Athletics Review: May 3, 2009

Senior Boys Rugby
It was a busy and demanding week for both Senior rugby squads. On April 28, the 1st and 2nd XV players travelled to Vancouver for matches against St. Georges. Always a tough assignment, this proved to be the case once again, as both teams came up on the losing end.

The 1st XV struggled throughout with combinations, as the non-availability of prop Wonjin Kim and the late withdrawal of wing Jure Erlic and fullback Charlie Southwell further weakened a team already missing key players. A shaky opening fifteen minutes, complete with blocked clearances, turnovers at the breakdown and lost line-outs helped contribute to an opening brace of home tries.

Down 10-0, SMUS came back into the game, with both Tom Bridger and Chad Margolus just failing to hold likely try scoring passes. Early in the second half, a steadier supply of possession and some improved handling started to threaten the St. Georges defence, and a fine team move was then finished in style by Bridger, who went over close to the posts. Yet, as has been too often the case, the simple conversion was then fluffed.

St. Georges scored two more tries almost immediately to lead 22-5. While SMUS did mount one further attack, thwarted by a knock on in goal, the home team was again on the board at full time, taking the final score to 29-5.

Without flanker Joe Furness and fly-half Conor Mackenzie – both of whom were emergency 1st XV call-ups – the 2nd XV battled wonderfully all afternoon. Again, much good work and attention to basics were handicapped by a simple lack of size and finishing power. Scrum half Reed Plasterer enjoyed a fine match, while props Keer Mei and Justin Zoraik coped well in new positions. 39-10 was a cruel scoreline, given the even nature of the play. Certainly, coaches Ian Manly and Nanyak Dala, as well as all the players, are to be commended on a terrific spirit and attitude in the team’s play this season.

For both squads, there was no time for despondency, with Oak Bay set to arrive for matches on May 2 as part of the SMUS Alumni weekend. The SMUS 2nd XV used the occasion to play its best rugby of the season, leading 10-5 at the break and missing out on at least two more glorious scoring chances. The second half proved less satisfying, with the visitors grabbing two quick scores to go in front 15-10. The result then swung decisively when a routine SMUS clearance kick was blocked, leading to an easy Oak Bay score and, eventually, a 29-10 win.

At 1st XV level, an even opening twenty minutes saw Oak Bay in front 8-7. Then SMUS took a 24-8 advantage. Slick passing and strong running from Mackenzie and centre Mike Fuailefau, as well as the imposing presence of two-try scorer John Humphries, contributed to the home team’s dominance. SMUS extended their lead to a whopping 43-8 with fifteen minutes to play. Oak Bay, to its credit, fought back bravely, adding a consolation try through the excellent Shea Wakefield.

However, SMUS saved the best for last, with a sweeping sixteen pass, multiple offload try. This was finished brilliantly when Mike Zhou flicked a reverse pass out of the tackle for fellow prop Kim to romp over in the corner. This was as fine a try seen on the field in a long time, and hints at the capability of the 1st XV when firing on all cylinders.

In addition to Humphries and Fuailefau, hooker Brendan Thomson, flanker Jared Sweet and wing Charlie Southwell all played effectively.

With the 48-15 win, SMUS retained its provincial AAA #3 ranking and now moves on to a crunch May 9 against Earl Marriott. This game will take place at Shawnigan as part of a gala Jamboree featuring matchups between Island and Mainland schools. Then comes the Howard Russell playoffs May 11 and 14, with another tilt against Oak Bay almost certainly on the cards.

Senior Girls Soccer
The Senior girls spent most of this week preparing for the upcoming ISA Tournament on May 1st and 2nd at Brentwood College. The first game of the tournament was against hometown rival GNS. This, as always, was a hard-fought battle with teams trading numerous scoring opportunities. A nil draw at the end of regulation time put the game straight to penalty shots to determine a winner. Lauren Kipp, Laura Dale & Samm Dark all scored and Olivia de Goede made two fantastic saves to give SMUS the 1-0 win.

The final three games of pool play were against West Point Grey Academy, York House and St, Margaret’s. The girls played extremely well as a team and continued their winning ways finishing up pool play undefeated. In the West Point Grey game, Samm Dark scored the goal of the season off a corner kick from Lauren Kipp. The ball was sent to the far post where Samm launched herself up to score a first-rate header into the top corner of the goal. Fans around the field could be heard exclaiming it was one of the best goals they’d seen in Senior girls soccer.

The Blue Jags were now poised to play in the final against undefeated Crofton House from the other pool. The game started off slowly for both sides as fatigue from four previous games was starting to show. Play shifted back and forth with both teams creating chances. At the half, it was 0-0 and the SMUS started working hard and keeping much of the possession in their opponents end. On a quick change of possession, Crofton House stormed down the field and in a bit of a scramble put the only goal of the game past the SMUS keeper. With only 10 minutes to go SMUS pushed hard, forcing Crofton House back in their end. The team had several chances but in the end could not respond with a goal and the game ended 1-0. This was a fantastic 2nd place finish for the team.

This week, the Senior girls are preparing for the Island Tournament at Mark Isfeld in Courtenay on May 11-12th.

Track and Field
As the regular season meets begin to wind down, SMUS continued to have some solid performances. In the Bantom Boys 800m, Cole Turner pulled out an 8th place finish and James Mather finished 6th in the Junior Boys 200m.

Tennis
The team began the city tournament with a match against GNS at Carnarvon on Monday. Despite an 8-3 win earlier in the season, the team struggled, and lost 6-5. Sammy Davis and Rachel Wong led the team with two convincing 6-1 wins.

With the loss, SMUS entered the 3rd place match against Esquimalt on Wednesday. A win would send the team to Islands and a loss would end the season. The team raced out to a 4-0 lead when Celine Lo and Kenzie Scott were able to win their first match in 16 minutes 6-0, followed by 6-0 wins by Sammy Davis and Rachel Wong, Kristijan Gjorgjevik and Philip Petranek, and Justus Koenigs. Paula Weech secured a 6-2 victory in her singles match and Marion Pho-Duc and Guillermo Rosique won 6-3.

On the reverse matches, Alexander Preis and Marion won 6-0, Ross Prager and Kristijan won 6-3, Nicole Bainov and Mina Phaisaltantiwongs won 6-3, Celine and Kenzie won 6-2 and Victor Shang and Ariel Sorley won the mixed 6-3. The team now has a week off before playing at the Island tournament on May 12th for a berth at provincials. The team was able to rally and showed an even more dominant performance against a developing Esquimalt team and won 11-0.

Junior Girls Soccer
The Junior girls faced the Claremont Spartans on Tuesday in the first game of the City Championships. The Jags came out extremely strong and played the best game of their season. Unfortunately, the Spartans are a very strong team, and the Jags were defeated 2-0. All players had incredible spirit and with a defensive strategy were able to hold them off until half-time. Early in the second half, the Jags couldn’t stop a free kick, and the goal gave the Spartans an extra bit of momentum which they used to score another quick goal. The Jags fought back in their toughest game of the season, but were unable to make up the goals that were scored against them. This concludes the Junior girls season, as the championships are a single knockout format.

Coaches would like to thank the players for their hard work and dedication, and a huge thank you to our fans who came out to support us during our season.

Cricket
The cricket team continued with their season this past week. A much anticipated match-up with the alumni squad, as part of the alumni weekend activities showcased some of the strength in SMUS history. Such was their respect for the school team that the Alumni fielded a very strong team which boasted four players who had played, or are playing, for Canada. The school team ended up losing by twenty runs but there were some notable performances from Nathan Hauseman who scored 47 runs and Bhupinder Dulku who claimed two wickets

Middle School Rugby
The Grade 7/8 lights opened the action this past week, as they faced Colquitz and Lansdowne. Lansdowne were first up and the lights began well with centre Clarence Choy scoring some early tries. The game was fast and furious throughout, with a one-try loss for the lights being the final result. With little rest, they were on the field against an athletic Colquitz side who proved too strong despite the tenacious efforts of new scrumhalf Adam Weech, as well as flyhalf and captain Chris Bjola.

Wednesday saw the Grade 7/8 heavies at SMUS hosting Monterey in a match between two of the top sides in the competition. There was no scoring in the first of three 10 minute periods, with Monterey trying to use their larger frames closer in, whilst SMUS tried playing the ball to the wings. A more direct approach by SMUS produced a score early in the second, only for Monterey to tie, before going ahead themselves in the final frame. SMUS made two tries with only a few minutes left.

Both sides gave it their all, playing some wonderful ball retention rugby, and the defensive play was also impressive. The game ended with SMUS winger Mason Loewen scampering 30m down the touchline only to be tackled out with the tryline just a few steps away. The two teams hope to meet each other again in the season-ending jamboree Monday May 11th. Top performers on the day were centre Adrian Sanchez, flyhalf Dave Pollen, centre/fullback Dawit Workie and diminutive scrumhalf Sam Reid.

Also on Wednesday, the Grade 6/7 less than 135lb team travelled to Lansdowne to host them as well as Shoreline. The team continues to show positive development and garnered two close and well-earned victories. Leading players on the day were centre Zach Khan, wing Sean MacArthur, and centre Levi Supowitz.

The Grade 7/8 lights team rounded out the week’s games on Thursday in hosting both Bayside and Glanford. Bayside proved a little too strong although they did not have everything their own way with SMUS also scoring a couple of tries. The match with Glanford was a very even affair with both sides playing some good rugby, with a last second try by SMUS bringing them within one score of a tie. Leading lights on the day were utility player Keenan Manhas, centre Colton Stockus, centre/wing Mason Loewen and Grade 7 prop/hooker Nic Cunningham.

The Grade 7/8 lights open the game action this week travelling on Monday 4th to Colquitz. The Grade 6 team is up next travelling on Tuesday, May 5th to Colquitz where they also play Bayside. The Grade 6/7 players go to Monterey on Wednesday, May 6th where they also play Lansdowne. The Grade 7/8 heavies round out the week with a visit to Spencer on Thursday, May 7th.

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