Every school year the Fulcrum gives out Cavalry Awards for the best that varsity athletics has to offer. You’ve cast your votes, so here are this semester’s winners.
Male MVP: Caleb Agada (men’s basketball)
Fifth-year senior Caleb Agada ended his career as a Gee-Gee in impressive fashion.
The Burlington, Ontario native was the heart and soul of the men’s basketball team, contributing equally well on both sides of the floor. The economics student played in 17 regular season games, averaging a team high of 14.9 points and an incredible 2.9 steals per contest. Agada was huge on the defensive end time and time again, earning him recognition as the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and U Sports defensive player of the year for the second year in a row.
Head coach Andy Derouin looked to Agada to make big play after big play, and he didn’t fail to produce for his coach. Agada stepped up when the Gees needed him most, scoring 24 and 22 points in both OUA final four games against Ryerson and Brock, respectively. Because of all these accomplishments, Agada was named to the OUA first all-star team for the third year in a row.
The hustle that this guard showcased this year was unrivaled, and he will go down as one of the fiercest competitors to ever step onto the court at Montpetit Hall.
Runner-up: Montana Champagne, swimming.
Female MVP: Mélodie Bouchard (women’s hockey)
Now in her second year, women’s hockey superstar Mélodie Bouchard picked up right where she left off last season.
Bouchard started this year on a tear, putting up six goals and 14 points in her first four games. She cooled off a bit at the end of the season, but that was probably at least partially due to her leaving for Kazakhstan for two weeks to play for Canada at the Winter Universiade at the end of January. Bouchard still managed 23 points in 18 games, good enough to end up third in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec conference. Bouchard made a habit of scoring when it mattered, finishing the season with five game-winning goals, to ultimately place fifth in the country.
Next season, there’s no doubt that Bouchard will still be seen as the primary offensive weapon for her team.
Runner-up: Tania Bambi, track and field.
Rookie MVP: Kevin Domingue (men’s hockey)
Kevin Domingue was the offensive catalyst for a very young U of O men’s hockey team.
The Laval, Quebec native finished the year with 31 points in 28 games, which included 16 goals, allowing him to finish fifth in the OUA. Following a good three-year junior hockey career, which included a season with the Sherbrooke Phoenix, Domingue emerged as the Gees’ best offensive weapon.
The most noticeable aspect of Domingue’s overall game is his speed, which he would use to beat defensemen by bursting down the wing. The freshman had a knack for scoring big, netting an OUA-leading five game-winning goals. One of the main keys to the Gees’ incredible winning streak after Christmas was Domingue’s ability to score 13 points in eight games in January. His offensive touch around the net, combined with his great vision, makes him totally deserving of this award.
The Gees will continue to look his way for offensive prowess moving forward.
Runner-up: Amélie Hachey, women’s basketball.
Coach of the semester: Patrick Grandmaître (men’s hockey)
Patrick Grandmaître was key to the great success the men’s hockey team experienced in their first year back from a two-year absence.
Grandmaître’s style of play generated an outstanding 35.7 shots per game, resulting in the Gees finishing the regular season with a respectable 15–8–5 record. Despite being shorthanded for a significant portion of the regular season, Grandmaître’s penalty kill constantly frustrated opposing power-plays.
The Hull, Quebec native really motivated his players to buy into his program, especially in the second half of the season where the team went on an incredible 8–1–2 run. Despite losing in the first round to Queen’s University, the Gees took the nationally ranked team to a deciding third game, where they ended up losing.
At the start of the season, the young team needed a coach to provide leadership and institute a positive locker room culture, and that’s exactly what they got from Grandmaître.
Fan favourite: men’s hockey
Amazingly, with a roster full of rookies, the U of O men’s hockey team made the playoffs in their first year back.
While this squad constantly surprised onlookers throughout the year, their status as fan favourites can be encapsulated in their Feb. 17 home playoff game against Queen’s.
Now, the Gees entered this first-round matchup as heavy underdogs, since Queen’s was ranked third in the U Sports Top 10 at the time. After losing game one in double-overtime, the action returned to the U of O for game two. Fans were treated to a back-and-forth game that went down to the wire. Mathieu Newcomb was the star for the Gees, scoring two goals including the game winner in the second overtime period. The fans in attendance were constantly on the edge of their seats as both goalies made save after save. Gees goalie Graham Hunt had one of his best games of the year on Feb. 17, saving 38 of 40 shots fired his way. The win against a top U Sports team served as a huge statement for the rebooted U of O men’s hockey program.
Despite the series not going the Gees’ way, this home playoff win was well worth the price of admission for supporters and a sign of more great things to come.