Grading the Gaels’ performances

The Journal’s Winter Term report card looks back at this season’s trials and tribulations

Winter term athletes include (from left) track’s Matt Hulse, basketball’s Sarah Barnes, volleyball’s Michael Amoroso, hockey’s Liz Kench, wrestling’s Eric Bertrand, curling’s Lisa Farnell and fencing’s Greg Nonato.
Winter term athletes include (from left) track’s Matt Hulse, basketball’s Sarah Barnes, volleyball’s Michael Amoroso, hockey’s Liz Kench, wrestling’s Eric Bertrand, curling’s Lisa Farnell and fencing’s Greg Nonato.

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

Women’s squash: A+

The women’s squash team claimed the only Queen’s OUA championship of the winter term. After finishing third during the regular season with a 12-12 record, they won four out of their six matches against the Western Mustangs in the Ontario semifinals to clinch a berth in the finals against the McGill Martlets. Queen’s and McGill split the six matches, but the Gaels recorded 12 game victories against the Martlets’ 10 to win the championship. Michelle Craig and Rebecca Hazell were named OUA First-Team All-Stars.

Men’s hockey: A-

The men’s hockey team won their first division title in 25 years and recorded their highest number of wins since 1983, compiling a 13-12-3 record. Fresh from his Rookie of the Year season, goalie Ryan Gibb was named the OUA East MVP. He was helped by a comeback year from Brady Olsen, who scored 19 goals and was named the league’s Most Sportsmanlike Player. Captain Jeff Ovens chipped in with 13 goals and 10 assists. Head coach Brett Gibson was named OUA East Coach of the Year in recognition of the team’s breakout season. Despite winning their division, the team couldn’t take the next step in the playoffs—they fell in two straight games to the McGill Redmen.

Track and field: A-

After being shut out at the 2007 nationals for the sixth time in 26 years, the track and field team battled a flu bug to bring home three medals and 16 personal bests at the CIS championships. Matt Hulse won silver in the 1,500-metre race and bronze in the 1,000-metre race, with Braden Novakowski picking up silver in the 1,000-metre. The women’s 4x200-metre relay team ran the second-fastest time in Queen’s history, with Veronica Catry and Leah Larocque putting in strong individual performances in the 60-metres. In early February, standout Leslie Sexton set a school record in the 5,000-metre at the University of Ottawa meet in February.

Men’s volleyball: A-

The men’s volleyball team put up a 14-6 regular-season record this year. It was a step down from their 18-2 mark last season, but it put them in second place behind only the undefeated McMaster Marauders. They earned a first-round bye, beat the Ryerson Rams in four sets in the semifinals and advanced to face McMaster in the OUA finals for the second straight year. It was the third straight appearance in the finals for the two-time OUA-defending champion Gaels. It didn’t work out as well for Queen’s this time around—they lost to the Marauders in two straight matches. Joren Zeeman was named the OUA Rookie of the Year and made the CIS All-Rookie Team. Stu Hamilton was named the OUA Libero of the Year. Devon Miller was named a Second-Team All-Canadian and Miller and Jeff DeMeza were named OUA First-Team All-Stars.

Men’s basketball: B+

The men’s basketball team finished the season 14-8, remaining competitive all season atop the East Division. They had a large rookie contingent and received strong play from second-year forward Mitch Leger and fourth-year guard Simon Mitchell, who both earned OUA Second Team All-Star honours. The team thumped the York Lions in the first round of the playoffs but lost 96-44 to an undefeated Carleton Ravens squad in the quarter-finals. Forward Jon Ogden earned OUA East Rookie of the Year honours, with Travis Mitchell also named to the All-Rookie Team.

Men’s curling: B+

The men’s curling team qualified for the inaugural national championships by winning the OUA’s bronze medal after a tie-breaker win over the University of Waterloo and semifinal loss to the Western Mustangs. At the nationals, the men went 5-1 in the round robin but fell 6-4 to eventual silver-medallist University of Calgary in the quarter-finals.

Women’s curling: B+

The women’s curling team had a dramatic turnaround this year. After missing the playoffs last season, they put up a 4-3 regular-season record this year and went on a winning streak in the post-season that was snapped with an 8-5 loss to the Laurier Golden Hawks in the OUA final. They then put up a 3-3 record in the round-robin portion of the inaugural CIS curling championships, but lost in a tie-breaker match against the Guelph Gryphons. Head coach Scott Davey, who coaches both the men’s and women’s teams, was named the OUA Coach of the Year. Skip Lisa Farnell was named an OUA First-Team All-Star.

Fencing: B

The fencing teams put up a solid season again this year. Women’s captain Joanne Ko brought home a gold medal at the OUA championships and claimed the Dr. Al English Trophy in the individual épée competition. She was also a key contributor on the women’s épée team, which took home the bronze medal. The women finished sixth out of eight teams. On the men’s side, Greg Nonato won a bronze medal in the individual sabre competition and helped the men’s sabre team to a bronze. The men finished fourth out of nine teams. Hugh Munby, the head coach of both programs, received the Christian Vidosa Trophy as the OUA Coach of the Year.

Figure skating: B

Practicing at 6 a.m. in four different rinks over the course of the season, the figure skating team equalled their performance at last season’s OUAs, finishing with a bronze medal this season. Kimberley Hord and Katie Phillips won gold in the dance variation event, while Sarah Farrow earned bronze medals in two individual events. Katie Farrow and Kelsey Newhook won silver in the intermediate similar pairs; Jessica Bouchard and Cathryn Schroder combined for a bronze medal in the senior similar pairs event. In the pairs fours event, Bouchard and Schroeder teamed up with Sarah Farrow and Talia Feder to earn a bronze. The Gaels won seven medals in 13 different categories overall.

Women’s hockey: B

The women’s hockey team put up a 12-9-6 record this season, fourth-best in Ontario but below last year’s 13-8-1 mark. They beat the York Lions 2-0 in the OUA quarter-finals, but came up short in their best-of-three semifinal series against the eventual Ontario champion and CIS silver-medallist Laurier Golden Hawks. The Gaels lost 3-1 in Napanee and fell 1-0 in overtime in Waterloo. It was the second year in a row the Golden Hawks eliminated the Gaels, but the Queen’s-Laurier clash took place in the OUA finals last year. Liz Kench led the team with 27 points and was the Gaels’ lone representative on the OUA All-Star teams, earning a first-team selection. Rookie defender Michelle Hunt was named to the OUA All-Rookie Team.

Men’s squash: B

The men’s squash team finished their regular season with a 22-14 record, good for third in the OUA. While their female counterparts won the OUA title, the men’s team lost a tight semifinal to McGill University. Nick Burnett was named to the OUA Second All-Star team. The Western Mustangs won the OUA title for the 25th straight year.

Women’s volleyball: C+

The women’s volleyball team put up a 7-12 record this year, slightly worse than their 8-11 finish last season. They made the playoffs but lost in the first round to eventual OUA silver-medallists University of Toronto Varsity Blues in straight sets. It was a transition year for the team under new head coach Joely Christian, with rookies Elyssa Heller, Colleen Ogilvie and Lorna Button featured in the starting lineup for much of the year. Heller was named the OUA Rookie of the Year and was selected to the CIS All-Rookie Team. Middle hitter Christiane Taylor was named a Second-Team OUA All-Star.

Wrestling: C+

Heavyweight wrestler Eric Bertrand won the OUA bronze medal before heading to the CIS championships and finishing sixth. At the OUAs, Joel Smith finished fourth in the 54-kilogram category, while Mihail Buse finished fourth in the 61-kilogram category. The Gaels finished seventh as a team. Shannon Mullins, last year’s sixth-place finisher at the nationals, couldn’t compete this year due to ongoing injuries.

Women’s basketball: C

Last season the Gaels finished under .500 and lost in the OUA semifinal to York. The team struggled with inconsistency this season, finishing fourth in the OUA East with a 9-13 record. After losing all-time leading scorer Claire Meadows, veterans Sarah Barnes and Anne Murphy and OUA East Rookie of the Year Brittany Moore picked up the slack. The Gaels got off to a 2-6 start and struggled down the stretch, barely beating the last-place Ottawa Gee-Gees 68-66 and losing their last regular-season game to the Carleton Ravens. In the playoffs, the Gaels had home court advantage in the opening round but were upset by the Ravens 67-58. Barnes was named an OUA Second Team All-Star, with point guard Teddi Firmi earning OUA Defensive Player of the Year honours.

Nordic Skiing: D+

The Queen’s Nordic skiing teams had a tough year at the OUA championships. The men finished last and the women finished fifth out of seven teams. Julie McVicar earned the Gaels’ lone OUA All-Star nod with a seventh-place finish in the five-kilometre race. She had a strong season overall with two fourth-place finishes. Jakob Van Dorp was the top Gael on the men’s side, earning a fifteenth-place finish.

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