Athletics Review: October 17, 2011

Senior Boys Soccer
The Senior boys A team had another busy week with two league games and a tournament up in Campbell River. On Tuesday, the young men had a strong showing against Vic High, with Zachary Santella leading the way with a hat trick. Scorers also included Alex Brilz, Marcel Sanati, Mark Yoreth, James Keech and Rory Brodhurst, with a pair. The second game of the week was a match up against a well organized GNS B team. SMUS scored three goals before GNS answered with one of their own just before the half. SMUS continued to pressure and finished with a 7-3 victory. Brodhurst led the way with four goals, with Mauricio Montiel, Mark Yoreth and Michael Muirhead also tallying.

The team then made their way up to Campbell River for a tournament. With only thirteen on the trip, coach Jon Davidson was very proud and impressed with the teams competitiveness and overall play. They won their first game against Pemberton 1-0 with a goal from Mark Yorath, and held a strong GNS team to only one goal in a very solid defensive effort. The second day started with a 3-0 loss to Kwalikum, and finished with a 1-1 draw in the final game of the tournament.

Mauricio Montiel was named team MVP for the tournament, contributing to every position including goalkeeper. Lindon Carter also found strong form being relied on heavily as a centre back. Three B team members were also instrumental to the cause, with all of the boys playing multiple roles and creating a good team dynamic. The final mention is to Peter “Safe Hands” Harrison for bravely making his goaltending debut with the Senior team. The boys last league match is Thursday vs Esquimalt, wich will be a key game for Islands and determine the Colonist Cup draw.

Junior Boys Soccer
In the final week of league play, the boys hosted St. Andrew’s, who turned out to be a very organized side. For much of the first half, the visitors managed to contain the forward runs of Ryan Cui and Simon Gray, and break up passes into our strikers. The half ended with Michael Baart and Max Gaethje putting SMUS 2-0 up. In the second half, the team started to play with more intensity and ended up scoring four unanswered goals, including two lovely goals from Adrian Lagunes and Jose Basave, who managed to chip the keeper. Soon after this spree, St. Andrew’s managed to grab two consolation goals, and the game opened up in the final minutes and ended 7-2 in SMUS’s favour.

With this win, the team has captured first place in their pool, earning them a semi-final berth in the City Championship. The boys will train next week, and then play their semi-final match on Monday, October 24.

Cross-Country
The Senior cross-country has had a very busy last couple weeks. Not only have the coaches stepped up the training regimen, but also the athletes have faced two challenging courses at Beaver Lake and Cedar Hill.

The event at Beaver Lake saw excellent running conditions, and it was a good test for the SMUS runners as this is the future site of both the City Championships and the Island Championships. Unfortunately, the race took place on the start of the long weekend, and as a result, our overall numbers were significantly lower than normal. Once again, Cole Turner was our top boy with a 12th place showing in the Senior Boys Division. On the girls’ side, the grade 10 girls had an excellent day capturing 2nd place team (Stephanie Wong-Harrison 4th, Sara Taylor 7th, Christina Robillard 11th, Sarah Graham 22nd). The Senior Girls fell 1 girl short of having a team result, but it did not affect Shawdy Joobani who ran an excellent race and finished in 11th.

The following week we had a race at Cedar Hill, and it is very well known for two notorious reasons: the challenging distance and the killer hills. However, it was nice to see a full SMUS Team participate, and once again, the results were impressive. On the boy’s side, Robert Wyatt was our top boy in 16th place, and the Senior Boys finished as the 5th team overall. It should be mentioned that Mike Gao, who finished in 48th place, was a remarkable 5 minutes faster than his time set last year! And while the boys were good, the girls did even better. Sara Taylor had her best result of the season and finished in 3rd place in the grade 10 girls race. The Senior Girls Team also had their best result of the season, finishing as the 2nd place team overall. The team comprised of Alexis Thind 5th, Valentina Rodriguez 8th, Christina Chwyl 13th and Shawdy Joobani 16th. It also must be mentioned that Anastasia Efremova had an incredible race, not only finishing in 24th place, but her overall time was over 7 minutes faster than that of last year.

Next Tuesday afternoon, SMUS will be back at Beaver Lake for the City Championships. Coach Tobacco and Hunt are really hoping for strong performances and solid team participation from all the runners.

Junior Girls Volleyball
The twelve athletes on the junior team are made up of five Grade 10 players and seven Grade 9 players. This keen bunch has had a good start to a busy and short fall season.

The first tournament was an exciting adventure for the girls as they travelled to Trinity Western University in Langley on Sept. 23rd and 24th. Missing two players, the team entered the tournament with the expectation to start learning their court positioning on defense, offense and serve receive. The 32-team tournament started on Friday with pool matches against Holy Cross, St. John Brebeuf and York House. The experienced and skilled Holy Cross team was a challenge for the girls; however, the team held their own and lost two competitive sets to them. Strong serving from Emily Hooton and Beta Willeboordse helped earn some key points in the match. The team played with positive spirit and determination. Our next opponent was St. John Brebeuf. In the first set, some great passing from Paris Lowe, Sun-Min Oh and Riley Jones helped our offense. Sydney Witoski had a couple of kills as well as Emily Hooton and we won handily 25-15. A more determined Brebeuf team came out in the second set and with a different line-up, our squad came up a bit short losing 25-19 in the second set. The last match against York House was a hard fought battle. Our team went for every ball with its “no balls uncontested” attitude and we literally split sets with this traditionally strong team, 25-23 and 23-25. Due to points won and lost, we came third in our pool ready for our cross-over playoff match the next morning. The team felt really good about its overall play and had an enjoyable time bonding.

Despite a rushed warm-up, the team came up fired up early the next morning and defeated David Thompson from Vancouver, 25-19 and 25-15. The entire team played and all athletes contributed to the victory. Our next opponent was the strong “A” team from Claremont. The team did not come up with its most skilled effort and their strong serving and spikes put us on our heels. Some untimely missed serves and mental mistakes were the difference in both sets as we lost 25-19 and 25-18. Overall we had a fun and successful first tournament.

With barely any practices under our belt, the team played the first league matches on Sept. 26th – exhibition games at PCS against their two teams and Mount Doug. SMUS beat PCS in three of four sets and lost to Mount Doug in both sets. The team played well showing much potential in serving and passing.

The weekend of Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 was our home tournament with eight teams. Our pool included Stelly’s, Reynolds and the Claremont B team. We played the SMUS #2 team in a fun exhibition to start the tournament at noon. Strong front-court play from Sydney Witoski helped lead the way to victory in both sets. Against our first opponent, Reynolds, the girls played well overall. Riley Jones had a few key blocks and kills playing middle blocker and Emily Hooton and Beta Willeboordse had some strong serves during the match. Good passes from Paris Lowe and Jennifer Shan helped set up our offense and although there were some good rallies and points, we lost two close sets, 27-26 and 25-23. We then handily beat Claremont in two straight sets.

With only having a team of eight players for the rest of the tournament, the girls really responded well and put up a great match against Stelly’s. Paris Lowe was asked to come in and be a setter without any practice or preparation in the position. She responded with some great volleyball for the rest of the weekend. Not only did she learn her positioning well, she put up some sets which power hitters Emily Hooton, Stephanie Wong-Harrison and Sun-Min Oh were able to convert to kills or points off their attacks. Jennifer Shan, Alex Nesnidalova stepped in as middle blockers and enabled us to win some key points at the net. Sydney Witoski had one stuff block and two kills as well. Beta Willeboordse continued to be the anchor of the squad with her strong serving and overall good court play. Some epic rallies and exciting points resulted as we split sets with Stelly’s (27-25 and then 24-26). After all these results, we narrowly missed seeding first in our pool.

The next morning we played a strong Oak Bay team in the playoff cross-over. The team served strongly, got the lead on them and didn’t let up throughout the set. We won the first set 25-22. Oak Bay responded well and took back the momentum in the second set 25-10. The final set was a nail biter but we prevailed 15-12 in a very satisfying victory. In our next match, Stelly’s played well and we were unable to respond. Having lost to Stelly’s we then played Pacific Christian School for third place. PCS served very well and had great passing in the first set. We did our best but came up short 25-16. In the second set, the girls dug deep and brought out a much more focussed and error-free display. The set went back and forth but we ended up losing a real heartbreaker, 26-24.

League play continued on Oct. 3rd with matches against Mount Doug, Lambrick Park and Claremont. Due to a mix-up, the team arrived late and only played one set against Mount Doug. Without warm-up, we lost 25-16. After that unfortunate set back, the girls put it together against the Claremont B team. With some amazing serving from Emily Hooton and Beta Willeboordse, Claremont could not pass effectively to run any significant attacks. Over passes were blocked easily by Mikayla Neal and Sydney Witoski, who both controlled the net as middle blockers. Without many sustained rallies, the match ended quickly with set scores of 25-17 and 25-8. Lambrick Park, probably one of the top teams in the entire league, had some strong club players. Effective serving by them really put us on our heels in serve receive. There were some flashes of brilliance from our team and good rallies but their serving and strong spikes through our block were the difference. They won both sets 25-14 and 25-16.

Last week, both SMUS teams travelled to Stelly’s to play their B team and Parkland. The girls came out flat in the first set against Stelly’s B team. Without a couple of our normal starters, the squad on the court was unable to convert free balls to attack and suffered a disappointing 26-24 loss. To their credit, the team came back with pride against the feisty opponents in the second set. Strong serving from everyone set the tone and Stelly’s could not muster much of any attack. The next match against the SMUS #2 team was well-contested as friends across the net went to battle. Strong serving from everyone as well as two kills from Sun-Min Oh really made the difference in the match. We won both sets by close sets and took on Parkland in the final match. Mikayla Neal really demonstrated some strong net play, including a couple of strong spikes from middle and effective serving. Clutch serving from everyone, especially Emily Hooton and Beta Willeboordse kept the momentum on our side. We won a close first set 25-20 and then took the final set 25-15. Overall, apart from the first set, the girls had a good night.

Grade 9 Rugby
The Grade 9 rugby team continued its unbeaten 15-aside season, overturning two second-half deficits to record an exciting 48-32 away win vs Shawnigan.

A slow SMUS start saw the hosts grab a 5-0 lead, but tries by Dante Morandin, Max Pollen, Simon Gray and Michael Cernucan quickly turned the tide and helped secure a comfortable half-time margin.

The second stanza was a different story as Shawnigan roared back to lead 25-24 and then again 32-31. But the last of Mornadin’s four tallies, in addition to a gem from Mitch Newman, saw SMUS take the spoils.

For the winners, Graeme Hyde-Lay’s 13 points with the boot, as well as some fine tackling by flanker Emiliano Sedano, were also important. Likewise, tight head prop Jansen Gibbs enjoyed several rambles, while Liam Catto secured good lineout possession.

The bulk of the players returned to Shawnigan two days later to take part in a BCRU Regional 7s competition. At the end of a long but enjoyable day, SMUS captured the Plate competition by scoring three unanswered second half tries to defeat the hosts 20-15. David Cunningham notched the crucial score at the full time hooter, with great support from newcomers Abdul Shokoya, Koby Grewal and Alex Carrion.

In the Cup, four straight pool wins placed SMUS in the final, again vs Shawnigan. This time, however, the hosts had a deserved 20-5 victors, on the back of superior tackling and the ability to maintain possession. Max Pollen, Angus Catto and Carson Smith all enjoyed fine tournaments.

Next up for the squad is an October 20 away match to Brentwood.

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