Athletes of the week

Dee Sterling
Dee Sterling
Jackie Byers
Jackie Byers

Dee Sterling

Fourth-year defensive tackle Dee Sterling had an exceptional game on Saturday, helping the Gaels trample the Laurier Golden Hawks 41-7. The Gaels beat Laurier for the first time in five years.

Sterling ended the game with five solo sacks, one assisted sack, six solo tackles and four assisted tackles. His performance broke the team record in single-game sacks, surpassing the four sacks in a game set by alumni Jim Aru and Marc Mitchell. He was also selected as the OUA male athlete of the week and the OUA candidate for defensive football player of the week.

Sterling said he didn’t prepare differently for the game against Laurier.

“It was the same thing we do week to week preparation-wise,” he said. “I was just lucky enough to give a better game than normal.”

Sterling said he carried a lot of energy into the game because of the Gaels’ history against the Golden Hawks, a team they hadn’t beat since 2003. “Five years is a long time not to beat a team,” he said. “We were really jacked up. This might be the last chance for me to beat them and I didn’t want to go out with Laurier in the loss column.”

Sterling said he doesn’t think defensive players are underappreciated.

“Traditionally offense gets more glory because they put points up on the board,” he said. “But games like that, the defence gets attention, so I think we’re pretty much even.”

Sterling said he’d like to see more student fans at the team’s games. He said he thinks the main reason for the low student attendance is the distance to the field, though.

“Queen’s Athletics could do more for students at games for promos, but mostly it’s the field being out on West Campus,” he said. “It’s inconvenient for students to come out all the way here. ... We need to be more accessible.”

—Amrit Ahluwalia

Jackie Byers
Women’s lacrosse

First-year attack player Jackie Byers had an incredible weekend with the Gaels on their road trip to Montreal. Queen’s faced the Toronto Varsity Blues, McMaster Marauders and McGill Martlets, earning 14-4, 11-7 and 9-7 victories respectively to take the top spot in the OUA standings. Byers led the team with nine goals over the weekend.

As a result of her performance this weekend, Byers was selected as the OUA Female Athlete of the Week which, with Sterling’s selection, was the first sweep of the awards by a single university since November 2007.

Byers said her spectacular numbers came as a result of the team’s efforts.

“It was shocking, I didn’t expect it,” she said. “It’s pretty exciting to be OUA player of the week, but I’m an attack player and it was pretty much my job to cherry-pick. I was scoring goals for the whole team. … My name’s on the scoresheet a lot, but it was a team effort. I stood in front of the net, got the pass and scored.”

As a first-year student, Byers said she felt a certain need to prove herself on the field, but that doesn’t take away from her ability to connect to the team.

“I played with four of the girls in high school,” she said. “It helped because I wasn’t coming into a brand new team. The connection was already there.”

Byers said she felt that more strong performances from the team over the coursea of the year could contribute to a higher student interest in their games.

“I think when a team does well, people like to hear about it and support them. I think we’ll have more people come out since we’re winning. No one likes to see their team lose.”

—Amrit Ahluwalia

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