Defenseman Michael Poirier finished second on the Gees in defensive scoring. Photo: Marta Kierkus.
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Da Luz, Poirier share some of the joys and challenges of being a Gee-Gee

The freshmen year of university can be daunting enough without the added stress of playing varsity sports for the first time in your life. The Fulcrum sat down with a couple of freshmen to ask them about their first year representing the University of Ottawa in athletic competition.

For these Gee-Gees, the transition from high school to university sports was not an easy one, but they were eager to prove themselves and make their mark.

Lauren Da Luz: women’s soccer

The Gee-Gees women’s soccer team had, to put it lightly, a very up and down year. After going 9–0 to start the season off, the team struggled down the stretch, going winless in their last seven regular season games. They were eventually ousted in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarter-finals by Queen’s University.

Lauren Da Luz, hailing from Coquitlam, B.C., saw action in 11 of the U of O’s 16 regular season games, and even managed to start in six of them.

In an interview with the Fulcrum, the engineering major talked about her transition from high school to university sports.

“The biggest difference is the tempo,” said Da Luz. “In terms of the tactical side, everyone has good feet, they’re able to beat players, passes are amazing, shots are amazing.”

With her first year under her belt, Da Luz also addressed her personal goals moving forward.

“My expectations for me (is) to become stronger physically, and mentally,” she said “My biggest thing for me is that I want to beat players one on one.”

While the team saw an outstanding first half of the season crumble before them once playoffs rolled around, Da Luz is confident in her team’s abilities going forward.

“Going into second year, I think we have a really good chance again to have a really good team,” said Da Luz. “The future looks bright. I can’t imagine us not doing well.”

Michael Poirier: men’s hockey

The U of O men’s hockey team had an incredible first season coming back from a two-year absence, finishing the year with a record of 15–8–5 before losing in a deciding playoff game to Queen’s.

Because of the two-year hiatus, head coach Patrick Grandmaître had to lean on a lot of first-year players to get some momentum going for his team.

Michael Poirier, a first-year economics student, played a pivotal role on the blue line for the revamped Gee-Gees hockey program, netting five goals and seven assists to become the team’s second highest scoring defenseman.

The former Dieppe Commando talked about the transition from Junior A hockey to the quality of play found in a league like the OUA.

“The change in speed is definitely big. Players are stronger and faster,” said Poirier. “Teams can change their tactics from game to game.”

Going forward, the team comprised of almost exclusively freshmen has a bright future. Poirier talked specifically about how his coach’s systems could put them on the path to victory.

“Patrick would change our system game in and game out to address the other team’s play,” said Poirier. “We didn’t have a fixed system every game, it would depend on our opponent.”

The Moncton native saw time both on the penalty kill and the power-play, and emerged as an offensive weapon on the defensive end. Next year, Poirier is looking forward to seeing his team continue to develop under Grandmaître’s guidance.

Men’s hockey will definitely be a team to watch going forward, and Poirier is very likely to play an integral part of that future success story.