Soccer triple crowned

Six athletes credited for contributions at team Colour Awards

Men’s rugby, women’s hockey and women’s rowing all claimed OUA titles, but the women’s soccer team’s CIS silver medal earned them a third straight Team of the Year award at the Colour Awards last night.
Men’s rugby, women’s hockey and women’s rowing all claimed OUA titles, but the women’s soccer team’s CIS silver medal earned them a third straight Team of the Year award at the Colour Awards last night.
Supplied by Ian MacAlpine
Supplied by Ian MacAlpine
Supplied by Ian MacAlpine
Nadia Popov and Sukhpreet Singh were named Queen’s Team rookies of the year.
Nadia Popov and Sukhpreet Singh were named Queen’s Team rookies of the year.
Supplied by Ian MacAlpine

The women’s soccer team cleaned up again, collecting two of the six major prizes awarded at the 77th annual Colour Awards on Wednesday night.

Choosing from the 13 varsity teams, Queen’s Athletics presented awards to the top performing varsity team, the most outstanding performance by an athlete, the top male and female rookie athletes and the best male and female student athletes of 2012-13.

New this year, the Varsity Support Services Awards were given to Geoff Johnston, Alex Pianosi, Tracy Wong and Doug Davidson for their dedicated contributions to athletic therapy, athlete services, home events and strength and conditioning.

Jim Tait Trophy for outstanding varsity team: women’s soccer

The women’s soccer team took home their third straight title,which came as a surprise to their head coach, Dave McDowell.

“There were so many other good group performances from the rugby teams and the women’s hockey team — there are lots of terrific teams out there,” McDowell said. “I knew we had a good year in terms of what we did, but I guess after winning it two years in a row, you lose by a wee bit, and it just doesn’t seem the same — maybe [we]’re caught up in the weight of expectations a little bit.”

A third-place finish in the OUA gave the Gaels an opportunity to fight for a third-straight national title in Victoria, B.C.

“We had trouble clicking in the first few weeks of the season,” co-captain Riley Filion said, “but we knew we had the talent to still compete with the best, and the thing was, we just needed to peak at the right time.”

The Gaels topped the previously unbeaten University of Ottawa Gee-Gees en route to the championship game against the Trinity Western Spartans, with Filion netting a magnificent goal on a set piece. Scoreless through extra time, the game went to penalty kicks where the Gaels lost, finishing their 2012 season with a CIS silver medal.

Defender Jessie De Boer, midfielder Alexis McKinty and striker Breanna Burton were recognized as CIS Championship All-Stars.

Outstanding Performance of the Year: Liam Underwood, men’s rugby and Morgan McHaffie, women’s hockey

With a surplus of excellence exhibited by Gaels’ athletes in 2012-13, the Outstanding Performance of the Year was awarded to Liam Underwood and Morgan McHaffie.

As a fourth-year fly-half, Underwood led the men’s rugby team to a dominant 9-1 record in 2012 and capped off the season with an OUA Championship where he scored 14 points in the Gaels’ 29-18 win over the Western Mustangs.

“It was nice to get it done this year,” Underwood said. “Aside from [winning nationals with the Ontario Blues], the OUA championship was the best moment this year, because we lost it last year to Western, but we knew we could have beaten them.”

Underwood competed on various teams this past year, including club and provincial, and was selected to represent Canada as a member of the sevens team, as well as the Canada “A” squad at the Americas Rugby Championship.

“I grew up playing rugby since I was nine years old, so that’s always been the goal — to play for team Canada,” Underwood said.

Third in OUA scoring, and tied for first in the playoffs, McHaffie led the women’s hockey team to an OUA Championship title over Western, the second title of her four-year Gaels career.

McHaffie built on an impressive 2011-12 campaign, finishing 2012-13 as a second-team All-Canadian and first-team OUA all-star, and leading the Gaels to their best-ever regular season record at 20-4-2.

“That was one of the biggest things for us, and another goal all year was to make it to nationals,” McHaffie said. “Pursuing that goal and doing it — winning six straight playoff games and winning the [OUA] championship — felt pretty amazing.”

Alfie Pierce Trophy for top male rookie: Sukhpreet Singh, men’s basketball

As the OUA East Rookie of the Year, Sukhpreet Singh played an instrumental role in the men’s basketball team’s rebirth in 2012-13.

“[The award]’s just a by-product of our team’s success this year — all credit to my teammates and the coaching staff,” Singh said. “I’m not satisfied with a 10-10 record, and I’m sure the rest of the guys aren’t either, so I’m just looking forward to the offseason — to getting better.”

Starting at point guard, Singh put up impressive numbers in his inaugural season as a Gael. Sixth in the OUA in both assists and free throws made, Singh kept pace with the league’s top athletes.

“It was good to get adjusted to the game so quick — to play so much,” Singh said. “I came with a lot of guys from Toronto that I already knew, so getting on the court with them made it an easier transition.”

Alfie Pierce Trophy for top female rookie: Nadia Popov, women’s rugby

In her first year with the Gaels, Nadia Popov earned OUA Women’s Rugby Rookie of the Year.

Popov finished tied for third in the OUA in regular season points, adding 14 points in the OUA playoffs and 12 points at the CIS championships.

Popov was selected as a captain for the 2013 season. She’ll compete at the Nations Cup in South Africa this summer after being named to the Canada U20 long list.

“Whenever you play with people who are at such a high level, you’re always going to learn a lot from everyone you play with, and the coaches,” Popov said. “I’m really looking forward to getting that experience and translating that into our season next year.”

Jenkins Trophy for outstanding male student-athlete: Jackson Dakin, men’s volleyball

As a four-time academic All-Canadian and the student speaker at the awards banquet, Jackson Dakin was honoured as the top student-athlete to conclude his five-year career with the men’s volleyball team.

“[Volleyball] is really what has made this career at Queen’s so amazing for me,” Dakin said. “And [this award] is kind of a capstone for me – I think I’m done with competitive volleyball.”

Dakin played on two OUA Championship teams and representing Queen’s at the CIS championships twice. After graduating, Dakin could make a push for a professional career.

“I think there’s a lot to be learned and done at the professional level, but to top what I’ve been able to do at university would be so difficult, and I think I’m ready to start my career with what I’ve learned in the school half of the equation,” Dakin said.

Now pursuing a Masters in engineering chemistry, Dakin still leads by example. In 2012-13, he was named as an OUA first-team All-Star and the OUA Men’s Volleyball Dale Iwanoczko Sportsman of the Year.

PHE ’55 Alumnae Award for top graduating female student-athlete: Riley Filion, women’s soccer

Co-captain of the women’s soccer team, Filion graduates this year as one of the most decorated varsity athletes Queen’s has ever had.

“I know the athletes who have won [this award] before – they’re unreal, incredible athletes,” Filion said. “My first national championship in my second year was my first introduction to winning something really big – the feeling was just amazing.”

In four years, Filion can boast two CIS Championship gold medals, one CIS silver, one OUA title, two OUA silvers and one OUA bronze.

Her individual success includes collecting All-Canadian status once, three CIS Championship All-Stars, three OUA East first-team all-stars, an OUA East MVP and an OUA East Rookie of the Year.

Set to graduate from nursing but with one year of eligibility remaining, Filion’s future is still unclear.

“[Life without soccer] would be no fun – that’s why I really want to come back,” Filion said. “I don’t know what I’d do without [soccer].”

Off the pitch, Filion is the varsity athlete representative to the University Council on Athletics and Recreation and is an example to all student-athletes as a three-time academic All-Canadian.

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