Sports

These are but some of the great athletes and coaches who contributed to a great 2018–19 season for the University of Ottawa. Photo: Parker Townes.

Here are your 2018-19 Cavalry winners

Every year for our last edition, the Fulcrum gives out the Cavalry Awards to the most deserving student-athletes.

In one of the best years for Gee-Gees teams and athletes as a whole, there was a big crop to choose from, but only a select few could be chosen.

Following a round of voting, four of the top varsity athletes were called upon, and from that, two have been named “MVPs”. We also have awards for coach, rookie, and leader of the year. So without further ado, here are your 2018–19 Cavalry Award winners.

Female MVP: Emma Lefebvre, women’s soccer

In her third campaign with the red horses, Lefebvre proved herself a clutch playoff performer. In the Gees’ OUA quarterfinal game versus the U of T, Lefebvre was dominant, scoring both goals in a 2–0 win. The third-year nursing student would also put up solid efforts in the semis and finals, recording a shot in both games, albeit failing to score herself.

In an interview given to the Fulcrum in October, Lefebvre talked about how a change of mentality lead to her strong 2018 season.

“My attitude towards soccer has changed. Instead of going out on the pitch and hoping to score, I tell myself that I’m going to score regardless of who we might be playing that night,’’ Lefebvre said.

Shortly after this interview, Lefebvre would lead her team to a national championship on home turf, the second in program history and first since 1996. She scored two goals in the tournament.

Runner-up: Samantha Ali, women’s rugby.

Male MVP: Stephen Evans, track & field

The runner from Ottawa was fast in 2019. Evans, who studies political science at the U of O, won the U Sports gold medal in the 600-metre dash in Winnipeg.

Evans was also dominant in this year’s OUAs, taking home the gold in his main 600-metre event and the kilometre race.

In his fourth year with the Gee-Gees, Evans was one of the lone bright spots on a struggling men’s track and field team — being the only member to have won a medal at either the provincial or national level in the last few years.

Runner-up: Cody Drover, men’s hockey.

Coach of the Year: Steve Johnson, women’s soccer

In his 25th season with the Gee-Gees, Johnson coached his team to an outstanding 20–1–1 regular season, and eventually the ultimate prize in a U Sports gold medal.

For the first time since 1996, the U of O was able to capture the coveted national championship, defeating the Trinity Western Spartans. The final match was a bit of a nailbiter, with Miranda Smith finally scoring the game-winner off a laser in the second half.

The victory earned Johnson the male coach of the year accolade from the Ottawa Sports Awards committee.

Johnson maintains the team had such success partly because they were able to gel as a unit perhaps more than in previous seasons.

“This was a group I think really liked each other. We had year-end meetings and one of the topics that came up fairly often was just how players enjoyed the season, so regardless of the fact we won nationals or that we had so much success on the field, they felt like there was success as a team off the field,” Johnson said.

Honourable Mentions: Jen Boyd (women’s rugby), Patrick Grandmaitre (men’s hockey), Andy Sparks (women’s basketball).

Rookie of the Year: Yvan Mongo, men’s hockey

In his first season wearing the grey and garnet, Mongo put up 20 points and helped bolster a strong third line on a stacked Gee-Gees team.

The former Blainville-Boisbriand Armada player had an amazing shootout goal in the first game of the season versus Carleton, fueling his early success to become an important cornerstone of one of the best U Sports men’s hockey teams in the country.

Despite a tremendous season, the Gee-Gees suffered an early playoff exit at the hands of the Queen’s Gaels. Nevertheless, look for Mongo to continue to be an asset in the years to come.

Honourable Mentions: Guillaume Pépin and Kevin Civil, men’s basketball.

Leader of the Year: Eric Locke, men’s hockey

Nicknamed “Locker” by his teammates, the men’s hockey captain led the third-year team to the best regular season performance by any team in the OUA East division.

An All-Canadian athlete, Locke received a medal from the Governor-General for his efforts on and off the ice this past season.

The Toronto native is currently enrolled in medical school and maintains one of the highest averages in the program on top of being a great leader on the ice.

Honourable Mentions: Dana Bulloch (Volleyball), James Flemming (Men’s rugby), Sarah Besselink (Women’s basketball).