Athletics Review: Spirits Not Damp


In this week’s AR, Susanne Walker-Curry throws down numbers like rain, SMUS takes the reins in rugby and the field hockey girls hope to reign as provincial champions.

Rowing 28th City Championships Regatta Results
by Susanne Walker-Curry

“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” – Mia Hamm

Fifty-four athletes, seven coaches and a number of parents enjoyed the 28th City Championships this past weekend. Over two days of racing, the team endured fog and buckets of rain, but mild temperatures. SMUS entered 12 of the 25 events and competed against 18 other high schools, making seven finals. As a result of all of their great racing and teamwork, the team ended up sixth.

To the coaching staff: Sarah Aylard, Danielle Beare, Ruby Walser, Mike Lewis, Richard Curry and Brett Malcolm, thank you! To all the rowers: stand up and take a bow — you are awesome! Congratulations! VIVAT!

Overall, we had the following set of results from the finals:

1st (gold)

2nd (silver)

3rd (bronze)

4th

5th

6th

3

2

1

1

0

0

Event

Result

Athletes

Senior Novice Girls 4X

1st

Tina Yu, Dayna Fitzgerald, Ayumi Tomishige, Lauren Quong
Senior Novice Boys 8+

2nd

Marco Caffaro, Gareth Croft, Zak Klein, Tomasz Koziol, Wayne Lin, Kevan Lo, Chak Yu Chan, Ong Tangjintanakarn, Wyatt Lutes
Junior Novice Girls 8+

2nd

Anika Johnson, Natalie Blecha, Tyne Cairns, Kara Jebbink, Charlotte Colby, Desiree McIntosh, Martha Cohn, Sarah Hagkull,
Katelyn McAulay
Junior Novice Boys 8+

1st

Max Yong, Henry Liu, Vladyslav Bobrovnyk, John Throne, Harrison Xu, Simon Hassel, Ben Parker, Ethan Otto, Chloe White (Cox)
Junior Novice Boys 4x

3rd

Jacob Walker, Harrison Xu, Vladyslav Bobrovnyk, Ethan Otto
Senior Boys 2X

4th

Jacob McCallum, Brody Watkins
Senior Boys 1X

1st

Jacob McCallum

Junior Girls Volleyball
by Benson Young

On October 19th and 20th, the team traveled to Brentwood College to compete in the ISA tournament. The 12-team tournament had schools from the Island and some strong mainland representation. SMUS had York House, Brentwood College, and Aberdeen Hall (Kelowna) in their pool; arguably as strong as or stronger than the other pools. York House had a strong offense – a good setter with strong attackers from all three positions. In addition, for whatever reason, our team was not prepared to play. Losing both sets 17-25, with the whole team playing in both sets, the team licked their wounds. After a fitness session and a wake-up talk from the coaches, the team responded exceptionally well in the next two matches. Although Brentwood had a couple of tall, strong middle blockers, SMUS exploited their weaknesses in serve receive and back row defense. The entire team executed offensively well and played defense with desire and desperation. The identical set scores of 25-21 in both sets were not indicative of the play as SMUS outclassed Brentwood in all facets of the game. In the next match against Aberdeen Hall, a weaker opponent, all players had floor time leading to two comfortable set victories. Finishing second in pool play, the team felt good going into Saturday’s cross-over playoff against Crofton House, a strong team from Vancouver.

Against my old school and coaching colleague, the SMUS girls came ready to play from the first whistle. The contest was an intense, competitive match that had the typical momentum swings and long rallies of higher level volleyball. Despite some good individual points and strong overall play, Crofton took the first set 25-21. In the second set, some memorable highlights included strong serving from Emily Hooton and Sarah Hagkull, an amazing one-handed dig by Flora Manson-Blair and a few “stuff” blocks from Jennifer Shan and Keeley Copeland. SMUS started the set well and the offense, led by setter Robyn Noel, really had some good spikes from power and middle positions. SMUS prevailed 25-18 and were confident going into the third set. After a decent start and an 8-7 lead at the court switch, the Jags made a few more errors than the opposition did and lost a nail-biting 18-16 set. Overall, this was a great experience for the team to be forced to sustain play at a high level.

With a crushing defeat that put SMUS out of the medals, it was difficult to re-group and play for 5th place against West Point Grey Academy. Resting all of the girls who played most of the previous match, the Jags competed well but lost the first set. In the second set, aggressive spikes and serves were too much for the WPGA defense to handle. Unfortunately, looking both mentally and physically fatigued, the SMUS squad was unable to defeat them in the third set – losing 15-13. Despite two close defeats to close the tournament, the team used the experience to progress further as league play concluded the following Monday.

Hosting both Claremont and GNS, the team was in a position to secure a spot in the “A” city playoffs, something which just eluded last year’s team. Arguably the class of the entire 20-team city league, Claremont had a dominant middle hitter and setter. Although we had a bit of a slow start, SMUS had some memorable points. Jennifer Shan owned the net with three “roof” blocks to the floor. Sarah Hagkull had some strong swings from the power position and Emily Hooton was a pillar of consistency. Cindy Kim worked hard and effectively as our libero, digging and saving numerous strong spikes and well placed down balls against us. When given a good pass, SMUS setters, Robyn Noel and Flora Manson-Blair, were effective in giving the hitters something to swing at. Trailing 21-12, the Jags had a huge push and closed the margin; however, the first set ended in a 25-20 loss. The second set was a competitive struggle that went back and forth but they made a few less errors in winning 25-23. Against GNS, the Jags’ better skills and aggressive play put them over the top, defeating them 25-19 and 25-14 using a mixed lineup in both sets. The team then hosted an exhibition match against Lambrick Park in which all four sets were competitive. The teams split sets in this final tune-up before playoffs.

The team placed third in the division for the City Championships this coming weekend. The top three teams in the eight-team tournament qualify for Island Championships. It will be a challenge to secure a berth but we hope the girls play their best volleyball, regardless of their final placing. The team travels to Oak Bay on Friday November 2 and then host the final games on Saturday.

Field Hockey
by David Kerr

The field hockey team has been quietly preparing for their first provincial championship for many years. Last Monday, they played Oak Bay for bragging rights as the best team in Victoria, and came away with a tight 1-0 loss up at UVic. The SMUS team had a clear territorial and possession advantage in the first half, but Oak Bay turned the tables in the second half and scored late on. Nonetheless, it was a solid performance by the SMUS girls.

SMUS then played an exhibition match at Shawnigan Lake School on Sunday afternoon. The score was 3-1 in favour of the home team, with Arden Mollenhauer scoring an absolute beauty from a short corner. The first half unraveled for SMUS with uncharacteristic nervousness and a lack of intensity. However, the whole bench played, and the team didn’t concern themselves much about the score. The team dinner afterwards at the Donalds’ house was lively and very well received! Thank you!

And now on to the provincials. The team leave on Tuesday afternoon for Burnaby, and play Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We are seeded second in the province, so we have high hopes! Look for updates on the Facebook page as the week goes along!

Grade 9 rugby
by Ian Hyde-Lay

The season came to an end on November 2 with an exciting 31-24 win over visiting Collingwood. Strong performances by Leo Shang, Myles Duncan, Josh Kahn, Jonas Robinson, Michael Wong-Harrison and Artem Sakhbiev were key in the five tries to four victory.

To their credit, despite a slippery surface and pouring rain, both sides looked to move the ball at every opportunity. A six-minute purple patch, midway through the second half, saw SMUS score three tries to break a 12-12 stalemate. However, Collingwood stormed back with two tallies of their own, setting up a grandstand finish as the hosts looked to hang on.

Overall, despite a 3-7 record, the SMUS team has grown in leaps and bounds. In a number of the defeats, lack of size was a determining factor. Nonetheless, the players improved enormously over the ten weeks, displaying wonderful spirit and togetherness. Hopefully, the majority of them will stay committed to the game in the years ahead.

Special thanks to coaches Spencer Robinson, Clayton Daum and Fraser Lyle for their expertise and enthusiasm.

Junior Boys Soccer
by Jeff Taylor

In the final week of the season the boys were busy. They started the week playing Reynolds for the City Championship and ended the week by playing them in their final game of the season.

On Monday, the team hosted Reynolds in the city final. The team started well, passing and enjoying a good deal of possession. Matty McColl was the first to grab a goal and put SMUS up, 1-0. Soon after, Reynolds tied it up. The scoring went back and forth until Alex Carrion scored one of three on the day, the last, a dramatic overhead kick that found the keeper fully stretched. SMUS took the City final, 5-2.

Monday’s victory emboldened the boys, and they went into the Island Championship full of confidence. In their opening group game on Friday, they faced Brentwood, their old foes from the ISA finals. Conditions were wet, and, as a result, the tournament was moved off-campus to turf fields. For some of the players the turf surface proved a new challenge and early on in the game passes went astray at times. In the tenth minute, a cross field pass was picked off and the Brentwood striker went through on goal to score. Just before the half, though, Matty McColl sneaked through the backline and drew SMUS level. In the second half, Brentwood pressed and eventually managed to put one past Ryan Totz, who had already made some excellent saves, keeping us in the game. It was an unfortunate result, with Alex Carrion and Owen Sudul having some excellent chances to score. The game ended 2-1 in Brentwood’s favour.

In their second game, the boys found themselves up against GNS. The last time they met led to a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw. This time round was déjà vu all over again. In the opening minutes of the game, Alex Carrion found the back of the net, slotting home a beautiful ball and SMUS had the momentum. Soon after, however, GNS’s best attacker broke through on goal and was taken down just outside the box. The resulting free kick was put beyond Ryan’s gloves. In the second half, Kieran Large dribbled through a few GNS players and smashed a ball past the opposite keeper. After the boys went up 2-1, they continued to push on and pressed their opponents. In the dying minutes, however, the same GNS attacker broke through on goal and was again brought down. The resulting free kick hit the crossbar and dropped in. The game ended in a 2-2 draw, a result that would prevent SMUS from winning the tournament. The highest the boys could finish would be third. And that is exactly what they did.

In the final group game, SMUS met Carihi, hosts of last year’s tournament. The contest was a testy affair with many hard crunching tackles flying in. In the second half, in fact, a Carihi attacker was booked for a second yellow and sent off. Down to 10 men, the Campbell River team held out until the final 10 minutes when Alex Carrion was dragged down in the box and Matty McColl converted the penalty and SMUS took the game, 1-0.

After round robin play SMUS was dead even with GNS, so a penalty shootout was required to determine who would play Reynolds for third. Graeme Hyde-Lay was huge for us in goal, saving two shots from the spot.

The final game of the season – for third place on the Island – was also the most enjoyable for all the boys. The pressure was off, and they were all given the opportunity to express themselves and have some fun. Alex Carrion managed two goals in the 4th and 6th minutes, both great strikes. Michelangelo Cernucan and Hari Ikonomou were solid in the heart of defence, while Jason Scully and Jake Wilmott kept the flanks quiet. Both Noah Pryce-Baff and Alec Keech kept pressure on the Reynolds defenders, creating a few chances themselves. Grant Nicholson, Ryan Cui, Owen Sudul, and Gavin Maxwell worked tirelessly in the midfield to break up the opponent’s attacks and help retain a clean sheet in the end. The game, and indeed the season, ended with a very convincing 2-0 victory.

All in all, a positive season: ISA Champions, City Champions, and third place in the Island Championship. The next couple of years look very promising for this bunch, many of whom will move up to the senior team next year. The coaches would like to thank the boys for all their hard work and dedication over the last few months.

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