2014 was a rebuilding year for the Martlet rugby team. Fresh off of a RSEQ Championship the year before, the team lost notable players including CIS Player-of-the-Year Brianna Miller. This season, the squad looks to build off of last year’s appearance in the RSEQ semifinals, when they fell to the Ottawa Gee Gees, and challenge for an RSEQ title once again.
The Martlets will return two All-Conference players in prop Audrey Marcotte and centre Caroline Suchorski. Last season, Suchorski was the offensive anchor for the team and led the RSEQ in scoring, tallying 91 points in seven games. Star wing Deanna Foster also returns to the squad after missing last season with a knee injury. During her sophomore season, Foster was an All-Star at the CIS National Championships; she will likely partner with Suchorski to make a formidable one-two scoring punch. The Martlets started off their season with a 29-12 loss against the Laval Rouge et Or on Sept. 7.
The reigning ‘Tribune Team-of-the-Year’ kicked off the 2015 season Sunday with high expectations. The defending CCBA champions posted a 21-9 record last year during the regular season and won four out of five games at Nationals.
Tournament MVP Tyler Welence and Robert Sedin, two of McGill’s four CCBA All-Stars, are returning this year at shortstop and third base, respectively. Welence led the CCBA in batting average (.458), and was second in base percentage (.544) and runs scored (18). Sedin led the league in slugging percentage (.721).
The two will lead a youthful Redmen roster. Thirteen of the 24 spots are occupied by players in their first year of eligibility. This will present a new challenge to the Redman who lost five players to graduation last year.
McGill’s fiercest competition for the crown will come from rival Concordia, who were the runners-up in last year’s tournament. McGill have split their first two games of the season, both against Carleton. They hope to bounce back next week against the Montreal Carabins.
For the first time in over a decade things are looking up for McGill football. While the Redmen were winless last year, the team won its season-opener for the first time in 15 years against Bishop’s University by a whopping 10-3. The victory marks the first CIS win for new Head Coach Ronald Hillaire, who took on the position in February following Clint Uttley’s resignation.
The Redmen lineup has gone through a complete overhaul this year. Eleven starters from last year are off the team, including running back Jean-Philippe Paquette and quarterback Dallon Kuprowski. Two-time Vanier Cup winner Benoit Groulx will join Hilaire and the coaching team as the team’s new offensive coordinator
In the victory over Bishop’s, first-year kicker Justin Lavelle tied up the game in the second quarter with a 14-yard field goal. Slotback Louis Brouteille was the star of the match, scoring a 33-yard touchdown with 4:32 remaining after a strategic pass-and-run play. It’s too soon to say whether the victory will be indicative of a winning season, but Hilaire’s revamped squad certainly looks more confident on the field after going through a tumultuous season last year.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. If that’s really true, then the Redmen lacrosse team is posed to come back more vengeful than ever this season. After going undefeated at home and against conference opponents during the regular season, the Redmen fell to the Guelph Gryphons in the CUFLA Baggataway Cup Final for the second straight year. Last year’s loss will be felt for a long time after the Redmen scored seven unanswered goals in the closing minutes of the game but fell short of a miraculous comeback.
With 14 seniors returning to the squad, regular season dominance should be routine for Redmen lacrosse. Three-time All-Star Connor Goodwin, newly named co-captains Anders Bjella and Rufus Frost, and junior attackman Spencer Bromley lead the most prolific offence in the conference. On defence, veteran Paul Rakoczy will be a steady presence in the backfield, and will help mentor blue-chip defensive recruit Brendan Mullen.
Most importantly, the Redmen must keep faith in goaltender William Waesche. The junior was named 2014’s best goalie and McGill’s MVP after going a perfect 9-0 and posting a league-best 4.83 GAA. The Redmen are the deepest team in the conference—just give them one more shot at Guelph.