Concordia defends their home court in basketball double-header vs. Laval

The Stingers men’s and women’s basketball teams handled business over the weekend, and have yet to drop a game since the return to play.

Women’s Basketball: Concordia 68-65 Laval

Coming off a 66-60 victory over Laval on Thursday, the Stingers were looking to sweep the Rouge et Or in the week in their Saturday afternoon rematch. Despite a late rally by Laval in the fourth quarter, Concordia was able to secure the win, tying for the top seed in the RSEQ regular season standings in the process. Stingers head coach Tenicha Gittens described Concordia’s back-to-back wins over Laval as important character builders. 

“We’re digging deep and making the extra plays,” Gittens said. “Basketball is not a perfect game, we strive to execute perfectly on both ends of the floor but it’s extremely rare to see a team play a flawless game. The whole point is to make sure that you’re the team that does a little bit more.”

The Stingers defence held Laval to six points in the opening quarter, but went into the halftime up only two points because of poor shooting woes and Laval opting to increase the pace of the game and push the ball in transition off Concordia’s misses. 

“In the second quarter, I thought we were bailing Laval out and putting them at the free-throw line too often. So the message at the half was about making sure we stayed disciplined and limiting their transition chances,” Gittens said. 

In the second half, Myriam Leclerc put on a show on offence as the primary ball-handler without Areej Burgonio in the lineup. The third-year Stingers guard tallied 29 points, and shot a perfect 15-15 from the free-throw line in a closely contested game. Leclerc proved she can handle the pressure, collecting eight rebounds and a pair of steals and assists to cap off her dominant showing.

Last week, Gittens outlined some expectations ahead of the second half of the regular season. Concordia’s head coach was adamant in predicting that Leclerc would step up in a big way for the team as she gradually worked her way back into playing shape following an injury to her knee. 

Over the last two games, the Stingers’ third-year guard is averaging 24.5 total points on 16 shot attempts per game, quickly cementing herself as an opposing defence’s nightmare. 

“I feel like I’m at 100 per cent,” Leclerc said. “Having the trust of my coaches and teammates helped a lot during my rehab. Right now, I’m confident that I’m back.” 

Myriam Leclerc led the Concordia Stingers on offence with 29 total points against the Laval Rouge et Or, Feb. 19. Kyran Thicke / Concordia Stingers

Men’s Basketball: Concordia 75-69 Laval

In their second meeting of the week, Concordia erased a first half deficit to defeat Laval at home. The Stingers bench provided a game-altering spark in the third quarter, which carried into the fourth quarter where Concordia held Laval scoreless through five minutes. 

Though the Rouge et Or made a valiant attempt at a comeback by scoring at will in the dying minutes of the game, Stingers head coach Rastko Popovic was pleased with the resilience the Stingers showed after slow starts in both their matchups versus Laval. 

“We played a bit timid down the stretch hoping for the time to expire and we simply can’t do that,” Popovic said. “But overall our players did a great job of adjusting and following the game plan in the second half.”  

For the second game in a row, Marc-André Fortin led the way for Laval on offence, finishing the game with 23 points on 11 made field goals. Though the Rouge et Or centre caused problems for the Stingers, Concordia’s defence was able to contain Laval on the boards, and forced their opponents to commit 20 turnovers. 

On Thursday, the Stingers were led by Concordia’s veteran starters Olivier Simon (22 total points, eight rebounds) and Sami Jahan (15 total points, five assists). The script was flipped on Saturday, where the team’s production came largely from their second unit in the second half. 

Stingers rookie guard Alec Phaneuf orchestrated the team’s efficient offence and registered nine points and eight assists without committing a single turnover. Additionally, forwards Félix-Antoine Guertin and Aleksa Popadic connected on three and four three-pointers respectively that deflated Laval’s defence. 

Once Popovic found a lineup that was proving to be successful both offensively and defensively, he kept them on the floor instead of substituting the starters back in the game without a second thought. This coaching concept is only possible with a deep team, one which has a variety of weapons at its disposal. Phaneuf went scoreless in six minutes played on Thursday, but knew he needed to stay ready for when his number got called.

“Every game this year is going to be different because we have a lot of depth,” said Phaneuf. “At the end of the day, everyone knows what’s important is the win, so whoever is feeling it is going to get more time on the floor.”

This Thursday, the Stingers basketball teams will host Bishop’s at Concordia Stadium. In-person attendance is prohibited, but watch the Concordia Stingers live or on-demand here.

Photos by Kyran Thicke


RSEQ Football Mid-Season Report Card

Where do the Concordia Stingers rank at this point in the season?

With the second half of the 2021 RSEQ football season underway, the Stingers (3-2) are in third place situated behind the powerhouse first place Montreal Carabins (4-1) and the second place Laval Rouge et Or (4-2), with the Sherbrooke Vert et Or (2-4) and McGill Redbirds (1-5) in the fourth and fifth place spots respectively.

Right now, the standings are an honest indication of the overall power rankings for the league. With the Carabins, the Rouge et Or, and the Stingers holding the top three spots, it is without a doubt that these three teams will be battling it out for the top seed. While the power rankings may label these teams in first, second, and third, the statistics suggest the rankings are much closer than they appear.

The Montreal Carabins are the team to beat and top the list coming off a bye-week. The team’s only loss was against the Stingers 31-28 in a dramatic come-from-behind win. The other close game for the Carabins came against Laval, where Montreal squeaked by with a one-point victory 18-17. Otherwise, the Carabins have balled out with three double-digit wins: two against Sherbrooke and one against McGill. The Carabins also rank third in total offence and first in total defence. With impressive numbers on both sides of the ball, this multi-dimensional team has been successful for now but is being chased down by two teams who are breathing down their necks.

The Laval Rouge et Or officially find themselves in second place, but arguably one could make the case that they are still the best team in the RSEQ. Besides their narrow defeat to Montreal, Laval suffered an upset loss against Sherbrooke 23-17, giving up 20 points to the Vert et Or in the second quarter alone. Otherwise, Laval tends to dominate; they’re used to double-digit victories, with the most significant being the 55-2 smackdown they laid on McGill in week five of the season.

Laval is the contemporary juggernaut of the RSEQ: their defence is sound, ranking second in total defence, and most notably, ranking first in interceptions and passing defensive efficiency. If the Montreal Carabins are a multi-dimensional team, the Rouge et Or are no slouches either: Laval ranks second in total offence, first in rushing offence, and first in first downs with 140. It’s fair to say, Laval can find ways to win on both sides of the ball.

If there’s any team muscling their way in this playoff race, it’s the Concordia Stingers. This team seems to be improving with each week — ever-evolving and generating momentum, which has garnered them success. Despite a disappointing 36-10 loss to Laval on Sunday, Stingers starting quarterback Olivier Roy went from his first attempted pass of the season being intercepted, to breaking the single-game RSEQ passing yards record in the span of a month. The Stingers tout a stellar offence that tends to do its best work in the second half, which has granted them their dramatic come-from-behind victories.

One area Concordia needs to improve on to obtain the top seed, it would be their defence. Ranked fourth in total defence, fifth in rushing defence, and fourth in passing defence, the Stingers have given up an average of 445 yards per game. If the Stingers want to carry their momentum into the second half of the season, they’ll need to resolve their defensive issues.

This leaves the Sherbrooke Vert et Or and the McGill Redbirds in the fourth and fifth place slots, respectively. Sherbrooke has doled out a few upsets in an otherwise less-than-stellar first half of the season. With a win against Laval, and having gone toe-to-toe in a shootout with Concordia in week four, Sherbrooke can play heartbreaker for whichever playoff contender is yearning for that top seed.

As for the McGill Redbirds, the team’s losing record doesn’t reflect how solid their defensive core truly is. The Redbirds rank high in many defensive categories, including second in pass defence and first in sacks with 17. If it weren’t for their shaky offence, which could only register 22 points in their last three games — including a 21-13 loss to Sherbrooke on Saturday — the Redbirds would be sitting in a better position standings-wise.

After a lengthy hiatus between seasons due to the pandemic, it has been quite an eventful season, and fans can expect many more thrilling games to come.


Photograph by Catherine Reynolds


Concordia 7 Laval 33: Stingers offence struggles against the Rouge et Or

Concordia make costly mistakes in their season opener loss to Laval

The Concordia Stingers drop their season opener to the Laval Rouge et Or, 672 days after the two teams last met in the semifinals of the RSEQ playoffs in 2019. 

Concordia started the game with possession but turned the ball over on their first play of the game. Olivier Roy, the Stingers’ quarterback, threw on first down into heavy coverage. The play-action was read beautifully by the Rouge et Or, who intercepted the pass and found themselves with great field position less than a minute into the match.

After the game, Roy admitted he was disappointed about the interception considering it was his first play as Concordia’s starting quarterback, but didn’t let it affect his focus and future approach to the game.

“We always say it’s important to have short term memory,” Roy said. “Whether it’s a good play or a bad play, as a team we just have to move on to the next.” 

Laval was able to seize control early with their defence, and never took their foot off the gas. The Rouge et Or established their passing game early and often, which opened up their running options as the match progressed. The game was blown wide open in the second quarter, and went into halftime with Laval leading 17-2. 

Laval’s potent offence was led by their second-year quarterback Thomas Bolduc, who finished the game with 267 yards and threw two touchdowns passes. Meanwhile, Roy threw for 216 yards with 19 completions but tallied a pair of costly interceptions. He said the loss on Saturday boiled down to a lack of execution. 

“We haven’t played in about two years but we had a good training camp,” Roy said. “There are no excuses, we just need to be better and learn from this loss.” 

Bolduc threw questionable balls into coverage a couple of times throughout the day, but Concordia failed to pull in some easy interceptions that could have turned the tides in their favour. 

A 72-yard touchdown run by Laval’s Philippe Lessard-Vézina with less than a minute to go in the game padded the Rouge et Or’s rushing totals to 186 yards, as opposed to the Stingers’ 78 yards on the ground.

Roy said the atmosphere at the game felt normal despite the newly imposed rules and regulations.

“I know the crowd was less than usual but I honestly didn’t notice,” Roy said. “I think the fans were excited for the game so the energy was great and the crowd was loud.” 

The Stingers’ next matchup will be against the Montreal Carabins at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10. 


Photograph by Catherine Reynolds


Only the men’s basketball team able to get win against Laval

Women lose back-to-back games against #1 seed Rouge et Or

The Concordia Stingers basketball teams split a doubleheader against the Laval Rouge et Or at home on Jan. 26. The men’s team won 90-76 while the women’s team lost 81-63.

Men’s game

The men’s team entered the game with high motivation after suffering a tough loss earlier in the week against Laval. The Stingers led by 14 points in the third quarter, but the Rouge et Or came back to win.

The Stingers looked to continue their winning streak at home and extend their conference-leading 8-2 record. Laval and Concordia began the game with a back-and-forth struggle, as both teams traded baskets throughout the first half.

Despite scoring 23 points in each the first and second quarter, Stingers head coach Rastko Popovic said his team could have played much better. “I thought we didn’t play well at all in the first half,” Popovic said.

These high expectations for his team is one of the many factors that has led to the winning record for the Stingers this season. The Stingers methodically followed their game plan in the second half. The ball movement from the starters to the reserves is what allowed the Stingers to slowly wear down their opponent as they forced 14 turnovers, which led to 16 points scored all game.

In contrast, Concordia only had seven giveaways the entire game. By the end of the third quarter, the Stingers held their largest lead of the game with seven points and in the fourth, their consistency on both ends was too much for Laval.

One of the game’s brightest stars was forward Aleks Simeunovic. After suffering a knee injury a year ago, he returned with the team this season and made an instant contribution. His two three-pointers came in the second half, one of which was at the end of the third quarter, giving the Stingers a huge momentum boost.

Simeunovic attributes his performance to the trust his team had in him during his recovery and return to the court. “[It] feels really good to be back out there again and playing,” he said. “My teammates have my back and the biggest thing is that they believe in me. They trusted me, so when I get on the court, it’s just easy to do my thing.”

The camaraderie on this team has been apparent from the beginning of the season. Both the coaches and players understand the importance of that bond as the playoffs approach.

“We keep stressing with our guys everyday in practice that we don’t care who shoots–we want good shots and it showed tonight,” Popovic said. With five games remaining in the regular season, the Stingers look forward to continuing their success.

Women’s game

The Rouge et Or remained undefeated all season, entering the game with an 8-0 record, while the Stingers’s was 7-3. With McGill in hot pursuit of the second seed in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) behind Concordia, this game held extreme significance for the Stingers.

The game began with the Rouge et Or establishing their dominance in the paint. They took advantage of their taller centres and forwards to force switches with screens and dominate in front of the basket.

The Stingers struggled in the first quarter with turnovers and rebounds, allowing Laval to jump to an early 24-11 lead. The Stingers came back strong in the second, rallying behind Myriam Leclerc who scored a game-high 17 first-half points.

Midway through the second quarter, the Stingers had put together a 10-4 run by using their quickness to get steals. Stingers guard Elise Roy fought hard at both ends, supplying the kind of energy the Stingers needed to claw their way back into the game.

With the lead cut to seven in the second quarter, Laval responded with a 14-7 run of their own, ending the half with a 48-24 lead. The second half began the way the game started, with Laval using their good ball movement, keeping the Stingers guessing. Their good strategies began to open up easy opportunities from the outside, as Laval made all four of the three-point shots they took in the second half.

By the end of the third, Laval held a 19-point lead. The fourth quarter saw what the Stingers could bring as they opened with a quick 8-0 run, cutting the lead to 11 points. The Stingers forced 17 turnovers in the game and continued to play tough defence down the stretch. Although Concordia scored most of their points in the fourth quarter, Laval was able to match their opponents with 20 points in the quarter.

Despite the tough loss, the Stingers remain in second place in the conference.

Both the men and women play a home-and-home series against the Université de Québec à Montréal Citadins next weekend.

Main photo by Clare Redman.


Stingers split doubleheader against Rouge et Or in basketball season-opener

Cedrick Coriolan takes control in overtime to give win for men

Men’s game

After an injury-riddled preseason, the Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team was ready to begin their new season. They played against the Université de Laval Rouge et Or Thursday night at the Concordia Gym, and came out with a 75-67 win in overtime.

“I think this will give us great tape to show our guys how to play against pressure, because we have to play these guys three more times and they’re not going to change their defence,” said Stingers head coach Rastko Popovic.

The Stingers jumped on the Rouge et Or, being the sharper team both offensively and defensively early on. The Stingers’s crisp ball movement and aggressive defence caused serious problems for the Rouge et Or, as they struggled to get anything going towards the basket. Concordia dominated rebounding and cruised to a 23-9 first-quarter lead.

Both teams found their offensive rhythm in the second quarter, trading runs throughout. Stingers centre Olivier Simon continued to bully his opponents inside the paint, grabbing several offensive rebounds and leading second-chance opportunities for his teammates.

The Stingers came out with the intent to bury the Rouge et Or in the second quarter as they built a 20-point lead midway through the quarter. However, a few turnovers and timely three-point shots allowed Laval to close the gap to 12 at halftime. By the end of the third quarter, the Stingers held a 52-37 lead.

The Rouge et Or exploded in the fourth, saving their full court press and zone defence for the crunch time, and it threw the Stingers off guard. Less than two minutes into the fourth, Concordia’s lead was down 10 and shrinking.

The momentum was clearly shifting: Laval became lethal from the three-point line and their defence forced turnovers. Nicolas Bégin and Vladimir Thomas carried the Rouge et Or, managing to take their first lead with just under three minutes to go in the third quarter.

Both teams exchanged clutch baskets until Stingers guard Garry Merisier had an opportunity to give his team a one-point lead at the free throw line with 29 seconds left to the game. He missed and Laval came down court but missed its two potential game-winning shots, sending the game to overtime, tied at 62.

In overtime, the Stingers took control, outscoring Laval 13-5, highlighted by a three-point dagger by Cedrick Coriolan. Coach Rastko Popovic was happy, not only with the win, but the experience his team gained.

“We’ve been practicing together since maybe March, so just the fact of us always being together, the chemistry of the teammates and the coaches are better,” Coriolan said. “We’re one unit instead of just the coaching staff and the players, so when things go wrong, we always make sure that we’re all in this together.”

Cedrick Coriolan (#8) took control in overtime to give the Stingers the win. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.
Women’s Game

After a long offseason, the Stingers were looking to surprise the number-one ranked team in the country, the Rouge et Or. Despite a 20-point lead at halftime, the Stingers didn’t have enough to beat them, losing 66-61.

“The energy was there, the intensity was there defensively, the aggressiveness was there offensively in the first half,” said head coach Tenicha Gittens. “It’s a tough loss. You see that you’re up twenty and you almost expect to win the game.”

The Stingers’s swarming defence was the story of the first half. They forced turnovers, leading to easy transition baskets. Concordia’s starting center Ladonna Lamonth dominated rebounds, setting the tone early as she finished the game with 13 rebounds, six of them offensively.

Guards Areej Burgonio (#15) and Caroline Task (#7) controlled much of the play for the Stingers. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

The Stingers not only smothered the Rouge et Or, but did so without fouling, leaving their opponents with no free throw attempts in the first half, compared to 16 attempts for Concordia.

With key contributions on the offensive end from guards Caroline Task, Areej Burgonio, and Myriam Leclerc, all scoring more than ten points in the game, the Stingers had a 45-25 lead at halftime.

The first-half beat-down no doubt woke the Rouge et Or up, as they came out determined in the third quarter to close the gap. Sarah-Jane Marois, who scored nine points in the first half, led the charge for Laval as she dominated the second half. Their defence started forcing Concordia to commit untimely turnovers. Towards the end of the quarter, with Concordia up 15 points, the momentum seemed to shift. Marois came up with back-to-back steals leading to a lay-up and a three pointer towards the end of the third quarter, cutting Concordia’s lead to 11.

The Rouge et Or had all the momentum in the fourth quarter as Concordia did their best to hang on to their lead. But Marois’s 16 second-half points led to the Stingers’s eventual demise. It didn’t help that they only scored six points in the fourth quarter.

Gittens made sure to reassure her players that the game was lost on mistakes but not a lack of heart. “I definitely told them to keep their head high because we played hard. It wasn’t a lack of effort, it was just making mistakes,” she said. “I think we still had many opportunities offensively, but sometimes you just can’t control that, so defensively is where you need to take control.”

Both teams play away against the Université de Québec à Montréal Citadins on Nov. 15.

Main photo by Candice Pye.


Resilient Stingers fall to Rouge et Or

Tess Armstrong scored her first try of the season

The Concordia Stingers women’s rugby team lost 41-19 to the Université de Laval Rouge et Or on Sunday afternoon. The Stingers’s record has fallen to 2-2 on the season.

After the opening 20 minutes of the game, the Stingers were down 24-0. They gave up one more try before first-year back Jasmine Baxter scored a try in the last minute of the half, cutting the lead to 29-5.

“I was just looking behind me when I intercepted it and saw I had two people on me, so I knew I had to touch it down,” said Baxter on describing what went through her mind on her way to score. This was her sixth try of the season.

The Rouge et Or scored two other tries early in the second half. The Stingers’s defence tightened up, allowing Concordia to score two tries of their own. Second-year forward Tess Armstrong scored her first try of the season in the game.

The Stingers outscored the Rouge et Or 14-12 in the second half. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

“It feels great to have scored that try,” said Armstrong. “We played a great game at the end which helped me get the try. I’m proud of the girls for not giving up, especially in a rebuild season.”

Head coach Jocelyn Barrieau said she wants her players to be positive so “nobody falls alone,” and that this game was an example of their character.

“After being down by that much so quickly in the game, it was a shock to the girls,” said Barrieau. “[Baxter]’s try definitely gave us some momentum. It was an individual score, but it was team’s defence that caused it, making for team effort.”

Rouge et Or head coach Kévin Rouet said he wished his team finished the game stronger. “We got too loose and allowed the other team to get back into the game,” Rouet said. “We will take the win, but we will need to work on finishing.”

The Stingers’s next game is on Oct. 5 away against the Université de Montréal Carabins.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad. 


Stingers lose by big margin again in Shrine Bowl

Conference’s best team beats Concordia 53-2 in Shrine Bowl

The Concordia Stingers football team played the Université Laval Rouge et Or on Sept. 29 in the 32nd annual Shrine Bowl. The Rouge et Or remained undefeated this season with a 53-2 win.

The Stingers kept the game respectable after the first quarter down 9-0, but heading into halftime, they were down 19-2. In the first half, the Stingers defence played fairly well, giving up less than 20 points to the best team in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ). They forced the Rouge et Or to a couple of two-and-outs and were playing with some intensity.

The Stingers offence, however, could not seem to sustain a good drive and could not stay on the field. Laval’s defensive line was able to keep the Stingers running game in check, allowing them a total of 82 net yards for the game.

“We had a good first quarter. The second quarter was good too,” said Stingers running back David Germain. “We were confident coming back out from halftime. Some guys had trouble getting momentum back in the second half.”

Laval’s offence put up 438 total yards against the Stingers. Photo by Gabe Chevalier.

The third quarter was when the Rouge et Or blew the game wide open. Their offence seemed to hit their stride, and wide receiver Jonathan Breton-Robert caught four passes on one drive that led to a touchdown. He finished the game with seven catches for 98 yards. Laval ended up outscoring Concordia 30-0 in the third quarter alone. The Stingers persistently ran the football even though it was not working.

The Rouge et Or defence does deserve some credit. They played a very disciplined game and did not give up any big plays. Laval’s Souleymane Karamoko played a solid game in his cornerback position. He seemed to always be at the right place at the right time. He ended the game with three passes defended, and stopped the Stingers receivers almost the entire game. Derek Trinh finished with a team-high 21 yards receiving for the Stingers.

Laval’s offence had a very good game, too. Their quarterback, Hugo Richard, had a productive game, completing 19 out of 29 pass attempts for 213 yards and two touchdowns. The Rouge et Or offence picked up 438 yards throughout the game, compared to the Stingers’s 118.

Even though the score was lopsided, the Stingers showed some promise. Trinh and Quaysie Gordon-Maule showed signs of elusiveness as returners on special teams. There were times when they came close to breaking off on a big run and returning it to the house. Both of these players are extremely dangerous in open space. The Stingers running back Micah Sullivan had a solid game; he racked up 92 yards on 17 carries for an average of 5.4 yards per carry.

“We have to get going on both sides of the ball and, even on special teams, we have to keep it going for 60 minutes,” Germain added. “If we play 60 minutes, we can play with anyone in the league.”

Concordia looks to bounce back in two weeks and get their revenge as they play the Université de Montréal Carabins on Oct. 13.

Main photo by Gave Chevalier. 


Stingers lose both times in rainy doubleheader

Men’s Game

The Concordia Stingers men’s soccer team were defeated 2-1 by the Université de Laval Rouge et Or at the Concordia Stadium Friday night. A second half dominated by the Rouge et Or cost the Stingers the game.

”We have to show up for more than just one half,” said Stingers head coach Greg Sutton after the game. “We can’t sit back and just watch like we did tonight in the second half.”

Yousef Benali’s goal at the 35-minute mark gave the Stingers a brief lead. The Rouge et Or answered with two goals by Bila Dicko-Raymond and Gino Temguia in the first 16 minutes of the second half and took the game away from the Stingers.

Benali’s goal was probably the only thing to remember from this game, according to Sutton.

“That goal gave us the lead, but we gave up two goals after,” said Sutton. “We were playing a good team tonight, so for sure they will make us pay if we play like we did in the second half.”

The men’s game was also marked by heavy rain. Players had to adjust their game style since there were moments where they could barely see the other end of the field.

“The conditions are the same for both teams,” adds Sutton. “You still need to play your game, no matter the conditions, if you want to win games.”

The Stingers will play the McGill Redmen at home this Sunday.

Concordia’s Zyon Ayodele battles a Rouge et Or player. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

Women’s Game

The Université de Laval Rouge et Or women’s soccer team showed why they are one of the best teams in the country Friday night. The number-four ranked team in U Sports beat the Concordia Stingers 6-2.

“They are a hard team to play against and you have to give them credit for that,” said head coach Sutton about the Rouge et Or. “We’re a team that works hard and that’s a good base to start with, but it’s also about being better in the right moments defensively.”

The Stingers also scored first against the Rouge et Or. However, the Rouge et Or responded with five unanswered goals and took control of the game. Concordia’s Sarah Humes and Laval’s Laurie Couture-Dallaire exchanged late goals in the second half for the 6-2 win.

Most of the goals scored by the Rouge et Or happened on breakaways or when a player was left alone in the box. Laval had numerous scoring opportunities and they capitalized on most of them.

“We have to make sure that we don’t give them the time and space to play the ball through our defense,” said Sutton. “That’s part of trying to get closer to the ball and we’ll have to make some adjustments going into Sunday.”

The Stingers women’s soccer team will also play Sunday against the McGill Martlets.

Main photo by Hannah Ewen. 


Stingers set to tip off RSEQ playoffs

Head coach Rastko Popovic says team needs to forget about past semi-final losses

Any university basketball fan knows the end of February means the start of playoffs. After a long regular season, the best teams battle across the country to determine who will win their conference championship. For an eighth-straight season, the Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team will compete in the playoffs.

“It’s going to be fun, and we are excited to get to this time of the year,” said head coach Rastko Popovic. “We are looking forward to the challenge.”

The Stingers will host the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) semi-final against the Université Laval Rouge et Or on Feb. 28. The Stingers went 2-2 against the Rouge et Or this season. They lost the first game, 83-66, on Nov. 12 in Quebec City, then lost the second game at home on Jan. 25, before winning the third game two days later on the road, 84-61. On Feb. 24, the Stingers beat the Rouge et Or, 71-59, in their final regular-season game before the playoffs.

“We kind of adjusted what we wanted to do defensively [after] the first game,” Popovic said. “We have to force them to do things they don’t like. They’re not a great shooting team, and we’ve done a good job this year at mixing up some defences versus them.”

The Rouge et Or have three of the top scorers in the RSEQ with Frantson Démosthène, Joël Muamba and Alexandre Leclerc. Popovic said Démosthène scores a lot in the paint, Muamba’s speciality is mid-range shots, while Leclerc could score from three-point range.

The Stingers will eventually have to beat McGill if they want to win the championship. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

“You’re not going to fully stop them because they could put the ball in the basket,” Popovic said. “For us, it’s important to make sure we don’t give Leclerc any open threes, or don’t give Démosthène any offensive rebounds and second-chance points.” The head coach added that limiting those players’ scoring chances is easier said than done.

As for the Stingers, they will need to rely on their veterans to provide offensive scoring. Fifth-year forward Ken Beaulieu, third-year centre Schneiders Suffrard and fourth-year guard Ricardo Monge led the Stingers in scoring this season.

Popovic said Monge, the team’s captain, has consistently worked hard for most of the year. “He does [well] on both ends of the floor every night,” Popovic said. “He often has to guard the best [player] on the other team.”

Popovic added that Beaulieu had a strong second half of the season, improving his rebounding. “We’re going to need Ken to do all the little things to help us win.”

Beaulieu, Monge and Suffrard are the only players on the team who experienced the Stingers’s two semi-final losses in the past two seasons.

In the 2015-16 season, Popovic’s first as head coach, the Stingers had a 10-6 record but lost to the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Citadins, who had a 7-9 record, in the first round. Last season, the Stingers once again had a better record than the Citadins but lost in the do-or-die game.

“Hopefully they’ve learned from those situations,” Popovic said about his team. “Sometimes, you have to go through those situations to learn what’s necessary to win.”

However, Popovic said he will need his players to focus on playing the game against the Rouge et Or, and forget about the past.

“The team that makes the least mistakes is going to win the game,” Popovic said. “We have to follow our game plan and really understand what’s necessary to beat Laval.”

Main photo by Alex Hutchins.


No suspension for Laval player for hit on Trenton Miller

RSEQ suspends Laval Rouge et Or’s Kevin McGee for “unnecessary roughness” on James Tyrrell

The Concordia Stingers football team lost to the Sherbrooke Vert et Or, with a score of 30-13, on Sept. 30 in the 31st annual Shrine Bowl. The Stingers, who now have a 2-3 record, had to play without quarterback Trenton Miller.

Miller was injured in a game against the Laval Rouge et Or on Sept. 24, which the Stingers lost 12-8. During that game, Miller was pressured out of the pocket and rushed the ball upfield. As he was carrying the ball, Laval’s Gabriel Ouellet, who came from Miller’s blind side, levelled Miller with a hard hit. The video replay shows Miller’s head snaps back, making it look like there was a hit to the head.

In any other league, such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States, any hit to the head, or at least a hit that causes the head to snap back like that, is an automatic penalty. But in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ), the official will penalize a hit to the head only if there is clear intent to injure.

Later in the game, Stingers receiver James Tyrrell was forced to leave the game after taking a vicious hit from Kevin McGee. Tyrrell was in a vulnerable position during the hit, with his two hands on the ball and his feet unstable, when McGee jumped to hit him. Tyrrell also missed the next game against the Vert et Or.

Miller made headlines after posting a video to Facebook on Sept. 26, before the RSEQ’s decision not to suspend Ouellet. He pleaded that the RSEQ review the hit he received, as well as the one Tyrrell was involved in. The video has been viewed over 66,000 times.

“What really pains me is that my parents shouldn’t have to watch my game and worry about me dying on the football field as a result of these head-to-head collisions,” Miller said in the video.

On Sept. 29, the RSEQ issued a response, stating they reviewed both hits. They suspended McGee, who hit Tyrrell, for one game for unnecessary roughness. The hit on Miller, however, was deemed by the league to have not made contact with Miller’s head and, therefore, no action would be taken against Ouellet.

The league stated that, when Miller rushed the ball, he was no longer in a “vulnerable position” and there was “no intent to injure.”

“The judgment is supported by the league’s desire to ensure a safe environment for student-athletes,” said Gustave Roel, the director general of the RSEQ, in the league’s statement. “I commend the work [of everybody involved in] this issue, and I want to ensure that the safety and integrity of all student athletes is a priority.”

University of Manitoba quarterback Des Catellier saw Miller’s post on Facebook, and said he does not agree with the RSEQ.

“I would maybe agree that he wasn’t in a vulnerable position [as the ball carrier], but the defender led with his head, which, to me, would be intent to injure,” Catellier said in an interview with The Concordian.

Miller, who spoke about the incident to the media after the league’s decision on Sept. 29, appreciated the league’s efforts in reviewing the dangerous hits.

“They made their decision based on the footage they had,” he said. “The fact they’re even reviewing that and taking steps towards player safety is awesome.”

Trenton Miller scores a touchdown against the McGill Redmen during the 2015 season. Archive photo by Brianna Thicke.

Stingers head coach Mickey Donovan, who called an emergency meeting with RSEQ officials on Sept. 25 to review rules regarding player safety, said he believed this week’s conversation on hits to the head could lead to some changes to the current rules.

“I think the rules are probably going to get changed, just not this season,” Donovan said. “I’m sure stuff will come out eventually, hopefully for next year.”

As for when Miller will return to play, he’s not in a rush.

“I take it day-by-day, and our trainers and doctors are handling me in a very good manner, and they’re not going to rush me back.”

The Stingers will take on the number-one ranked Université de Montréal Carabins on the road on Oct. 5.

With files from Matthew Ohayon. Main photo by Matthew Ohayon


Stingers drop two games to the Rouge et Or

Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams were unable to beat the powerful teams from Laval

The Concordia Stingers soccer teams dropped a pair of games against the Laval Rouge et Or on Sept. 30 at Concordia Stadium. The men lost 2-1 and the women lost 4-0.

Men’s Soccer

The loss was heartbreaking for the men’s team — the game was destined for a draw until Laval stole the win in the 89th minute.

“There wasn’t any flow to the game, so it was difficult. A draw probably would have been fair,” said Stingers head coach Greg Sutton.

Eleven minutes in, Laval forward Marc-Olivier Kouo Dibongue redirected a cross just past the fingertips of Stingers keeper Michael Pelcar.

Pelcar played in place of an injured Karl Gouabé. Gouabé got injured last game, and Pelcar found out about his start only 90 minutes before game time.

“I had to be mentally focused all week in practice, and just come in and do my job,” said Pelcar, a fourth-year veteran.

The Stingers responded well to the early goal. In the 25th minute, the Stingers had a free kick 25 yards out. Two Stingers ran over the ball, faking a shot, before left back Amadou Lam blasted the shot past the Laval keeper to tie the game.

Concordia created most of the chances for the rest half, a positive for Sutton.

“The last 30 minutes of the [first] half, we probably dominated the play,” Sutton said. “I was happy to see that.”

Most of the second half passed without much action. Pelcar made a handful of key stops, but the Stingers created minimal offensive chances.

The Rouge et Or stripped away the draw when Laval striker Nicolas Hernandez volleyed the ball over Pelcar. There wasn’t much Pelcar could do about it.

“It sucks to lose in the last two minutes,” Pelcar said.

Sutton saw the late-game goal as an avoidable lapse of focus.

“Mentally it comes down to just being switched on in those moments, especially late in the game,” Sutton said.

Women’s Soccer

The women’s team held their own against the number one team in the country, but Laval’s offense was firing on all cylinders and simply outclassed them.

Stingers head coach Jorge Sanchez called Laval a “quality team.”

The Stingers played well in the first half, limiting Laval’s chances. Stingers centre backs Bella Corbeil and Alyssa Ruscio were constantly frustrating the Rouge et Or attack, and goalkeeper Carmen Milne stood tall in the net.

The women’s team was blown out by the number one ranked Rouge et Or, 4-0.

About 15 minutes in, Milne was forced to make two quick stops before a defender cleared a third shot off the line. She added many key saves throughout the game.

“Our goalie, as a rookie, is fantastic. She just got herself big and came out strong,” Sanchez said. Milne faced 19 shots, nine of which were on target.

Laval opened the scoring when forward Joelle Gosselin jumped higher than everybody to head a free kick into the net. With only two players of the starting 11 over 5 feet 6 inches tall, the Stingers certainly had a height disadvantage on the goal.

The Stingers conceded three goals in first 11 minutes of the second half, and Laval had a stranglehold. The head coach attributed the defensive collapse to a lack of concentration.

“I think we just fell asleep for ten minutes in the second half,” Sanchez said. “That hurt us.”

11th Annual Erica Cadieux Memorial Game

The women’s team played their game in memory of Erica Cadieux, a former Stinger who played on the women’s soccer team from 1992 to 1994. The Stingers have held this game every year since her tragic death in 2006.

Prior to the game, the Stingers presented Cadieux’s two daughters and her widower with gifts to be donated to the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

Sanchez has cached all 11 games, and appreciated how the tradition continues with his team.

“It’s good to see they all contributed money to the gifts, and all participated,” Sanchez said. “They recognized there’s something bigger than soccer.”

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