Men’s soccer: A+
Ray Harris/AUStv soccer commentator
Overall record: 11-0-2; 2-0 in playoffs; 2-1 at nationals
Head coach: Miles Pinsent
Leading scorer: Oliver Jones (10 goals and two assists)
Overview: The UNB men’s soccer team spent all but one week ranked as one of the top three best teams in Canada. Their success was no secret as they — and I don’t use this word lightly — dominated the AUS. Their defence first and score by committee approach took them to an undefeated 11-0-2 record, finishing a full 10 points above the second best team. That’s incredible. Add to that their impeccable sportsmanship efforts, with seven yellow cards and no reds during the regular season (lowest in Canada) and you have a near-perfect season. Their only shortfall was a disappointing 2-1 overtime loss in the CIS opener. I think they had a team more than capable of taking first place this season, but with only a few players on their way out, they look eagerly ahead to continued success in 2015.
Women’s soccer: A
Jamie Tozer/Sports Editor
Overall record: 10-1-2; 1-1 in playoffs
Head coach: Jon Crossland
Leading scorer: Sam Lagacy (nine goals and three assists)
Overview: It’s difficult to not give this team an A+ considering all their achievements this season. They finished first in regular season play with a 10-1-2 record, four points ahead of second-place MUN. They scored the third most goals in the conference (30) and got quality goalkeeping from Rebecca Duda and Sami-Jo Bell. It’s hard to believe that, just two seasons ago, this is a program that had two wins all year. This year’s team was able to win close games — six of their 10 wins were by a one-goal margin — and got clutch goal scoring all season. Their only big blemish was a 3-1 loss to MUN in the AUS Championship. It wasn’t the final result the team wanted, but this program could benefit from this year’s experience for years to come.
Men’s basketball: A
Mid-season record: 6-2
Head coach: Brent Baker
Leading scorer: Javon Masters (23.6 PPG)
Overview: This team is built to score as Will McFee and Javon Masters could both be the focal point of any offence. However, this team has many more weapons. Jordan “Gordo” Irvine is shooting an unconscious 41 per cent from three this year while newcomers Jesse Kendall and Nicola Mandic have been very efficient as well. The real engines of this team though are the two New Brunswick boys. Ryan Smith and Matt Daley set the bar for intensity and effort every game. Smith is averaging 10 boards a night, mostly on the offensive glass. Mr. Daley is coming off an injury and played well in his first action against StFX a couple weekends ago. Coach Baker must be pleased.
Women’s basketball – B+
Mid-season record: 5-3
Head coach: Jeff Speedy
Leading scorer: Grace Wade (11.9 PPG)
Overview: The Varsity Reds women’s basketball team faced adversity even before the first tipoff this year. The loss of Awo Farah and the injury of Colleen Daly could have crushed this team’s spirit. Instead, it seems to have given them something to prove. The ladies sit at 5-3 at the break and are second in the AUS standings. Coach Speedy’s squad has played some very sound defensive basketball so far this season, especially in their two tough losses to SMU, who they held to 35 per cent shooting and under 60 points in one game. The addition of Kiley DeLong and the fantastic play of Grace Wade, Katelyn Mangold, Rachel Cleary and Laura Kaye could see this team causing serious noise come playoff time — experience they will need come next year when this team hosts nationals.
Men’s volleyball: B-
Jamie Tozer/Sports Editor
Mid-season record: 4-6
Head coach: Dan McMorran
Leading scorer: Ryan Colpitts (3.31 K/S)
Overview: It’s been an up and down first half for the men’s volleyball team. After losing four of six pre-season games, the team opened the regular season by winning two of three at the first AUS-RSEQ Interlock of the year. The team then dropped back-to-back games to rival Dalhousie before defeating MUN in back-to-back games. They wrapped up the first half with three straight losses against RSEQ schools. The team definitely needs to improve its consistency and continue to work on ways to win close games.
Women’s volleyball: B
Jamie Tozer/Sports Editor
Mid-season record: 4-4
Head coach: Jilliane Goulet
Leading scorer: Victoria Eadle (2.9 K/S)
Overview: Featuring a very young lineup, the women’s volleyball team has showed plenty of promise in regular season play. After dropping their first six pre-season games and winning only three of 11 overall, the team opened the AUS season with four straight wins. To close out the first half though, the team lost all four games they played at an AUS-RSEQ Interlock to drop their record to 4-4. The team has had a hard time against non-AUS opponents this season, but that’s something they won’t need to worry about for some time with their final eight games being played within the conference. The team will host the AUS Championship from Feb. 13-15 at the Currie Center.
Men’s hockey: A-
David Kilfoil/CHSR hockey commentator
Mid-season record: 12-2-2
Head coach: Gardiner MacDougall
Leading scorers: Randy Gazzola, Phil Maillet and Jordan Murray (18 points each)
Overview: The UNB men’s hockey team has the highest bar for assessment — they are the only team on campus expected to battle for a national championship every season. Anything else doesn’t seem quite good enough.
After 14 games of the 28 match schedule, UNB sat tied for second place in the AUS with ten wins (they enter the holiday break in first with 12). However, the hockey V-Reds have only beat Saint Mary’s once in three tries and they are winless in two games against Acadia.
The V-Reds are rebuilding — and some nights it shows. Only five players remain from the championship team of two years ago, and only ten players are back from last year’s team. The key is that both goalies are new, and starter David Shantz has not yet outperformed last season’s goaltending tandem.
The young and short-staffed defence has performed well, with sophomore Jordan Murray and rookie Randy Gazzola leading UNB in points. Special teams have improved over last season.
If the hockey team can avoid further injuries, it should only get better as the season progresses and the players continue to gel. Working against them is the fact that the AUS is the most competitive conference in the CIS.