Athletics Review: Rugby and Tennis On The Road

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Photos by Rob Ducharme and Kerry Chan
May 30, 2012

Junior Boys Rugby
by Ian Hyde-Lay, rugby coach
The B team played some delightful rugby versus Brentwood, with a 75 metre gallop to pay-dirt by wing Liam Keeler-Young, and solid performances by lock Gareth Croft and centres Matt Shin and Jack Sherrod, spearheading a 17-5 win.

Then, riding the emotional high of the May 17 City final upset of Oak Bay, the A squad played Brentwood in an Island semifinal. The hosts jumped out to a 12-0 lead before a Michael Baart penalty goal and a converted Abe Kharaghani try cut the margin to two points.

Brentwood then scored again to lead 19-10 before SMUS chipped away at the gap to make the score 19-18. After a penalty goal upped the home lead to 4 points, SMUS enjoyed a stunning six-minute purple patch. First, prop Saeed Shokoya produced a stunning turn of pace to run some 60 metres to score in the left corner. Amazingly, he then did the same less than a minute later, catching the kickoff and simply blasting through a stacked defensive line en route to another 60-metre tally. Then, centre Max Pollen capped off a superb game by regathering his own chip kick to tally under the posts. With Baart notching all three conversions, SMUS suddenly led 39-22.

Brentwood battled back, controlling play in the final 10 minutes and registering a fine team score of its own. But it was not enough, as SMUS booked its passage to the final with the 39-27 victory.

The opponent was Oak Bay, who had managed something of an upset by toppling top-seeded Shawnigan 19-18 on a last second penalty kick in their semi-final. Bolstered by the return of some injured players, the Barbs took on the role of favourites, and, having withstood some early SMUS pressure, registered a well worked try to lead 5-0 at the break.

A poor start to the second half saw SMUS concede two soft scores and face an uphill climb back into the game. It nearly came off. First, after some 10 phases of play, centre Mitch Newman blasted through to score under the posts. Baart added the extras, and then, after another blockbusting run by Shokoya, was called on again. This conversion glanced off the post, but the wrong way, leaving SMUS down 17-12 with four minutes to go.

But the magic ran out. One final charge for the line went awry, and Oak Bay wound down the clock for the win.

Nonetheless, the SMUS squad made considerable strides during the season and played some excellent rugby. Ten Grade 9 players were often in the starting XV, although it must be said that the core Grade 10 players, led well by captain Zach Kahn and including Kharaghangi, Baart and flanker David Boroto, contributed a great deal.

Senior Boys Rugby
by Ian Hyde-Lay, rugby coach

It was certainly a dramatic ten days for the 1st XV, with both the May 17 Howard Russell final versus Oak Bay and subsequent first-round matchup versus Courtenay’s GP Vanier decided by the slimmest of margins.

In the first game, played at Oak Bay in front of a large crowd, SMUS opened the scoring with a Joe Erlic try. However, the Barbs then fought back with three scores of their own to lead 19-5 at halftime.

With Erlic prominent throughout, SMUS showed great resolve, scoring twice to start the second half, although a missed conversion from Derek Hyde-Lay left the visitors behind 19-17 as the game entered the final quarter.

An Oak Bay penalty kick extended the lead, but with nine minutes to play, a fine SMUS team try was finished off by Marcel Sanati. Unfortunately, another makeable conversion slid by the post, with the game now even at 22.

In a dramatic end game, waves of Oak Bay pressure were finally rewarded with a penalty goal, leaving SMUS only 45 seconds to draw level or win the game. In a remarkable phase of play, which went on for over three minutes, SMUS regained possession of the ball and, on two occasions, the second with replacement winger Clarence Choy principally involved, came within a few meters of the try line. But it was not to be, as a knock on allowed Oak Bay to clear to touch and win 25-22.

This close defeat left SMUS ranked #7 entering Day 1 of the BC AAA Tournament, with an opening match May 26 at Brentwood College versus GP Vanier.

SMUS began in style with Erlic showing great footwork and pace to romp in from halfway for a converted tally. When Mark Kiggundu, thanks to some slick handling by David Pollen and fullback Alex Brils, then capped a multi-phase move minutes later, everything looked in good order. Yet, Vanier was not to be denied, scoring twice themselves and converting one to draw level at 12.

The second half was high drama. A poor kickoff reception gifted Vanier possession and a 19-12 advantage. For the next 25 minutes, SMUS sought after the equalizing points, but to no avail. Finally, with little time remaining, Sanati scored out near the right corner. With a clutch kick, Hyde-Lay nailed the tricky conversion to level the scores and send the match to “sudden death” extra time.

Happily — at least from a SMUS perspective — things worked out for the best. After some initial Vanier pressure, SMUS capitalized on an opposition handling error and swept downfield. Several bashes for the line were for naught, but prop Jacob Duvenage eventually squirmed over for the winning try.

With the 24-19 victory, SMUS advanced to the BC AAA quarterfinal, to be played May 30 in Abbotsford. The opponent will be #2 seed Oak Bay, with SMUS hoping that “third time lucky” will see the team into the tournament’s final four.

Tennis
by Jamie Prsala, tennis coach

The SMUS tennis team had a very successful week at the BC Provincial Championships. The team put together a solid effort against stiff competition from across the province.

Day one was dedicated to round-robin play, where SMUS was seeded sixth and in a pool with Southridge and Notre Dame. The first match against Notre Dame was a blowout in SMUS’s favour. With nearly the whole team playing a set, it was a clean 11-0 sweep.

Next up was a difficult test against a talented and deep Southridge squad. Starting out down 4-2 after the first round, SMUS battled back to 5-5 with steady play from the boys doubles and an exceptional performance from our girls A doubles team. Ariel Sorley and Emily Hooton managed to defeat a tough girls team in a key set during the second round. Unfortunately, SMUS came up a bit short in the deciding mixed doubles set and lost 6-5. This set up a difficult quarter-final match-up against the top-seeded Collingwood team.

The quarter-finals saw SMUS unable to pull off an upset against the eventual provincial champions from Collingwood. Though the match did not go our way, it was an excellent learning experience to play against many of the top players in BC.

Following the loss, SMUS played in the consolation semi-final against MEI, with the winner moving on to play for fifth and sixth place on Saturday. Despite the rough morning match, our team came out and played some the best sets of the tournament, winning 7-4. Especially notable, was the A boys doubles match-up with SMUS’s provincially-ranked Chris Chan and Adam Weech defeating a pair from MEI with their own ranked player, Bryson Marazzi.

Following the win against MEI, SMUS faced off against Shawnigan. The team put forward an excellent effort, but lost a tough match 7-4, placing them sixth in the province.

The provincials proved to be a fun and rewarding experience. Improving from eighth place finishes in 2009 and 2011 to sixth in 2012 demonstrates the hard work and effort of the players and a tennis program that will continue to compete at the provincial level for years to come.

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