Who’s top of the class?

Journal Sports editors Amrit Ahluwalia and Jake Edmiston dole out grades for the winter term sports

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MEN'S VOLLEYBALL

Grade: A
Record: 16-4 season, 5-1 playoffs

The men’s volleyball team’s success spiked this season. With fourth-year captain Sam Pedlow the team’s only player above third-year eligibility, they topped last year’s accomplishments with an OUA banner. The resulting trip to Kamloops, B.C. for the CIS championships saw the Gaels place fifth in the country, tying their all-time best at the tournament, set in 2006.

Third-year players Michael Amoroso and Joren Zeeman earned OUA First-Team All Star honours, with Zeeman named All-Canadian as well.

In addition to their success on the Canadian University circuit, the Gaels took gold at an international level in late December at the Christmas Kerst Volleyball Tornament in Assen, Netherlands.

MEN'S CURLING

Grade: A
Sixth in OUA, first in CIS

After failing to qualify for the CIS championship tournament, the men’s curling team’s season looked like it would meet a premature end. But after travel restrictions left teams from Laurentian University and Trent University unable to compete in Edmonton, the Gaels’ season was resuscitated. The team was invited to the CIS championship as one of two OUA representatives. Led by All-Canadian skip Jon Beuk, the underdogs without a provincial championship banner won a Canadian banner—defeating the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers in the final match. The CIS champions are the first-ever in Queen’s history and the team will represent Canada at the 2011 FISU Winter Universaide in Ersurum, Turkey.

WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL

Grade: B+
Record: 14-6 season, 1-2 playoffs

The women’s volleyball team’s strong season came to an anticlimactic close. After going undefeated at home in the regular season and finishing second overall in the OUA East, the women lost two straight games to finish fourth in the OUA final four. Although the Gaels outdid last year’s first-round departure, they failed to reach the podium despite being equipped with OUA East First-Team All Stars Colleen Ogilivie and Natalie Gray and Second-Team All Star Katie Matthews.

With no graduating athletes, the team has the potential to build on this year’s first final four appearance since their 2004 OUA bronze.

MEN'S HOCKEY

Grade: B+
Record: 14-12-2 season, 1-2 playoffs

The men’s hockey team cured last year’s scoring woes, but their erratic goaltending at the start of the season led them to be one of the most scored against teams this season. Rookies Payton Liske, Jordan Mirwaldt and Stephane Chabot were named to the OUA All-Rookie team and goaltender Steele De Fazio solidified himself as one of the league’s top goaltenders after eligibility conflicts kept him out of play until January. Although they were bumped out of the first round of the playoffs by the Carleton Ravens, they took two of the games, including the deciding game, to double-overtime.

FENCING

Grade: B
Record: Third in OUA (men), fifth in OUA (women)

The men’s fencing team was led by George Tully Trophy winner Scott Bowman to a provincial third-place finish in a year that was supposed to be for rebuilding, recovering from last year’s medal-less provincial performance.

MEN'S BASKETBALL

Grade: B
Record: 11-11 season, 1-1 playoffs

A .500 record and an appearance in the OUA quarter-final were an improvement for the men’s basketball team. The Gaels dramatic overtime victory over Ryerson University in the first round of the OUA playoffs was a highlight, but a loss to the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees in the semifinal showed the supremacy of the Ottawa-based teams continues to be the largest hurdle between Queen’s and a provincial title. With OUA East First-Team All Star and Queen’s all-time leading scorer Mitch Leger in his fourth-year, the Gaels are close to a rebuilding year without an OUA medal to show.

WRESTLING

Grade: B-

The wrestling team improved its team results from last season, finishing with 11 points on the men’s side and 10 points on the women’s at the OUA Championships. In addition, wrestler Matt Di Staulo picked up an OUA bronze medal and competed at the CIS Championships in Calgary where he finished seventh.

WOMEN'S HOCKEY

Grade: B-
Record: 19-5-3 season, 0-2 playoffs

The seventh-ranked women’s hockey team had a fantastic regular season this year, with Becky Conroy and Alison Bagg earning First-Team All-Star honours, Liz Kench earning Second-Team All-Star honours, Mel Dodd-Moher and Morgan McHaffie earning All-Rookie honours and head coach Matt Holmberg named Coach of the Year. Conroy also earned a CIS Second-Team All-Star place and Dodd-Moher was named to the CIS All-Rookie team. But the team tanked in the first round of the playoffs against the Guelph Gryphons, falling well short of our expectation of medaling at the provincial level.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Grade: B-
Record: 13-9 season, 0-1 playoffs

The women’s basketball team’s season started strong but it didn’t finish that way. Their 13-9 record starkly contrasts last year’s 7-15 showing. Holding third place in the OUA East before the playoffs, the Gaels seemed to have the chops for a run in the OUA playoffs. A loss in the quarter-final against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues stopped the campaign short.

TRACK AND FIELD

Grade: C+

The men’s track and field team finished seventh in the OUA Championships and tenth at the CIS Championships, while the women’s team finished sixth provincially and 17th at nationals. Numerous strong individual performances, including a standout year from Jenkins Trophy winner Matt Hulse, couldn’t pull the team up to our expectation of both teams finishing in the top-three in the province.

WOMEN'S CURLING

Grade: C+
Record: Seventh in the OUA

The women’s team saw no change this year. Their 2-6 season and a failure to qualify for the OUA Championships duplicated their previous season. Maintenance of that performance without 2009 OUA First-Team All Star skip Lisa Farnell is admirable, though.

FIGURE SKATING

Grade: C-
Record: Fifth in OUA

The figure skating team had a tough time following last year’s OUA team silver medal. They started strong with a first-place finish at the Queen’s Invitational, but the team performance dipped from there. Strong individual performances from skaters Mélanie Graveline, Jena Hall and Emily Young’s three-medal performance at OUAs couldn’t spare the team a fifth-place finish at provincials.

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