U of R Sports Roundup – Mar. 3, 2011
Vying for national glory
The U of R will have a shot at defending their women’s CIS championship victory from last season.
This year’s team, comprised of skip Alex Williamson, third Kelsey Michaluk, second Stephanie Gress, lead Jade Ivan, alternate Chantel Martin and coach David Miller, qualified for nationals, which run March 9-13 in St. John’s, Nfld., thanks to their performance at the Canada West championship last weekend in Alberta.
Regina defeated Manitoba 8-3 to win the bronze medal at the conference meet.
Last year, the Regina rink, led by skip Brooklyn Lemon, defeated the favoured Saint Mary’s Huskies 6-5 in the national final. The winning team at nationals gets the chance to represent Canada on the world stage.
Rams quarterback Marc Mueller and slotback Brenden Owens have moved one step closer to the CFL.
The pair are two of 53 players who were named to the 2011 CFL Evaluation Camp roster. The camp is being held March 4-6 in Toronto and includes strength and flexibility testing and on-field drills. Players will be evaluated in lieu of the CFL Draft on May 8.
Mueller and Owens, both entering their fifth season with the Rams next year, had fine 2010 campaigns. Mueller went 182/278 for 2,437 yards, 14 touchdowns, and five interceptions, boasting a 65.5 completion percentage. He led Canada West in yards, completions and completion percentage and was second in touchdown passes.
In an injury-plagued campaign, Owens still finished with 596 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He was second in the conference in both categories.
Heading into a Canada West best-of-three quarter-final matchup against the host Saskatchewan Huskies last weekend, the Cougars were looking to avenge a two-game 214-159 sweep they received from Saskatchewan earlier in February.
Instead, Regina suffered the agony of defeat once again.
Saskatchewan topped Regina 98-75 on Friday and followed that up with a 92-75 decision on Saturday. Regina is eliminated from the playoffs, while Saskatchewan advanced to a conference semifinal against the Trinity Western University Spartans.
A big reason the Cougars failed to advance in the playoffs was because they could not contain Huskies Rejean Chabot and Jamelle Barrett. On Friday, Chabot scored 29 points and Barrett added 23 points and 11 assists. Nolan Brudehl dominated the Cougars on the boards, pulling down 22 rebounds.
Jeff Lukomski went 5-13 from beyond the ark for the Cougars, finishing with 23 points. Paul Gareau scored 20 points while pulling down nine rebounds. The Cougars’ inability to shoot the ball hindered them on Friday, as they shot only 39.4 per cent from the field compared to Saskatchewan’s 46.0 per cent.
The next day, Barrett torched Regina for 30 points and nine assists. Chabot was deadly as well with 24 points. The Huskies upped their shooting percentage to 47.1 per cent.
Gareau had 20 points again and added nine boards for the Cougars, which got four three balls and 15 points from Marek Downarowicz. Regina shot much better in the game, finishing at 43.8 per cent.
The Cougars learned just how hard it is to beat a Spartan.
Regina dropped two 3-0 decisions to the host Trinity Western Spartans on Feb. 17-18 in a Canada West best-of-three quarter-final, ending the season for the Cougars.
Tiffany Herman had 26 assists and Meagan Onstad had 11 digs for the Cougars on Feb. 17, who lost the first two sets by a combined 15 points. Lauren O’Reilly was in a giving mood for Trinity Western, setting up her teammates 31 times. She also had 10 digs. The Spartans got 13 kills from Kara Jansenvandoorn and 11 digs from Andrea Ball.
Herman was on again for the Cougars on Feb. 18, recording 25 assists and 13 digs. Rebecca Rink had 11 digs for Regina. O’Reilly tallied 20 assists and 16 digs for the Spartans, who got 12 kills from Amy Leschied and 14 digs from Ball.
Trinity Western then went on to beat the Alberta Pandas 3-1 in a conference semifinal last weekend and dropped a 3-2 decision to the UBC Thunderbirds in the final.
Jessica Winter did not pick up a medal at the CIS championships last weekend in Calgary.
The lone Cougar at the meet had her best finish in the 800-metre freestyle, swimming to a 10th place finish (nine minutes, 9.12 seconds finish). Winter failed to advance out of the preliminaries in the 200m butterfly (26th, 2:27.64), the 200m freestyle (33rd, 2:08.75), and 100m freestyle (42nd, 1:06.88).
Winter has plenty of big events on the horizon. The rookie is competing in the World Aquatic Trials in Victoria this April and the Olympic Trials in 2012.
While the Cougars failed to advance to the playoffs, they still received some good news recently.
Forward Rianne Wight has been named a Canada West second-team all-star. She racked up 16 goals and nine assists on the season, putting her sixth in the conference with 25 points. Her 16 goals put her one behind Hayley Wickenheiser of the Calgary Dinos for the conference lead.
“Rianne showed that she can be an elite player in the CIS this season,” said Cougars head coach Sarah Hodges in a statement. “She brings great intensity to the rink every day and it was great to see her produce offensively for us. I expect that her success this season will lead to more confidence in her game and consistent offensive output in the future.”
Wight’s totals were helped this season by her strong start. She scored in five of the team’s first six games and had a four-game multi-goal streak. Erin Balfour and Brandy West are the only other Cougar players to score at least 16 goals in a season.
Regina finished fifth in the conference at 9-13-2, missing the playoffs by one spot.