The Journal’s varsity year-end awards

Sports Editors Gilbert Coyle and Benjamin Deans pick the best and worst moments of the 2011-12 season

John Lenz and the men’s basketball team could only beat the Royal Military College Paladins this season.
John Lenz and the men’s basketball team could only beat the Royal Military College Paladins this season.
The men’s volleyball team broke the ARC attendance record twice in early March.
The men’s volleyball team broke the ARC attendance record twice in early March.
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Women’s volleyball outside hitter Natalie Gray came up big during the OUA final four in February.
Women’s volleyball outside hitter Natalie Gray came up big during the OUA final four in February.
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MOST PREDICTABLE CHAMPIONSHIP

Women’s soccer

Coming off of a national championship last year, the women’s soccer team was the favourite going into this season. After going 13-1-2 this regular season, the Gaels went on a six-game playoff winning streak, bringing home OUA and CIS titles.

LEAST PREDICTABLE CHAMPIONSHIP

Women’s volleyball

No one thought the women’s volleyball team would win an OUA championship this season. After losing two OUA all-stars to graduation last season and bringing in 12 rookies, the Journal predicted the team wouldn’t even make the playoffs. But after finishing the regular season third in the OUA with a 13-5 record, the Gaels beat rival Ottawa Gee-Gees in the OUA final to earn the program’s first-ever provincial championship.

WORST POST-CHAMPIONSHIP HANGOVER

Women’s hockey

After a surprising OUA championship and a CIS bronze medal finish last season, the women’s hockey team went 14-9-3 and finished fourth in the OUA, highlighted by a brutal 7-0 loss to the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks in Kingston. The Gaels fell in the first round of the OUA playoffs, dropping a three-game series to the fifth-place York Lions.

MOST SATISFYING WINS OVER WESTERN

Men’s volleyball

The men’s volleyball team lost to Western in straight sets in the third game of the regular season. But in the season’s second-last game, the Gaels upset the first-place Mustangs in straight sets, part of a five-game straight-set winning streak. The Gaels beat the Mustangs again in the OUA final to win a provincial championship.

MOST UPSETTING LOSSES AGAINST THE WESTERN MUSTANGS

Men’s rugby

The Gaels went undefeated during the regular-season, except for a close 13-7 loss to the Mustangs. The Gaels made the OUA final, but lost again to Western — the Gaels’ third OUA final loss to the Mustangs in the last five seasons.

MOST IMPORTANT WINS AGAINST ROYAL MILITARY COLLEGE

Men’s basketball

Although every Queen’s team beat RMC this season, the men’s basketball team’s two games against the Paladins were particularly meaningful — they were the Gaels’ only wins all season. In head coach Stephan Barrie’s first season, his team couldn’t find consistent scoring.

MOST SIGNIFICANT REGULAR-SEASON LOSS

Women’s rugby

The women’s rugby team’s only regular-season loss was when they fell 5-3 at home to the McMaster Marauders. But that loss set the Gaels up to face the eventual-champion Guelph Gryphons, undefeated against Ontario opposition since 2007, in the OUA semifinal. The Gaels lost to the Gryphons and missed out on a second straight trip to nationals.

BEST HOME CROWD

Men’s volleyball

When Queen’s hosted the national men’s volleyball championship in March, the Gaels’ quarter-final against the Alberta Golden Bears broke an attendance record when 1,806 people filled the ARC. The gym was so loud that Golden Bears’ outside hitter Taylor Hunt said he felt the floor shaking when he stepped up to serve.

BEST CLUTCH PERFORMANCE

Natalie Gray, women’s volleyball

Women’s volleyball outside hitter Natalie Gray led her team to a third-place OUA regular-season finish with 3.6 points per set. But she saved her most clutch performance for the OUA final four weekend, recording a combined 47 points en route to an OUA gold medal.

MOST DRAMATIC VICTORY

Men’s volleyball

The men’s volleyball team looked set for an early OUA playoff exit when it trailed the Guelph Gryphons 2-0 at home in the provincial quarter-final at the ARC on Feb. 18. But the Gaels stormed back to win three sets, sparking a run that ended with an OUA gold medal and a fourth-place finish at nationals.

MOST CONSEQUENTIAL INJURY (individual)

Billy McPhee, football

After a rocky start as the football team’s starting quarterback, McPhee ended the regular season on a six-game winning streak that ended with a 37-0 upset win over the first-place Western Mustangs. But McPhee bruised a rib against the Mustangs, keeping him out of the playoffs. Backup Ryan Mitchell led the Gaels to an OUA quarter-final win over the Laurier Golden Hawks, but Queen’s was wiped out by the McMaster Marauders in the semifinal.

WORST INJURY BUG (team)

Men’s hockey

Before the season, head coach Brett Gibson said this year’s men’s hockey team was the best he’d ever had at Queen’s. But by late November, the Gaels were missing seven players to injuries. The team finished eighth in the OUA East at 13-13-2, but were swept in the playoffs by the first-place McGill Redmen — their third straight first-round exit.

HARDEST PLAYER TO REPLACE

Brittany Moore, women’s basketball

Fifth-year captain and four-time OUA all-star Brittany Moore led the women’s basketball team with 17.2 points per game this season, ending her career second in all-time OUA scoring with 1,652 total points. The Gaels’ next highest scorer was second-year guard Liz Boag with only 8.4 points per game.

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