Recounting the best of 2010-11

With Queen’s Athletics, the Journal’s Lauri Kytömaa weighs in on the year’s top Gaels moments

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National stage

The women’s rugby team marched to the playoffs with an undefeated 5-0 regular season record. Although the team fell to the University of Guelph in the OUA final they would receive their first ever CIS championship berth, finising fifth in the nation.

“It’s huge; this is history being made for Queen’s so we’re really proud,” said fullback Jocelyn Poirier.

Rookie sensation

Rookie linebacker Sam Sabourin was a bright spot on the Gaels football team as he finished third in the nation for tackles and was the OUA Rookie of the Year. He set a team record by collecting 13 tackles against McMaster in the team’s first game.

“He’s a tremendous candidate [for the CIS rookie of the year]. He’s played like a veteran player from the moment he’s arrived. He’s a legitimate player and he’s deserving,” ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­said football head coach Pat Sheahan.

Shrine time

Gaels’ offensive lineman Matt O’Donnell got an opportunity very few CIS football players get during their university careers: an invitation to the annual East-West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida. The event showcases players entering the NFL draft.

“It’s a tremendous accolade for him and the Queen’s program. To produce a candidate for an event like this is great ... a thing that only happens once in a life time,” ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­said football head coach Pat Sheahan.

Down but not out

The women’s basketball team ended a seven-game losing streak by winning their last four games. The wins moved the Gaels into the fifth seed out of six and an unlikely playoff berth.

“I was really happy that, under pressure, our team was able to pull off those key wins ... Those games were just like the playoff games that we’re going to experience. We can go into the playoffs with a good momentum, on a bit of a run. I think we’re peaking at the right time,” said guard Brittany Moore.

Redemption

­­­­­­­­­­­The women’s soccer team capped off their tremendous season with the biggest prize of all: a gold medal overtime win at the 2010 CIS Women’s Soccer Championship in Charlottetown. It was the team’s first national banner since 1988.

“I dropped right to my knees. I didn’t know what to do [after we scored in the final]. Honestly just pure joy and excitement … It felt like we had won right there. You have to finish the game, but just right there, everything that we had been working so hard towards, [we] just kind of felt in that moment that everything was worth it,” said forward Kelli Chamberlain.

The hall calls

At 1 a.m. on March 3 Morgan McHaffie scored in the sixth overtime period to end the opening game of the OUA championship round against the Guelph Gryphons 2-1 for the Gaels.

The women’s hockey game lasted a total of 167 minutes, which qualifies it for the longest collegiate game in North American history. The win was also the fourth straight overtime victory for Queen’s. Gaels goaltender Mel Dodd-Moher stopped 66 of 67 shots against.

“I don’t even believe in three period hockey anymore. They’ve got to be at least five,” said forward Kelsey Thomson.

Banner season

Women’s rowing: The women’s rowing team held a narrow 88-75 team point lead over rival Western entering the last event of the OUA championships, and the whole weekend’s efforts rested on the oars of the last competitors.

Queen’s would finish the race second, just four seconds behind Western. Though it wasn’t a first place for the crew it was good enough to secure a 103-100 point victory over Western for the OUA banner.

“[We were] confident, not cocky. We worked really hard so there was no reason we couldn’t win,” said lightweight women’s rower Emily Richardson.

Men’s fencing: Accumulating the most points overall, the men’s team took home the OUA banner for the first time since 2003-04. The men’s team had a dominating win with a 240 point lead above the second-place Carleton Ravens’ 198 point finish.

“We’re going to the Brew Pub! We decided that if we won the banner this year [it] would be the High roller special. A bottle of Dom Perignon, and a basket of wings … We all want to get it, so we’re all going to get it together,” said fencer Karl Gardner.

Holmberg’s heroes

As perennial underdogs through their playoff run, the women’s hockey team swept two nationally ranked teams, Laurier and Guelph, to capture an OUA championship. The team then marched into the CIS championships and came out with a bronze medal. Overall, the women’s hockey team won 18 out of their 21 last games.

“We just believed in each other. We have a lot of fifth year players on the team. We were not going to take no for an answer. We weren’t leaving here without a victory,” said forward Liz Kench.

Century club

In a less than perfect year for the Gaels, the men’s basketball team was able to end the regular season on a high note. Having only scored 100-plus points six times in its 108-year-old history, the team had two consecutive triple-digit wins over the York Lions and Laurentian Voyageurs.

“[It was] definitely very special. We have been struggling all season, and even though we’re out of the playoffs, we gave it all we had. They were some pretty big wins for us,” said guard Dan Bannister.

Hello Canada!

In a celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s basketball at Queen’s the Gaels faced off against the McGill Martlets in an exhibition game. The game was broadcast live across the nation on CBC’s Sports Day in Canada to celebrate athletics across the nation.

“I am very excited; there is a lot of attention being paid to this game and this event. We are all very excited and [the] nerves are getting in my head a little bit,” said winger Christine Wallace.

Voting

Go online and vote for which moment should be number one at:
www.surveymonkey.com/s/queenstop10

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