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Winter 2013 edition

Maclaine Chadwick | Fulcrum Staff

Every year, the Fulcrum looks back on the ups and downs of the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees teams’ respective competition seasons. This year, there were just too many memories to fit into one issue, so we decided to split the awards into two categories: fall sports and winter sports. Here is a rundown of how the Gee-Gees performed in their winter 2013 season, followed by the winners of the prestigious* Cavalry Awards.

*not actually prestigious
After a season-ending 2-1 loss to the Université de Montréal Carabins, the Gee-Gees women’s hockey team finished their 2013 run in third place in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) with a 7-9-4 record.

“I think we put out a great effort,” said head coach Yanick Evola of the playoff series.

The game marked the last home-ice match for graduating players Alicia Blomberg and Fannie Desforges, who were able to re-join their teammates for one last exhibition game against the Czech Republic national women’s team as part of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s World Championship.

The team has a lot to look forward to in their upcoming 2014 season, though. The young squad—who currently have 19 first- and second-year players on their roster—are already welcoming exciting recruits, including Cégep all-star Vickie Lemire, who has played for both Team Quebec and Team Canada.
The men’s hockey season ended at the hands of crosstown rivals the Carleton University Ravens, who shut the Gee-Gees out 6-0 during the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East semi-final match.

“We had enough skill to score goals in the regular season,” said head coach Real Paiement after the game.

“But in the playoffs, you need more than skill.”

With five graduating players leaving the team, including captain Luc-Olivier Blain and MVP Dominic Jalbert, coaching staff have their work cut out for them in order to prepare for next season.

“We’re going to have to find players that fill a hole on the team where we’re lacking,” said Paiement.

Their OUA bronze-medal victory wasn’t enough for the women’s basketball team, who earned a wildcard spot at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Final 8 championships in Alberta and ended their season at sixth place in the country.

The team also played their way to five OUA all-star nods under the leadership of OUA coach of the year Andy Sparks.

“If we had to do it over again, I don’t know if we would have changed a whole lot,” said Sparks, referring to their Final 8 game against the University of Windsor Lancers, which the Gee-Gees lost 56-46.

The Gees will only lose one graduating player from their roster this year, fifth-year point guard and MVP Jenna Gilbert, whose shoes will be filled by younger guards like second-year Kellie Ring when she returns from an ACL injury.

The Gee-Gees men’s basketball team inched closer and closer to overcoming their Carleton rivals, but were unable to prevail over the Ravens in the OUA Final Four tournament, leaving them with an OUA silver medal. This was enough to secure the team a spot at the CIS Final 8 tournament held at Scotiabank Place, where they finished as the third-best team in the country. The CIS bronze medal is the first national medal earned by a squad in the history of the U of O men’s basketball program.

The team will enter their next season without their current captain, fifth-year guard Warren Ward. Other graduates include fifth-year centre Jordan Vig and fifth-year guard Dimitrios Seymour.

“I have to be very positive, because moving forward, we can see that there is a good foundation of players in this team,” said head coach James Derouin after the team’s final game. “I’m excited for the years to come.”

Placing fourth at the CIS national championships in Sherbrooke, Que. was one of the many accomplishments of the women’s volleyball team. Not only is their fourth-place national ranking the highest achieved by a Gees women’s volleyball team in 20 years, but they also earned the OUA gold medal after an impressive 16-2 season.

The team, which boasted four OUA all-stars as well as OUA player of the year Karina Krueger Schwanke, is looking forward to the future of the program.

“If this is the first step of the next cycle for our program, what a great place to start,” said head coach Lionel Woods after the CIS playoffs. “I told the team to be proud of the milestones that they set for this program.”
Graduating players include Schwanke, Christina Grail, and Kathryn Weihrer.
Best rookie
When her teammate Kellie Ring had to sit for out the remainder of the women’s basketball 2013 season, rookie guard Catherine Traer stepped up to the plate. After playing in the starting lineup in high-intensity playoff games, the first-year impressed onlookers at the CIS national championships—especially when she contributed 13 points to the playoff win against Carleton—making Traer the standout rookie of the 2013 Cavalry Awards.

Crowd favourite
Men’s basketball captain Warren Ward’s comeback from a devastating ACL injury during his fourth year was a story so inspiring it was profiled by The Score as well as other media outlets during the men’s basketball playoffs. If the way fans respond to Ward’s name when it’s announced during the starting lineups isn’t indicator enough, maybe the kids asking for his autographs after games will clue you in—Ward is a 2013 crowd favourite.

Dynamite play
It wasn’t one specific play made by the men’s basketball team, but rather a series of great ones that brought Montpetit Hall to their feet in February when the hosting Gee-Gees brought the Ravens through three periods of overtime. The Gees lost in the end, but it was definitely some of the hardest-fought basketball of the season. Mike L’Africain’s three-point shot, tying the second overtime at 94-94 and forcing another quarter, marked the peak of the crowd’s excitement.

Best coach
A nearly perfect season (16-2) fought by a team of OUA all-stars and the OUA player of the year makes the women’s volleyball coach the best coach of the winter 2013 season at the U of O. Lionel Wood’s top-notch recruiting and training earned him a skilled team this season, whose members proved themselves as strong competitors at the national level.