Athletics Review: May 17, 2009

Tennis
The tennis team had an absolutely incredible day at the Island Tournament last Tuesday. Placed in Pool B with Shawnigan Lake and GNS, the team needed to win one of their pool matches to advance to the championship round. The team started off with a well-fought 8-3 loss to Shawnigan, with Justus Koenigs and Paula Weech winning their singles matches 6-0 and 6-2 respectively, along with the pair teaming up to win their mixed doubles 6-3. The team of Sammy Davis and Rachel Wong had a tough 6-5 loss, while Guillermo Rosique and Victor Shang had a tough 6-4 loss.

With a 6-5 loss to GNS in the city semi-finals, the team needed a much better performance to qualify for the knockout stage and they started off on the right foot with Sammy Davis and Rachel Wong winning 6-0, followed by Priya Mulgoankar and Kenzie Scott winning 6-2 and the Marian Pho-Duc and Victor Shang winning 6-2. Justus Koenigs won a tough 6-3 singles match to take the team to a 4-2 lead going into the reverse matches. Both girls doubles teams were able to win their matches 6-2 and 6-3, and Guillermo Rosique and Alex Preis won their match 6-2. Marian Pho-Duc and Victor Shang were able to shake-off blowing a 5-2 lead to win their match 6-5 in a tiebreak to secure an 8-3 win for SMUS.

With a record of 1-1, SMUS finished second in Pool B and would face Brentwood, the first place team in Pool A. With a chance to qualify for the Provincial Championships for the first time in seven years, the boys took up the challenge and played their best tennis of the year. Marian Pho-Duc and Victor Shang opened up with a 6-2 win, followed by a well fought 6-5 win from Guillermo Rosique and Philip Petranek. Both Justus Koenigs and Paula Weech played unbelievable singles winning 6-4 and 6-0 respectively to take a 4-2 lead into the reverse matches. Marian Pho-Duc and Victor Shang played an amazing 6-2 match and Guillermo Rosique and Alex Preis secured the team’s provincial berth with a 6-1 win. Justus Koenigs and Paula Weech continued their outstanding play with 6-1 win in mixed, to win the match 7-4 against Brentwood.

Knowing that the team had qualified, Ariel Sorley, Nicole Bainov, Celine Lo, and Ross Prager were slotted in to play in the Island Final against Lambrick. However, with a six-match losing streak to Lambrick, the team did not want to go down without a fight. Inspired play from the reserves had SMUS tied 3-3 going into the reverse matches. Phil Petranek and Justus Koenigs teamed up to win their match 6-2, followed by Guillermo Rosique and Rachel Wong winning their mixed doubles 6-3. Marian Pho-Duc and Victor Shang continued their excellent play by winning 6-2, thus ending a six match losing streak to Lambrick by winning the Island Championships and sending SMUS to the Provincial Championships as the number one ranked team from Vancouver Island.

SMUS will travel to Vancouver for the Provincial Championships at Queen Elizabeth Park from May 28th to May 30th.

Senior Girls Soccer
Also competing at the Island Championships this past week was the Senior girls soccer team. The first game was last years’ Island final – SMUS against Mark Isfeld. The girls came out strong from the outset and scored midway through the first half when Lauren Kipp put a great free kick inside the box and Maddy Petersen got a foot on it to notch the first goal. The second goal came on a splendid cross from Maddy Peterson, finished by Lisa Evans. Confidence was rising and within 10 minutes, Lauren Kipp chipped the keeper for the third goal. Isfeld continued to press and scored with 10 minutes left to play, but the result was a 3-1 SMUS victory.
Next, SMUS played Parkland, who the team had lost 1-0 to in the final game of the regular season. The Blue Jags were keen to play them again and it showed as they started off with bang, scoring just three minutes into the game. It was on a corner kick and the ball was cleared right to the foot of Annie Pike who hit a first-time screamer that hit the inside of the post and into the net. This was the start the team was hoping for.

In the second half Samm Dark made a great run down the wing, cut inside and passed to Shelby Boehm who slotted it home. Confidence was high and the girls were playing extremely well, working the ball around and keeping possession. Late in the second half, on a well placed through ball, Lisa Evans hit a beautiful strike at an impossible angle for the third goal. Final score was 3-0 for SMUS.

The final game of pool play was against Brentwood. A win here would ensure a berth to the provincials and a chance to defend the Island title. The girls started off strong yet again, with Teryl Noble scoring one minute into the game. Brentwood continued to press and fight for each ball and the girls responded with a second goal from Shelby Boehm. With a two-goal lead, many of the starters were able to rest for the final game. Final score 2-0.

In the Island final, the girls faced a strong Gulf Islands team who were also undefeated in pool play. SMUS had the dream start when Samm Dark took on several players and hit a magnificent strike from the top of the 18-yard box to give SMUS a one goal lead less than three minutes into the game. Gulf Islands responded as expected, challenging for every ball and pushing SMUS to the limits. Late in the first half, on a controversial play, goalie Olivia de Goede had control of the ball when the Gulf Island player kicked it out of her hands and into the net. The coaches protested but to no avail. The score was 1-1 at the half.

The second half proved similar to the first with the play going back and forth and both teams working hard to keep possession. As the half wore on, SMUS maintained much of the play, constantly pressing and shooting. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. Fifteen minutes of extra time was to follow. At the end, the game was still deadlocked at 1-1. Tension was high as the penalty-kick shootout began. In the end, it went to eight shooters apiece to determine a winner. The final goal, which clinched the title for SMUS, was scored by Shelby Boehm. Other shootout scorers were Lauren Kipp, Maddy Petersen and Samm Dark. The girls were ecstatic. This was what they had come to the Island Tournament to do – win the title. The team now heads to provincials in Campbell River on May 28-30th as the Island #1 seed.

Senior Boys Rugby
On the heels of the stirring 38-24 Super Saturday win over Earl Marriott, the squad was soon back to business in the Howard Russell Cup playoffs. The Cup, first presented in Canada in 1867, has a long and distinguished history, and over the past two decades has been the source of a fierce tug of war between SMUS and arch-rival Oak Bay.

First up however was a semi-final against Claremont. A mostly 2nd XV outfit did the honours, with a sparkling 40m score by centre Steve Meng and some excellent tackling and foraging by flankers Zac Austin and Joe Furness just enough in a 17-12 victory.

This success moved the team into the final against Oak Bay, with the match to be played on opposition territory. Preparations were hampered somewhat by AP exams, with uncertainty over the full availability of five starting players until minutes before kickoff. Perhaps this fact, allied to memories of both a comprehensive Alumni Weekend win and the expected Oak Bay onslaught, made for a close and, for 60 of the 70 minutes, very competitive match.

Indeed, with some excellent ball support and a variety of effective back row scrum moves, Oak Bay, in front of an appreciative crowd on a perfect day for rugby, stormed to a 5-0 lead. Wing Jure Erlic, on a clever grubber kick, equalized ten minutes later, but a second home score, by opposing captain Shea Wakefield, restored the five point margin.

The 10-5 scoreline lasted until almost halfway through the second half. Two promising SMUS attacks were undone by a wonky lineout. Then, in an exhilarating, eight minute purple patch, the team broke loose, with Chad Margolus, Jared Sweet, and Tom Bridger finding the try line. Charlie Southwell added two conversions, and then also landed the extras near full time when a sweeping move allowed Mike Fuailefau to cross wide out.

Oak Bay was extremely unlucky not to add to its two first half tries, with several last minute attempts falling just short in the face of some scrambling SMUS defence.
With the 31-10 win, SMUS maintained its provincial AAA #3 ranking. The season finale, better known as the BC Tournament, starts May 23, with the team opening against Kitsilano. Then it will be on to UBC for the final three rounds of the competition May 27-30. Robert Bateman of the Fraser Valley looms as a likely second round foe.
SMUS rugby alumni have also been very much in the news. With the Canadian Senior Mens team currently practising on the school campus, David Spicer ’03 and Ed Fairhurst ’97 have been spotted back on familiar territory. Congratulations are also due Jesse Kliman ‘07 and Andrew Crow ‘08, both of whom will travel this June with the National U20 squad to the World Cup in Japan. Finally, Mike Pyke ‘02 has made waves of his own by successfully switching sporting codes; the athletic, 6’6″ former fullback now plies his trade as a ruckman for the Sydney Swans in the Australian Rules “footy” competition.

Track and Field
The track and field team geared up for the upcoming Island Championships with the Lower Island meet. As always, Leo Marchand put forth a strong effort in the 1500m, taking 3rd place and improving his time by 10 seconds. Tyler Olsen finished 5th in the Junior Boys 1500m. Jocelyn Stedman placed 7th in the Junior Girls 1500mand James Mather placed 6th in the Junior Boys 400m.

Middle School Rugby
In the final week of spring rugby at the Middle School, each of the four SMUS teams played host to season-ending jamborees held at SMUS, with 26 other teams.
The Grade 7/8 teams began the week on Monday, with the lights team losing their first game against Bayside before bouncing back to garner a well-deserved and long overdue win against Glanford. This put them in the lights semi final against a strong GNS team. The lights battled very well for much of the going but could not score and GNS jumped away to a spot in final. The lights had given their all in this game and had little left in the tank in their final game against Colquitz. It has been a tough season results-wise for the lights, but they never gave in, showing improved efforts in every outing. Leading the charge throughout the season were captain and flyhalf Chris Bjola, scrumhalf Adam Weech, centre Clarence Choy and hooker Alec Kinihan.

The Grade 7/8 heavies began their day with very well played wins over Journey and North Saanich to place them in the top three bracket along with Spencer and Monterey. The team again played wide, expansive rugby against Spencer to win well and set up a final against Monterey. When the sides met two weeks earlier, there was little separating them and the game ended in a two-try draw. So it was again, with neither side giving the other too much time and space in which to operate.

The teams traded tries before Monterey scored two more to lead 3-1 before a charged down kick in the Monterey in-goal was pounced upon to make it just a one try difference with little time left. Unfortunately, a defensive mishap let in another Monterey try in to make the final score 4-2 in their favour. The sets of players will no doubt see each many more times in the years ahead with the Monterey players heading to Oak Bay High School and a continuation of the SMUS/Oak Bay rivalry. For the heavies, flyhalf Dave Pollen, fullback Dawit Workie, scrumhalf Sam Reid, utility player Keenan Manhas, and prop Alex Campbell were pivotal throughout the season.
Tuesday saw the Grade 6 jamboree, with the Grade 6 players opening with a tough win over Bayside and a victory over George Bonner from Mill Bay. This pitted them against St. Georges in the semi-final, where some tremendous running rugby was played and a spot in the final secured. Lansdowne was the opponent in the final, and they offered some stiff competition before the SMUS squad was able to get on top, through some free flowing movements, to score a well deserved win. On the day, Max Pollen, Kieran Large, Graeme Hyde-Lay and Mitch Newman were amongst others to the fore.

It was the Grade 6/7 under 135lb team turn to play on Wednesday, beginning with a well played win over Cedar Hill, which the squad followed up with a victory over GNS. This placed them in the top three bracket along with Monterey and George Bonner. Monterey proved too strong at first, but the SMUS side put in a far more committed and sterling second half performance only conceding one try. This momentum continued in their final match against a strong tackling George Bonner side. With some strong tackling of their own (as well as some powerful running by centre Levi Supowitz and fullback Jacob Wilson-Potter. Flyhalf/centre Zach Khan, prop/centre Jordan Lane and hooker Marco Sanati) the SMUS squad also had their moments on the day and over the season. Coach Mr. Hollingworth must be thanked for his long-term player development efforts.

The week finished with the Grade 6 team travelling to Klahanie Park in West Vancouver for an independent school tournament featuring Collingwood and two teams from Mulgrave and St. Georges. The squad kicked off against one of the St. Georges sides in their first game. Despite the early start, the players immediately went into their all attack mode, scoring six tries without conceding any. With little rest they were back on, this time against one of the Mulgrave teams who proved a little stronger in scoring a try, but the Grade 6 athletes were on form and again scored six of their own. This placed them in the final against Mulgrave’s top side, who began to score early.

This jolted the SMUS squad into action to spread the ball from touchline to touchline, showing much skill in the process and scoring a number of tries. Mulgrave too scored some more tries of their own, but the Grade 6 players were too strong on the day. Although it was a team effort with all playing well, top performers on the day were multiple try scorer Kieran Large on the wing, flyhalf/scrumhalf Simon Gray, lock/centres Matty McColl and Max Pollen, and centre Mitch Newman. The Grade 6 team ended their season unbeaten and coaches Mr. Foenander and Ms. Payne should be proud of their fine work.

Finally, thanks to all parents and supporters who came to watch the many games throughout the season and the jamborees. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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