Ranking the fall varsity teams

The Journal’s Sports section debates the highs and lows of a memorable fall season

Men's rugby earned top spot in the rankings this season.
Men's rugby earned top spot in the rankings this season.

With three OUA championships and two national silver medals, the 2015 fall season at Queen’s was one to remember. 

As none of the teams had losing seasons, The Journal had a tough time deciding the final rankings.

1. Men’s rugby

If there’s one word that describes the men’s rugby team over the past four years, it’s dominance. Capturing their fourth consecutive OUA title with a win over Guelph in the final, the Gaels earned their 22nd men’s rugby provincial title. 

The team’s lone loss this year came in the season opener to Guelph, but the team reeled off 10-straight victories to end the season. This dominance earned the team a slight edge in the overall rankings over women’s soccer.

Led by OUA MVP Lucas Rumball and four other all-stars — Matt Beukeboom, Mark Charette, Jeff MacDonald and Brendan Blaikie — the Gaels finished the regular season tied with Guelph with a 7-1 record, sitting just below them in the final standings.

The Gaels then defeated the Western Mustangs 37-8 in the OUA semifinal, earning their place in the championship game.

2. Women’s soccer

While they didn’t reach the top spot in our rankings, the women’s soccer team has plenty to be proud of this year.

Plagued by an inability to score early on in the year, the Gaels struggled at first. To keep themselves close in match-ups, the women’s soccer team relied heavily on their defence.

From October on, the Gaels became one of the most difficult teams to play against in the OUA. In their next eight contests, Queens’ went undefeated (4-0-4).

Midfielder Jessie de Boer was the lone Queen’s player named to be a first-team OUA all-star, while fellow midfielder Lidia Bradau, defender Michah Vermeer and forward Jenny Wolever represented the Gaels on the second team.

Ranked fifth in the OUA East, there aren’t many who would’ve predicted that the Gaels would advance far into the playoffs. After four tight games against Toronto, Laurentian, York and Laurier — all decided by one goal — the Gaels were crowned OUA champions.

At the national championships, the Gaels continued to play in tight games. After losing in the first round to Sherbrooke, the Gaels won their following two games against Calgary and Cape Breton, finishing the year fifth in the nation. 

3. Women’s rugby

After defeating the defending OUA champions McMaster Marauders 15-14, the Gaels opened the season ranked second in Canada — matching their highest position in school history. From there, women’s rugby reeled off three more wins, dominating their opponents 201-10 over the three games.

During the regular season, the team was led by OUA All-Star Emma Chown, whose 12 tries propelled her to fourth in OUA scoring on the year. Her efforts were matched by teammates from all different positions on the field. Blindside flanker Gill Pegg, centre Lauren McEwen and hooker Pippi McKay joined Chown on the All-Star team.

Unfortunately, the Gaels hit a rough patch at the close of their provincial campaign, winning only two of their next five games, finishing their OUA season in just fourth place.

While most teams qualify for the national championships by being top in their division, the Gaels only earned their bid by being the host team.

Led by McEwen, the Gaels pulled off two upsets against Acadia and Concordia, eventually falling to McMaster in the final. For her efforts, McEwen was awarded a tournament all star. With half of their team being first years, valuable experience was gained during the national championship run, the Gaels look poised to build off this year’s success. 

4. Cross Country

Cross country saw a pair of star individual performances at the OUA level, however, the success was not replicated at the national stage. Though still commendable, both teams finished outside of the national and Journal fall sports podiums. Alex Wilkie won the OUA men’s championship by just one second, while Julie-Anne Staehli finished second in the women’s race. While the men’s team finished outside of the medals with a 

fourth-place finish, a fifth-place race by Claire Sumner helped to push the women’s team to second on the overall team podium. At the national level, the women’s team pushed for a fourth-place finish, with Staehli finishing fifth and Sumner finishing in eighth. The men’s team finished eighth at the CIS event.

5. Rowing 

Larkin Davenport Huyer’s second place finish at the national championships was the pinnacle of rowing at Queen’s this year.

At the OUA level, the women’s team captured silver in the double, 4+ and 8+ events. They also earned bronze medals in the lightweight 4+ and lightweight 8+ races, to finishing second in the overall rankings. The men took bronze in the lightweight single for their lone OUA medal. The women’s team finished second at the OUA in the overall standings, while the men’s team finished fourth.

6. Men’s soccer

After compiling a 10-win season last year, the men’s soccer team looked to take the next step in contending for an OUA Championship.

Early on in the year, second-year Jacob Schroeter was in form, scoring in five straight games. Holding teams to just over one goal a game, the Gaels had one of the best defensive records in all of Ontario. After it was all said and done, the Gaels would have an identical record from last year, finishing 9-2-5. 

Schroeter was met by defenders Kristian Zannette and Sam Aberbathy, and midfielder Oliver Coren on the OUA East Second All-Star team for their strong efforts this year.

Unfortunately for the Gaels, they didn’t make it past the second round of the OUA playoffs for the third year in a row, losing in a heartbreaking 1-0 game to Toronto.

With the majority of the team returning, the men’s soccer team looks ready to advance into the OUA Final Four next year.

7. Football

Last in our rankings, the Queen’s football team can have what can only be described as an up-and-down year. 

The Gaels’ shining moment came in a 23-15 upset victory over eventual Ontario champion Guelph, one year removed from a 66-0 loss to the same team.

A 5-3 record and a fourth-place OUA finish in the regular season had the Gaels poised to make a potential deep playoff run.

However, the Gaels saw themselves outmatched in the first round of the OUA playoffs, losing 39-8 to the Carleton Ravens in what was their final home game at the current Richardson Stadium. 

As the only Queen’s team to not advance past the first round of their playoffs this fall, football sits in last place for the second year in a row.

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