Winter teams leave their mark

The Journal’s Sports staff Kate Bascom and Lauri Kytömaa look back at the Gaels’ winter season

Queen’s athletics enjoyed a successful winter season, finishing off with two OUA banners from men’s fencing and women’s hockey. The Gaels also had strong showings from men’s squash, and men’s and women’s volleyball.
Queen’s athletics enjoyed a successful winter season, finishing off with two OUA banners from men’s fencing and women’s hockey. The Gaels also had strong showings from men’s squash, and men’s and women’s volleyball.
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The women’s hockey team celebrates their first provinical title in 32 years.
The women’s hockey team celebrates their first provinical title in 32 years.
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Women’s hockey
Grade: A
Record: 15-8-4 season, 7-1 playoffs

In hindsight, the Gaels seemed to be saving their energy going into the winter break 6-6-4. The women’s hockey team blew past their opponents in the winter semester, only losing two games and scoring 44 goals against their competition.

But the Gaels saved the best for last. In a history-making OUA playoffs, Queen’s defeated the Guelph Gryphons in six overtimes to take the first game of the eventual championship series sweep. In their first CIS berth, the Gaels went 1-1 in the round robin before defeating their OUA rivals the Laurier Golden Hawks 1-0 for the bronze medal.

Fencing

Grade: A
Record: First in OUA (Men), fourth in OUA (Women)

The men’s team captured their fourth ever OUA banner this season with a strong all-around performance at the championships. The team took gold in both the individual and team épée and Sabre events. With more than half the team graduating this season, the win gave a good conclusion for the team’s veterans and some motivation for the team’s future fencing champs.

Men’s squash
Grade: B+
Record: Second in the OUA

At the Queen’s hosted OUA Championship, the Gaels earned a silver medal, falling only to the 28-time OUA gold medallists, the Western Mustangs. Alex Ford and Amr Hamour were both named OUA All-Stars. Hamour was a notable standout during the OUAs defeating a Mustang in one of the only two games that Western dropped.

Women’s squash

Grade: B
Record: Fourth in OUA

Women’s squash was a team in transition this winter as several new players joined the team. Although the team retained its top two players, Erin Roberts and Heather Lamb, from last season, the OUA championships demonstrated just how important the lower division players can be. Roberts and Lamb finished a combined 6-1 in divisions one and two during the provincial championship to earn the team six of their nine points.

Players in divisions three through six finished with a combined record of 3-11. Despite the poor performance of the lower players, the team almost made the podium, falling from third by losing a tiebreaker.

Men’s volleyball
Grade: B
Record: 16-4 season, 1-1 playoffs

Despite some major injuries, the men’s volleyball team had a solid regular season. The team opened the first half of the year with a record of 8-2 without the help of veterans Niko Rukavina and Dan Rosenbaum.

Things looked promising for the defending OUA champions as they entered the postseason with injured players returning to the line-up. Unfortunately the eventual champions, the McMaster Marauders, were too much for the Gaels in the OUA semi-final and they were forced out of the playoffs before the OUA final for the first time since the 2004-05 season.

Fourth-year outside hitter Joren Zeeman was named to the Second Team All-Star team for the third consecutive year.

Men’s hockey
Grade: B
Record: 14-11-3 season, 0-2 playoffs

The men’s hockey team entered the season with one of the most talented groups of players in years, but injuries and poor goaltending made it difficult for the team to stay in the win column. The team entered the Winter break with a record of 5-8-2 but found a way to pull things together in the second half and finished with a winning record.

Injuries were still too prominent in the first round of the playoffs. The team dressed only 17 out of their 27-man roster, resulting in a 2-0 sweep at the hands of the Nipissing Lakers.

Figure skating
Grade: B
Record: Third in the OUA

The figure skating team began the season on top, finishing first at the Queen’s Invitational. Over the course of the season, the Gaels saw great individual efforts, leading them to a third place finish in the OUA.

Rookie Renee Tse was recognized at the Colour Awards with Varsity Club Rookie of the Year for her multiple medal season.

Women’s volleyball
Grade: B-
Record: 12-7 season, 0-1 playoffs

Queen’s started the season in typical fashion going 6-1 and only heading to five sets in two games. However the Gaels took a tumble finishing the second half of the season at .500. The women’s volleyball team lost their OUA quarterfinal in straight sets to the Ottawa Gee-Gees.

The team had many standout individual efforts. Natalie Gray and Katie Matthews were selected as OUA East First Team All-Stars and Lorna Button earned an OUA East Second Team All-Star selection.

Men’s track and field
Grade: B-
Record: Seventh in OUA, 16th in CIS

Men’s track and field fell one spot at the OUA championships from last season and six spots at the CIS championships. At OUAs the team captured one silver medal and at nationals they collected three sixth place finishes.

The team’s top runner, Matt Hulse, was slowed down by injuries during the fall, which may have hurt his speed this winter. A lack of a field team also continued to hamper the team’s ability to collect points towards the overall standings.

Wrestling
Grade: B-

Kellie Heney was the wrestling team’s top performer this year, grabbing a bronze medal at the OUA championship and placing sixth at nationals in her first appearance. Heney was the Gaels’ lone competitor at nationals.

At OUAs, the Gaels continued to improve with two fourth place finishes by Christine Humphries and Yi Quan in the women’s 67 kg and 72 kg weight classes respectively. The men’s team earned two fifth place finishes from Joel Smith in the 54 kg weight class and Tavis Sisco in the 68 kg weight class.

Women’s basketball
Grade: C+
Record: 7-15 season, 0-1 playoffs

The women’s basketball took a lot of losses during the regular season but still found their way to a playoff berth. The team started the year with a record of 2-7. Things didn’t improve much until the team broke a seven-game losing streak at the end of the season by rattling off four straight wins to get themselves into the postseason. The end came quickly as the Ryerson Rams defeated them 62-51 in a one game playoff in Toronto.

In spite of the team’s struggles, fourth-year guard Brittany Moore had a great season, averaging 16.45 points per game, earning her OUA First Team All-Star honours.

Women’s track and field
Grade: C+
Record: Eighth in OUA, 21st in CIS

The women fell two spots from last year’s results at OUAs and four spots from their finish at nationals. Fourth-year runner, Leah Larocque, captured the team’s one podium finish at the provincial level by taking the bronze in the women’s 3000m. Larocque would also be the only athlete to go to the CIS championships on the women’s side. Her eighth place finish in the 3000m was the sole point earned by the Gaels at the national competition.

Men’s basketball

Grade: C
Record: 6-16 season

With the graduation of Mitch Leger last season, the Gaels had to move on without their star forward this year. The young squad remained competitive against some of the toughest opponents in the OUA and recorded consecutive 100-plus point nights for the first time in Queen’s history.

Dan Bannister was named an OUA Second Team All-Star for the first time in his Queen’s career, after averaging 17.1 points per game. First-year Nikola Misljencevic was named to the OUA East All-Rookie Team. This is the first Gael to be named to a rookie team since 2007-08.

Men’s curling
Grade: C-
Record: Eighth in OUA

A year after taking the CIS banner, the men’s curling team must look to rebuild before it brings another championship home. The team finished with a 2-6 record at the OUA championships, failing to make the podium rounds. The margins of defeat were often very small; three of the Gaels’ six losses were by one point, suggesting that the team can be competitive in years to come.

Queen’s lead Curtis Nichol was also named as a Second Team All-Star after the competition.

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