 5-1 regular season record, with their only loss coming to the Brock Badgers. Buoyed by raucous home crowds, the Gaels flattened Trent University 99-0 in the quarter-finals, followed by a gutsy 18-13 win over the Western Mustangs in the semifinals. The Gaels travelled to Markham to face the Badgers for the OUA title, but came up short in a 22-6 loss. Queen’s scrum-half Bryn Davies earned league MVP honours after totalling 54 points in the regular season. Davies, Pat Richardson, Alistair Clark, Tim Richardson, James Potter and Colin Alexander all earned spots on the OUA East All-Star Team.

Men’s soccer: A-

Despite undergoing a coaching change just before the start of their training camp, the men’s soccer team adapted well to a new tactical system and had a successful campaign. They finished third in the OUA East, beat the Ryerson Rams at home in the first round of the playoffs and then upset the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on the road to book their ticket into the OUA Final Four tournament. They lost a close 1-0 semifinal match to the eventual Ontario champion York Lions but rebounded with a bronze-medal match victory over the Carleton Ravens, the top-ranked team in Canada going into the playoffs. Midfielder Nick Milonas was named a second-team All-Canadian.

Men’s football: B+

In their 125th anniversary season, the Gaels’ football team exceeded expectations in the regular season, starting 4-0 and finishing with a 6-2 record, earning their first home playoff game since 2003. With anticipation building for a long playoff run, the Gaels fell to eventual OUA champions the University of Western Ontario 27-19 in the quarter-final, cutting short their record-setting season. Running back Mike Giffin ran his way into the history books, becoming the first thousand-yard rusher in Queen’s history. Head coach Pat Sheahan earned OUA coach of the year honours, with Giffin, Rob Bagg, Cody Kennedy and Osie Ukwuoma all selected as first-team All-Canadians.

Women’s field hockey:B

The women’s field hockey team turned in a solid performance, finishing fifth in the OUA during the regular season. They suffered a narrow 1-0 loss to the Western Mustangs in their first playoff match, but rebounded with a 2-1 win over the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers in the OUA fifth-place match.

Fourth-year midfielder Kirsten Jewell led the team in scoring with six goals and was named a second-team All-Canadian. Defender Hilary Piets also had a strong year, finishing with four goals.

Women’s soccer: B

The women’s soccer team faced the tough task this year of living up to last year’s national silver medals without their biggest star, Eilish McConville, who was named the CIS Player of the Year last season in her final year with the Gaels. The team overcame her loss, however, and finished third in the OUA East Division. They suffered a disappointing first-round loss to the Royal Military College Paladins, who were in the playoffs for the first time in their school’s history. The Gaels received strong goalkeeping from Katie McKenna and Hannah Shoichet all season. McKenna put up a 552-minute shutout streak, while Shoichet was named an OUA second-team all-star. Striker Renee MacLellan led the team with six goals and was named an OUA first-team all-star.

Men’s baseball: B-

The men’s baseball team went 3-9 in their regular season, but beat the York Lions 6-5 in a playoff match to advance to the league final against the Durham College Lords. They lost both games of the final by scores of 5-2 and 7-3.

Women’s rugby: B-

The women’s rugby team had an encouraging start to their season, opening with wins over York, Trent and Toronto. The wheels came off the bus in their fourth game of the season, a 50-0 drubbing at the hands of the Guelph Gryphons. An 8-7 loss to Waterloo the following week put the Gaels on the road for the first round against Guelph, where they lost 36-0, eliminating them from the playoffs.

Women’s water polo: B-

The women’s water polo team went 3-5 in the regular season, good enough for fourth place in the OUA. In the playoffs, they lost a close 7-5 semifinal match to the Carleton Ravens, the eventual OUA champions, and then fell 11-4 to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in the OUA bronze-medal game. Holly Tawse led the Gaels with 18 goals and was named an OUA first-team all-star.

Men’s golf: C

Aside from Patrick Forbes, who was named an OUA first-team all-star, the golf team didn’t have much to be excited about this season. They finished ninth at the OUA championships at the Royal Ottawa Golf Club. Forbes had two first-place finishes during the season and shot a 72 on the first day of the OUAs, but shot an 81 the second day to finish in a tie for 12th place.

Men’s water polo: D+

The men’s water polo team failed to win a game this season, going 0-9-1 to finish last in the OUA. Their lone draw came against the Western Mustangs, who finished 1-8-1. This season was a step down from the Gaels’ 2-8 record last year.

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