Athletics Review: October 24, 2011

This weekend, while most people were enjoying time away from the academic classroom, the 62 members of the SMUS rowing team were battling other local schools and the weather at Elk Lake. This was the first regatta for many of our rowers this season. Even though the competition pulled hard, the SMUS team pulled harder. Several of our crews made finals. Through all sorts of weather (sun, wind, and rain) and over two full days, everyone’s spirits remained high. All in all, it was an excellent weekend and a great team bonding experience. The coaches are exhausted and proud of the entire team’s efforts, both on and off the water. It is a pleasure to work with such a great bunch of athletes!

Overall, SMUS had four first place finishes: Senior Girls 8+, Senior Boys 8+, Senior Boys Novice 8+ and Junior Boys 4X. We also had one second-place finish and one third-place finish in the Junior Boys 2X category, one fourth-place finish in Junior Boys Novice 8+ and one fifth-place finish in Junior Novice Girls 8+. The remaining crews performed well in strong fields.

Senior Boys Soccer
The Senior boys soccer team had a very important game against Esquimalt, where the winner would take third in the city and receive an automatic qualification to Islands and the Colonist Cup tournament. The SMUS boys came out flying, scoring three goals in the first 10 minutes with Michael Baart, Rory Brodhurst and Mauricio Montiel finding the mark. However, Esquimalt pushed back for the rest of the half, and if not for some strong defending and even stronger goal-keeping from Mark Yorath, the score could have been different. Esquimalt kept up the pressure at the start of the second half, eventually putting in a goal to get the game to 3-1. SMUS was not about to let a comeback happen though, and Zachary Santella found the end of a Rory Brodhurst cross and restored the three-goal lead. Final score 4-1, but even more importantly, a big victory to land SMUS in the playoffs.

Junior Boys Soccer
It was a quieter week for the Junior boys soccer team. By finishing first in their pool in the league, the team had already secured a berth in the semi-final round for the City Championship. With a week off from games, the team trained on Tuesday and Thursday, working on their shape, movement, free kicks, corners, and penalties. On Monday, October 24, the boys will play Reynolds for the chance to play the winner of the other semifinal match between Oak Bay and Claremont. The final will be played on Wednesday, October 26. A win on Monday would mean not only a spot in the City final, but also a birth in the Island Championship tournament the following week in Campbell River.

Grade 9 Rugby
The team continued its season with an October 20 visit to Brentwood College.

Though minus a number of key performers, all busy with Junior boys soccer playoff preparation, SMUS first successfully redeployed its forces in a series of sevens games vs. Brentwood and visiting Crossley Heath from Yorkshire, England.

Mitch Newman showed his speed and strength in the abbreviated game, scoring several long range tries for the A team, while Carson Smith and Max Pollen were also influential. Some poor kickoff receptions and a bad scrum spotted Crossley Heath a 19-5 advantage, but SMUS scrambled back late to win 23-19.

In the B flight, very good performances by David Lee, Douglas Peerless, Koby Grewal and Abdul Shokoya were more than enough to see off Brentwood 27-5 and Crossley Heath 22-0.

SMUS then formed a 15-aside team to play a 20-minute match vs. Brentwood, recording three tries en route to a 17-0 victory. Angus Catto ran the team efficiently at fly half, with brother Liam prominent in loose play. As always, flanker Emiliano Sedano, in a pack not best known for its physical play, tackled well all afternoon and did a lot of blue collar work at the breakdown.

The team faces some stern tests in the weeks to come, starting with an October 27 away game to St. George’s.

Junior Girls Volleyball
During league play this week, the team came up against two tough opponents: Stelly’s and Oak Bay. A slow start against Oak Bay in the first set was all the home side needed to put them over the top. In the second set, despite some good overall positional play, the team was unable to convert many free balls to attacks and the stronger Oak Bay side prevailed 25-18. Against Stelly’s, the girls fought and played some tenacious defense but the other side had too many weapons and stronger serving and attacks. SMUS lost both sets and looked forward to our ISA tournament at Brentwood this past weekend.

During pool play, the SMUS team played York House for three sets. After York won the first set 25-19, SMUS came back with some spirited defense and timely serving to prevail 25-13. In the final set, the girls came up a bit short and lost to the eventual gold medal finalists 15-8. Our next match against the host school was a decisive 25-14 and 25-13 victory for us. Superb serving by everyone and some kills from power-hitters Emily Hooton, Stephanie Wong-Harrison and Sun-Min Oh put the team over the top. Other memorable moments included a “roof” block by Jennifer Yan during the second set. The final match against Southpointe was closer than it should have been. After losing the first set 25-23 and falling behind 16-11 in the second set, our secret weapon, Sydney Witoski’s underhand serve, mesmerized our opponents as she went on a 7-0 serving run. Momentum totally shifted and the girls regained their confidence to prevail in a 25-23 nail-biter. The final set started with an impressive 5-0 serving run from Beta Willeboordse and the team never looked back. SMUS won 15-9 and finished second in our pool.

The next morning, in our playoff cross-over, the girls came up against an athletic group of tall athletes from Shawnigan. After matching them point for point to a score of 6-5, too many errors cost the team the set. The second set was better but the girls could not get any kills against their defense and they continued to put pressure on with passing and strong overall serving. Disappointed, but not defeated, the girls gathered their energy and focus for a 5th place match against Southridge from Surrey. Strong serving by everyone, especially by Beta, Emily, Sun-Min, Flora Manson-Blair, Mikayla Neal and Alex Nesnidalova, really put the pressure on Southridge as they were unable to mount any significant attack. Kills from Sydney, Jennifer and Alex paved the way to victory. It was an impressive and spirited victory to finish a successful tournament. SMUS won both sets 25-16 and 25-21.


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