Projecting the fall OUA title races

Assistant Sports Editor Nick Faris faces off with the Journal’s sports writers to assess the league’s best

Queen’s is currently 5-2, third in the OUA.
Queen’s is currently 5-2, third in the OUA.
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Queen’s is currently 5-1, second in the OUA.
Queen’s is currently 5-1, second in the OUA.
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Queen’s is 10-1-2, first in the OUA East.
Queen’s is 10-1-2, first in the OUA East.
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Queen’s will face Waterloo in the OUA semi-final.
Queen’s will face Waterloo in the OUA semi-final.
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Football

QUEEN’S

The Gaels’ recent 33-28 loss to the Guelph Gryphons was a blessing in disguise. They gained a much-needed wake-up call heading into a do-or-die run for the OUA championship.

After surrendering a 25-point deficit, the Gaels lost due to their own complacency. Any sense of entitlement as the rightful Yates Cup top-underdogs is officially gone.

Queen’s will likely win in the quarter-finals, and it’s a sure bet they’ll avoid past mistakes against the Gryphons in the semis.

Once they face the almighty McMaster Marauders for the Yates Cup, the self-inflicted wake-up call could be the difference.

— Peter Morrow

MCMASTER

Inconsistency has plagued the Gaels all season long, but the Ontario championship is still well within reach.

Queen’s suffered a total second-half meltdown against Guelph last weekend. A veteran-laden Gaels squad won’t let it happen again.

They’ll cruise in the quarter-final and redeem themselves in the semi.

If Queen’s offense and defence are clicking simultaneously, there’s a chance they could threaten the nationally top-ranked Marauders in the Yates Cup.

That hasn’t happened to date, and there’s little reason to believe a season-long struggle will be solved against the best team in the country. Second best was the projection from the outset, and McMaster will ensure the Gaels get nothing more.

— Nick Faris

Women’s Soccer

OTTAWA

It will be a three-horse race for the OUA women’s soccer title, with the Gaels, Ottawa Gee-Gees and Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks duking it out.

The Gee-Gees are running away with the OUA East, while the Golden Hawks top the West. The Gaels are second place in the East and should finish the season there.

Although Queen’s and Laurier have qualified for back-to-back CIS championship tournaments, the Gee-Gees remain undefeated and have allowed only one goal all season, scoring 54.

The Gaels will put in a valiant effort, but the Gee-Gees’ offensive firepower and rock solid defence will lead them to the OUA title.

— Jordan Cathcart

OTTAWA

A chronic inability to beat the Toronto Varsity Blues could hamstring Queen’s in the playoffs.

Their last four games have resulted in two ties and two victories for the Blues — with a potential quarter-final matchup looming.

The Gaels are resilient enough to take down the Blues in an early playoff showdown, but chances of a national three-peat are next to nil.

The Gaels’ situation is reminiscent of the football team — a talented side frantically seeking to rectify untimely bouts of inconsistency.

That uncertainty doesn’t bode well against Ottawa, who already dismantled Queen’s in the second game of the season.

— Nick Faris

Men’s soccer

YORK

The York Lions will walk away with the OUA title, but before that, things will heat up in the semi-finals.

That’s when Queen’s and Carleton, first and second in the East, will face off against their West Division counterparts, York and McMaster, in the first round of interdivisional play.

Although the East Division leaders have both had great seasons, it’ll be an all-West final between York and McMaster, with York coming out on top.

— Peter Reimer

QUEEN’S

York currently ranks as the favourite in the OUA championship race — but with four elite teams, nothing is guaranteed.

The Lions have shown cracks in 2012. Slim victories over dismal Brock and Waterloo teams show that York is eminently beatable, even if it hasn’t happened yet.

The Gaels boast a nearly unblemished record despite a recent spate of injuries. Their surprising run will continue until the final, where they’ll take home the title.

— Nick Faris

Women’s rugby

GUELPH

With only a victory against the Waterloo Warriors separating Queen’s from the OUA title game, a chance to play for the championship is a likely reality.

The gold medal game will almost certainly be against the seemingly unbeatable Guelph Gryphons. Guelph outscored opponents 388-8 en route to a 6-0 regular season.

Even for the most talented Gaels squad in team history, the challenge will likely prove too great. Queen’s will fall short to the Gryphons, undoubtedly the OUA’s best.

— Josh Burton

GUELPH

This has been the most successful Gaels team in 2012. With an established core of players in third-year or under, there’s still room for growth. Unfortunately, Guelph stands in their way.

The Gryphons boast the league’s best player in fifth-year centre Britt Benn. She tallied a career-high 16 tries in 2012 — while no other player reached double-digits.

A national medal is in the cards for Queen’s, but the conference title will go to the Gryphons.

— Nick Faris

Men’s rugby

QUEEN’S

After a disappointing loss in last year’s finals, the men’s rugby team has bounced back in aspiring fashion.

The Gaels have only dropped one of six regular season games, in the form of a 22-20 defeat against the Western Mustangs — the team responsible for last year’s dissatisfying result.

Queen’s fans can expect a team insistent on dethroning the Mustangs in the finals, while fending off the likes of top OUA teams McMaster and Guelph.

Although the Mustangs have the physical edge, Queen’s has fought through more adversity, and will win the OUA.

— Adrian Smith

WESTERN

Queen’s heartbreaking loss to Western in September was the OUA season’s most exciting game to date — and they should meet again in the conference final.

The Gaels have persisted despite occasional absences of several veterans. David Worsley, Graham Turner and rookie Adam McQueen have paced Queen’s balanced attack.

The Mustangs have won each of the teams’ last four match-ups. A potential rematch in the final hinges on Liam Underwood — whether he’s healthy or even present for the playoff push. If he’s not, Western will celebrate on the Nixon Field turf once again.

— Nick Faris

Rowing

WESTERN (M)

QUEEN’S (W)

With a first-place finish in the lightweight eight at the Brock Invitational, the men’s team has the potential to claim individual event medals. Still, it won’t be enough to secure the overall OUA banner. The men will finish third behind Western and Brock.

The women stack up very well against the rest of the OUA, with three first-place finishes at Brock. An improvement in the lightweight eight may be all Queen’s need to raise another banner. The women will take first in the OUA.

— Lauri Kytömaa

BROCK (M)

WESTERN (W)

Winning the lightweight eight at Brock underscores the proficiency of Queen’s men in certain events, but Western and Brock are too strong. The Badgers will unseat the Mustangs for OUA supremacy.

The women have shown improvement in the heavyweight races, but Western’s historic dominance still complicates the matter. Any individual race could swing the championship, and the Mustangs’ OUA success must be considered. Western will clinch first, with the Gaels settling for silver.

— Nick Faris

Cross country

GUELPH

The Guelph Gryphons are the hands-down favourites to capture OUA team titles.

Queen’s women are looking preeminent, finishing in third place at the Guelph Open.

The men’s team hasn’t been able to break into the top pack of participants in warm-up events.

Neither team will ultimately be able to top Guelph.

— Rachel Herscovici

GUELPH

A collection of Guelph cross country alumni recently finished second at the Guelph Open — ahead of everyone but the current Guelph men, who’ll win an eighth consecutive OUA title.

On the women’s side, Guelph is gunning for nine straight.

Both Queen’s teams should challenge for the podium, but the Gryphons will sweep once again.

— Nick Faris

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