It’s report card time for the 11 Stingers teams
A lot of the positives from this season came from the individual performances of key players. Adam Vance threw for over 2,000 yards and was a Hec Crighton finalist. James Tyrrell emerged as one of the top receivers in U Sports, and has now signed a deal with the CFL’s Ottawa RedBlacks. Jeremy Murphy was named the U Sports rookie of the year. Besides that, not too much worked for the Stingers on the field. The team’s defense struggled immensely, the offense faced consistency issues, and the team dropped winnable games against McGill, and ultimately posted the same record as last season. With many of his key players graduating this year, head coach Brad Collinson will have to push for another strong recruiting class.
Men’s Hockey: C-
Where to begin with this team? The season looked really promising after the first two weeks of the season. Then everything went south at the end of the fifth game (in which they actually won 6-5 in OT over Wilfrid Laurier). In the final moments of that game, Philippe Sanche, Alexander Katerinakis and Anthony Dumont-Bouchard all went down with injuries that have kept them out of the lineup ever since. Hockey is an unforgiving game and the Stingers’ 6-7-3 record is a reflection of that. Other teams don’t care about your injuries and you just have to deal with it. One of the bright spots however is rookie forward Tyler Hylland. Hylland has had a seamless transition from junior hockey to U-Sports, putting up 18 points in 16 games. The second half will be a better one for the team as they will be much healthier after the break but they’ll certainly have their work cut out for them if they want to have home-ice advantage in the playoffs – should they qualify.
Women’s Hockey: A
I’m not sure what more you could ask for from this team. After 10 games, the team is 9-0-1 and has been the top ranked-team in U Sports for seven straight weeks. Head coach Julie Chu continues to elevate her veterans like Audrey Belzile and Claudia Dubois while recruiting rookies who have had an immediate impact like Emmy Fecteau and Léonie Philbert. This team generates an incredible amount of chances, and have managed to shut down the best teams in the RSEQ. Even their one loss was in a shootout in a game where they managed nearly 50 shots on net. Mix in superb goaltending from Alice Philbert and division-leading scorer Rosalie Bégin-Cyr and you have a team that just overwhelms opponents. The only reason I’m not giving them an A+ is because we’re only halfway through the season. The true test for this team begins in January.
Men’s Basketball: A-
There were some question marks around the Stingers after last season’s RSEQ Championship-winning season with Ricardo Monge and Garry Merrisier both leaving the team after graduating. Well, if the first six games of the season were any indication of how the Stingers are as a team, I’d say they are doing just fine with a 5-1 record. It is impossible to pinpoint one game breaker on the team but that is certainly no knock on them. In every one of their wins, it’s been a complete team win. Rookie Ali White and second year players Nathaniel Boisvert, Aleks Simeunovich and Tariq Barki Hamad have been pitching in off the bench as well. This is an incredibly deep and talented team that looks poised to repeat as RSEQ champions. It also helps when you have a very strong coaching staff that has their players buying into the team culture. U Sports needs to start giving this team, and conference, some more respect.
Women’s Basketball: C+
The case of the women’s team is an interesting one. They are coming off a very strong season that saw them make an appearance in the nationals off the backs of their big three of Coralie Dumont, Caroline Task and U Sports rookie of the year, Myriam Leclerc. This year we’re seeing just how important Dumont was for this team as they hold a 2-3 record. Perhaps the most interesting of all their games was their 70-65 loss at Laval. The Stingers held the Rouge et Or to only five points in the opening quarter and got 20 points out of Sabrina Lineus who only totalled 24 minutes of playing time. The Stingers seem to be a little bit out of sync at the moment but they are a well coached squad who will certainly put it all together for the second half of the season.
Men’s Rugby: A+
It’s pretty hard to find negatives in the season that team just offered. The Stingers successfully defended their RSEQ title, winning the championship a third straight year. They played solid rugby all season, and everyone contributed to the team’s success. The Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship (CUMRC) was played at Concordia this year, ensuring the team’s participation in the tournament regardless of their results in the RSEQ season. Yet, they proved they deserved their spot among the best of the country. They also played well at the CUMRC, winning their first game, and offering probably their best game of 2019 against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, despite the loss. The semi-final loss was a hard one to swallow, but I think the team can still be proud of their accomplishments this season.
Women’s Rugby: A
It’s always great to see both men and women perform at such a high level at the same sport. After only two wins in seven games in 2018-19, as well as not making the RSEQ playoffs, the team bounced back with a perfect 6-0 season this year. The Stingers finished first in Section B and played through the RSEQ semi-final, where they lost 50-5 against the Université Laval Rouge et Or. It’s hard to give less than an A after that season.
Men’s Wrestling: B
The men’s wrestling team has started their season well, clocking in at number 10 on the U Sports rankings three weeks running. While they’ve managed to stick around the national rankings, this is largely due to the team’s ability to grab points and not relying on individuals to carry the team. Only Aly Barghout (120 kg) and Julien Choquette (90 kg) are ranked members of the men’s wrestling team. Despite being slightly lower on the rankings than we’ve come to expect from this squad, don’t count them out yet. Wrestlers like fourth-year Francis Carter and Jordan Steen are a constant threat and are more than capable of lifting this team up the rankings.
Women’s Wrestling: B+
The woman’s wrestling team’s early success has come from its ability to get results from a number of different contributors. The team is led by fourth-year —and last year’s Stingers Female Athlete of the Year, Jade Dufour, but she’s not the only one winning matches. Kaleigh Prieur is fourth in the 48kg division, Laurence Beauregard is second in the 59kg division, plus Kaya Dube-Snow (55kg) and Amanda Savard (63kg) are first in their respective divisions. They’ve moved their way into the top three teams in U Sports, and their consistency will be key for success going forward.
Men’s Soccer: B
It was great to see the team participate in the RSEQ playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season. The Stingers faced adversity all season, and had trouble winning consecutive games. However, they still finished the season in fourth place with a 3-4-5 record, and played in the semi-final of the playoffs. I give the team a B because of their respectable season. Also, I think their playoff participation was quite huge for the men’s soccer team. The team knew it was the first time in a while, which represented a step in the right direction for the program.
Women’s Soccer: B-
It’s been a bit harder for the women’s team in soccer. Finishing the season 2-7-5, the Stingers only won against the Université de Sherbrooke Vert et Or this year. They managed to get an impressive 1-1 tie against the first-ranked UQAM Carabins, but such results weren’t enough to make the RSEQ playoffs. The team has talented players and great potential. Sometimes, it’s just about luck or little details. At some point, it should click for that team.