Midseason report card

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While some teams pass with flying colours, others should be held back 


Autumn McDowell
Sports Editor

Men’s hockey

Record: 9-7-2 

Grade: A 
 


Fight for your right to party.  
 


From their last place finish in 2011-12, the men’s hockey team has improved dramatically this season and currently has a kung fu grip on the sixth and final playoff spot in Canada West.  


Second-year forward Troy Hunter has the hot stick for the Cougars this year and has increased his points total from 2011, 13 times over. After scoring just one point in his entire campaign with the squad last year, Hunter got off to a surprisingly dominant offensive start in 2012, scoring 11 points in his first 11 games.

However, after being bitten by the injury bug, the Cougars lost their leading scorer to a broken ankle in mid-November. After missing the last five games of 2012, Hunter appears to have returned in prime form, ready to climb back to his spot atop the standings.  

While numerous players have put the team on their backs this year, it was a change at bench boss that has propelled the Cougars to their best start in over a decade. 
 


Teacher comments: It appears that the decision to mercy-pass the men’s hockey team last year worked in their favour, as they are now producing at a level comparable to their peers. If they keep studying, there is no reason the Cougars cannot make the playoffs this year.

Women’s hockey 

Record: 13-5 

Grade: A+

From swamp donkeys to top dogs.

Currently riding a seven game winning streak, the women’s hockey team appears to be in playoff form midway through the season.  


After finishing in second-last place in 2011-12, fifth-year scoring sensations Paige Wheeler and Rianne Wight put the team on their backs once again in order to keep the same fate from happening in their final year. While this may be a typical scenario for the duo in past seasons, but this time they are getting a little more help.  


With 17 members of the team registering at least one point so far this season, the women’s hockey team looks to be playoff-bound early. As the team sits second in the Canada West standings, back just three points of Hayley Wickenheiser featuring the Calgary Dinos, Regina will finally be a force to be reckoned with down the stretch.  
 


Teacher comments: After receiving a failing grade at the end of last season, the women’s hockey team has done incredibly well. Holding them back an extra year appears to be the right decision as the team easily receives the University of Regina’s Most Improved award. However, they still need to work on their voice control, as their constant screams during the games disrupts their peers.

Men’s basketball 

Record: 3-7

Grade: C 
 


Praying for a miracle. 
 


After missing the playoffs for just the second time in 16 years last season, the men’s basketball team does not look to be heading back to the winning track in the immediate future.  


Currently sitting in seventh place out of a possible eight in the Prairie division of the Canada West conference, the team is four places back from a playoff spot. Although a mere six points separates the Cougars from the final playoff position, it will be a difficult deficit to make up in the final twelve games of the season.  


If Cougar fans are going to see the men’s basketball team reach the playoffs this year, it is likely that newcomer Frank Brown would play a large part in this miracle. Averaging 17.2 points per game, the Cougars rookie has been a bright spot on the court this season. However, Brown will need the support of his teammates if they are to make a final push for the playoffs in the second half.  
 


Teacher comments: The Cougars are not performing up to their expectations again this year. They have the talent to succeed, but so far cannot compete at the same level as other members of their age group. If this slide continues, a drastic change may need to be made in order to spark the team once again.

Women’s basketball 

Record: 
9-1
Grade: A+

Choking hazard.

After losing their very first game of the season, the women’s basketball team has been on a tear ever since and are currently amidst a nine-game winning streak. 


Fourth-year guard Michelle Clarke is leading the Cougars offensively, averaging 16.6 points per game, while fifth-year forward Lindsay Ledingham is close behind with 13 points per game. Having fifth-year post Brittany Read back in the line up has also been extremely beneficial to the team, but her history of chronic injuries is worrisome.      

The Cougars are no strangers to being at the top of the Canada West standings, but in recent years they have often been faced with an early exit from the playoffs. With the added pressure of hosting Nationals this year, it is difficult to determine if the Cougars will cave under the pressure, or use the hometown crowd to their advantage.

Teacher comments: The women’s basketball team is at the top of its class once again. However, their desire to over-achieve has led them to being the browners of the University. The only concern is that they continue to choke in games of significant meaning.

Men’s volleyball 

Record: 2-10 

Grade: D

Andrew Nelson to the rescue.

After registering the most wins they had in the past six years, last season it appeared as though University of Regina men’s volleyball would finally be a contending team in Canada West, but that is clearly not the case. 


Granted, the schedule was not in the Cougars favour during the first half of the season this year. With just two wins, it is difficult to have a positive outlook for a playoff push. Although the Cougars will face significantly worse teams in the second half, making up five spots and eight points in the Canada West standings will be a daunting task.  


2011-12 CIS Rookie of the Year Andrew Nelson has avoided the sophomore slump and has been a bright spot for the Cougars once again this year. Leading the team in numerous categories including kills (92) and points (105) even after missing the first portion of the season due to injury, if the Cougars are going to save their season it will be largely up to Nelson.

Teacher comments: Although individual members of the men’s volleyball team are having a successful season, the team as a whole shows little promise. If Cougars volleyball is going to be on the map anytime soon, a drastic change needs to be made. Otherwise, the team will continue to receive the participation award year after year.

Women’s volleyball

Record: 3-9 

Grade: C-

Young, and wild, and free.

Sitting 10th out of a possible 12 in Canada West, the inexperience of the women’s volleyball team is showing. With absolutely zero fifth-year players on the team and six rookies, it is not surprising that the Cougars are struggling this season.  


Cougars newcomer Desiree Ates – who spent time with the University of New Hampshire before joining the squad – has provided some extra offense to the lineup while third-year middle blocker Michelle Sweeting continues her impressive play at net once again this year.  


However, while the rookies are making a valiant effort, the leadership that comes with having veterans on the team is obviously missing, and although the few remaining fourth-years are attempting to fill that void, the team is in the middle of a rebuilding year. 


Although the Cougars are a talented group, they will have to wait a few years to be a playoff contending team.

Teacher comments: Although the women’s volleyball team may be one of the best-dressed teams on campus with their new uniforms, they are struggling to register wins on the court. With just one win at home, the Cougars must find some way to use the hometown crowd to their advantage, otherwise it will be another long summer for the Green and Gold.

Photo by Emily Wright

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