By: Mike Still
It was another successful regular season for the Tigers varsity teams, with men’s basketball and volleyball, as well as women’s volleyball and hockey all advancing to the AUS post-season – along with both soccer teams during the fall. Below is a breakdown of how each winter team fared.
Despite being guaranteed a spot in the U Sports Final 8, the men haven’t let up all season, and currently sit in first place in the AUS standings, at 15-4. If they can run the table, they will go into the conference playoffs as the top seed and will have plenty of momentum in the lead-up to hosting the national championship tournament. Their last home game is this Friday at 8pm.
It’s been the veterans who’ve led the way once more in 2016-17.
Guard Ritchie Kanza Mata sits second in the conference with 5.8 assists per game, and his 2.3 steals per game leads the AUS, while hard-nosed forward Kashrell Lawrence is in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive rebounds.
Forward Sven Stammberger has also shot the lights out of the building, with a field goal percentage of 53.5 – good for fourth in the conference thus far.
It’s been a season of growth for a young women’s basketball squad, who will finish out of post-season contention in 2016-17.
Despite the end result, the team made a number of positive steps, with valuable contributions all across the board.
Veteran guards Shalyn Field and Diedre Alexander were the catalysts on defence and offence, respectively, while first-year players Robertha Charles and Michele Tchiakoua both showed they have bright futures with the Tigers – stepping up immediately this season.
The men finished atop the conference standings at 11-6, and will now face UNB, looking to obtain a record 34th AUS banner.
Match one of the conference championship series goes on Saturday, February 25 at the Dalplex, with match two taking place on March 4 at UNB. If needed, a third matchup will take place back at the Dalplex on March 10.
Veteran outside hitters Kristen O’Brien and Matthew Donovan led the attack for the Tigers, finishing second and third in both kills, and kills per set in the conference.
Defensively, libero Adam Sandeson was stellar yet again, leading the AUS with 223 total digs, while rising stars Isaac Longard and Matthew Woods both finished in the top five in blocks per set.
The women have locked up the top seed in the AUS, possessing a dominant 19-1 record. Their first semifinal matchup will take place on March 3 at Saint Mary’s – the venue for this year’s conference championship.
It’s been a well-rounded performance all season long for the Tigers, who’ve gotten contributions from veterans Marisa Mota, Abby Czenze, Anna Dunn-Suen and Mieke DuMont, as well as rising stars Courtney Baker and Victoria Haworth – both of whom are in just their second year of eligibility.
Individually, Baker and DuMont have led the attack with 2.72 and 2.67 kills per set, respectively, while Haworth has been a force at the net, with 54 total blocks.
The men finished out of playoff contention in 2016-17, but showed plenty of grit, with seven players all finishing with at least 15 points.
Veteran defenceman Myles McGurty and sharp-shooting forward Phil Gadoury both tied for the team lead with 21 points. Goaltender Corbin Boes led the conference with a .933 save percentage, despite missing the second half of the season with an injury.
The women battled all season long, grabbing the sixth and final playoff spot in the conference played StFX in a best-of-three quarter-final series. The Tigers lost both games, ending their season. Veteran forward Lisa Maclean led the way with 22 points in 24 regular season games, while fellow forwards Tara Morning and Elizabeth MacArthur also chipped in offensively, with 12 and 10 points, respectively.