Concordia’s rugby teams aced their final exams with near flawless seasons
Whether you like it or not, everyone gets a report card at the end of the year.While some teams showed signs of brilliance, others fell behind the rest of the class. Regardless, players gave it their all this year. Here’s how Concordia’s varsity sports teams fared this past season
In the first year under new head coach Mickey Donovan, the Stingers football team surprised a lot of people. The program has seemingly begun a new era of Concordia football and after a winless season the year before, the Stingers rebounded with a 5-3 record. After the first four games of the season, the Stingers were 4-0 and nationally ranked amongst the top 10 university teams. Midway through the season, the team was bitten by the injury bug and seemed to derail their campaign. The team went 1-4 in the second half of the season and stumbled into the playoffs, where Laval defeated them in their first game. Nevertheless, Stingers football fans have to be pleased with what they saw out of Donovan’s squad and the potential that the program has.
Women’s Hockey: B+
Coming off a dismal 5-15 record last season, Concordia’s women’s hockey team was a tenacious group this past season and finished with an 8-7-5 record. Led by goaltender and eventual Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) rookie of the year Katherine Purchase, the Stingers found their identity as a defensive and tenacious squad. Although Concordia is not yet ready to contend with the big teams like Université de Montréal or McGill, they proved that they could keep up. Concordia took the Montreal Carabins to the brink of elimination in a spirited best-out-of-three playoff series.
Men’s Hockey: C
The Stingers were a young squad this season and it showed in the standings by the end of the year. The team ended with a record of 8-17-1 and sat second to last in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East division. Their inexperience was evident when they played some of the more dominant teams like McGill and Carleton. They gave up the second most goals in their division, as defensive zone responsibilities come with maturity. There was no shortage of effort from the Stingers players, but chemistry is an intangible quality that comes with time. Expect better outcomes from this feisty squad next season.
Women’s Basketball: C+
Expectations were high for the women’s basketball team heading into this season. The team had been coming off back-to-back 11-5 seasons the past two years and was looking to return to the top of the table. The team took a step back this season, ending with a 7-9 record, and was quickly bounced from the playoffs. The biggest issue for the Stingers was consistency. The team would string together a couple wins, only to lose their next three games in a row. Next year, the team will have to make up for the departure of long-time star Kaylah Barrett.
Men’s Basketball: B
Concordia’s men’s team battled hard all season long in a competitive Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) division. In a division where three out of the top four teams were separated by two points, every game was crucial. The Stingers ended the season 8-8 and was tied with Bishop’s for third in the division. The greatest downfall of the Stingers this season was their inability to win close games. Five out of their eight regular season losses came with a difference of seven points or less. If a couple more bounces had landed their way, their final standing would be very different. Looking to next year, the Stingers will have to replace the heart and soul of the program as head coach John Dore retired at the end of the season.
Women’s Rugby: A
The women’s rugby team was a force to be feared right out of the gate. The team jumped out to a 4-0 record and went on to have a 5-2 season. In the playoffs, they headed to Laval and upset the Rouge et Or in the semi finals, beating them 30-19. In the RSEQ championship game, the Stingers could not complete their improbable run as they lost to the country’s best team, the Ottawa Gee-Gees, 13-5. Led by head coach Graeme McGravie, look for the Stingers to compete for another national title next season.
Men’s Rugby: A+
You can’t criticize perfection. The Stingers rugby team captured the RSEQ championship in thrilling 28-21 overtime victory against the villainous McGill Redmen. The Stingers put together a great year with a record 5-2-1, but the playoffs were when the team played their most inspired rugby. With home field advantage throughout the playoffs, the Stingers beat the Montreal Carabins in the semi final 16-13 before hosting McGill in the final. The team came together and played for each other when the games mattered most. Head coach Clive Gibson created a championship roster that will be looking to defend their crown next season.