Men’s Varsity Lacrosse:
The Men’s varsity lacrosse team had a bittersweet season that ended just shy of a championship. This season also served as a farewell to the team’s head coach of 17 seasons, Tim Murdoch.
The team started the year strong with a commanding 13–9 victory over Nipissing University in their regular season opener. In their next game, the first of the season on home turf, McGill kept the momentum going, with an 8–7 double-overtime victory over Trent University in front of an excited home crowd.
The team stayed red hot throughout the rest of the season, going 10–0 in conference play. Their only loss came in a midseason exhibition game to the University of Vermont, when they were beaten 22–2. Nevertheless, the team bounced back strong to finish the regular season with a commanding 20–4 victory over Carleton University and another close 5–3 win at Trent University.
The Men’s Varsity team advanced to the Baggataway Cup Championship Tournament, which was hosted on home soil. In the semi-final round, they faced Western University in front of a record-breaking crowd at Percival Molson Stadium. The team was up 4–1 at halftime and looked well on their way to a championship final appearance. A late-game push by Western was too much to handle, however, and McGill fell 6–5 to the eventual tournament champions.
Although it was a tough finish to the season, the McGill Men’s Varsity lacrosse team has plenty to be proud of and even more to celebrate. Head Coach Tim Murdoch stepped down from his position after a sensational 17-year career in which he guided the team to a record of 190–88–2. Next season will be one of change, but the Men’s Varsity team is well-positioned to return hungrier than ever in pursuit of a championship.
Men’s and Women’s Cross Country:
Both the women’s and men’s cross country teams ran their last races in early November, bringing their 2019 seasons to a close. The Martlets came into the season with some of the best runners in the RSEQ and high expectations, which they certainly lived up to. Led by fourth-year Elizabeth Hirsch, the Martlets won an incredible four of their six meets, often by considerable margins. They opened their campaign with a resounding victory at the McGill Open on Sept. 15, in which five of their runners finished in the top 10; Hirsch placed first and fourth-year Chloe Fleurent Gregoire followed in second place. The Martlets kept the momentum rolling all season and secured an impressive win at the RSEQ Championships. Four of McGill’s five runners finished in the top 10 out of 143 runners, with Hirsch finishing second and third-year Sandrine Veillette placing fourth, to help the Martlets edge out Université de Montréal by three points. The Martlets finished their season with a decent showing at the National Championships in Kingston, placing eighth out of 19 teams. They will no doubt look to build upon this season’s success and place even higher at the National Championships next year.
The McGill men’s team did not have the same success as the Martlets, but their potential is undeniable: Five of their 12 runners this season were first-years including top runner Henry Wellenstein. The team struggled early on, finishing in the bottom half of their first two races. However, they improved noticeably as the season progressed, taking second at the Capital Cross Country Challenge in Ottawa and fifth at the RSEQ Championships, with Wellenstein finishing 15th overall. While the effort was not quite enough to qualify for the National Championships, McGill has high hopes that their young core can help them compete for a national championship in the near future.
Men’s and Women’s Rugby:
The men’s season kicked off with an emphatic 47–15 win against the Harvard Crimson in the Covo Cup, an encouraging sign for the season to come.
Unfortunately, McGill lost their regular season opener to their rival, the Concordia Stingers. This didn’t discourage the team, however, as McGill went the rest of the season undefeated, finishing with a record of 5–1, which was enough to place second in the RSEQ standings, just behind the Stingers. This momentum carried into the playoffs, where McGill secured an impressive 37–22 victory over the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees. Unfortunately, the men’s six-game winning streak came to an end against the Concordia Stingers in the RSEQ Championship final.
McGill faired decently at the Canadian Men’s Rugby National Championships, losing in the quarterfinals against the eventual tournament winner Queen’s University and placing sixth in the consolation tournament.
Much of McGill’s success this season can be attributed to fourth-year second row Michael Nawafubo and second-year fullback Benjamin Russel. Both merited all-team status at the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship.
Even though women’s rugby had a less successful year with an overall record of 1–6, their season wasn’t lacking in small victories.
The Martlets’ season opener against Bishop’s University was an electrifying late-game comeback that ended with McGill on top, 25–22. McGill had fourth-year fullback Dana Silerova to thank for this win: She tallied an impressive 15 points to lead the Martlets to their first victory in nearly two years. For this performance, she was recognized as the RSEQ athlete of the week. Silerova continued to lead the team throughout the season, nearly securing another win against the Bishop’s Gaiters on Sept. 15.
With Silerova staying on the team next year and new additions to the roster, the Martlets will look to build on their early successes next season.
Men’s and Women’s Soccer:
Having lost a number of veterans the season prior, Martlet Soccer was in the process of rebuilding with nine new players introduced to the roster this season. Despite these changes, the team managed to clinch a playoff berth and finish 14 points ahead of fifth place Laval after going an impressive 14–9–1 on the season. The strong run came to an end after a closely contested semifinal game against the Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Citadins, but the team still has plenty to be proud of: A 3–0 away trouncing of fierce rival Concordia University, as well as victories against the nationally-ranked Université de Montréal (UdeM) Carabins and Laval Rouge et Or, show that the Martlets are headed in the right direction.
The Fall 2019 season was less successful for the McGill Men’s Varsity team, finishing the season three points short of a playoff spot. The team failed to pick up any points in their last four games, meaning that McGill missed out on the postseason for the first time since 2016 with a 12–3–2 record. Head Coach Marc Mounicot will lose three players this season including fourth-year forward Mehdi Ibn-Brahim, who finished the season as RSEQ’s top scorer. However, the team has gained valuable experience, and there is plenty of room for players to improve. Third-year forward Dalin Saheb is one prospect to watch out for: He finished the season with five goals, only three behind Ibn-Brahim.
McGill football’s 2019 season had mixed results. For the second year in a row, they finished third in the RSEQ, with an improved record of 3–5. The offence struggled at times, ranking last in the conference in rushing yards, total yards, and possession time per game. If not for the first week of the season’s 40–14 clobbering of Concordia, they would have ranked last in points scored, with an average of 11.5 points per game in their final eight matches. However, the defence anchored by fourth-year defensive tackle Andrew Seinet-Spaulding, arguably the best player in the country, was outstanding. Aside from Université Laval and the Université de Montréal, McGill limited most opponents to fewer than 17 points per game while creating the most turnovers in the league. A first-round exit in the playoffs was disappointing, but the future looks bright, as McGill look like the most likely candidate to challenge Laval and Montréal next season.