Spectacular weather welcomed alumni, families and friends back to campus last weekend to reunite and receive a dose of school pride. From the bouncy castles to the pitch, new and returning grads mixed and enjoyed themselves. This week’s AR features reports from the alumni matches, the annual rugby game versus Oak Bay as well as tennis and Middle School rugby.
Alumni Field Hockey and Soccer
by Lindsay Brooke
The athletic events of Alumni Day featured two girls sport fixtures. In the first match, this year’s field hockey team took on a cagey and experienced Alumni team. The game was played on grass — relatively unheard of nowadays — which made for some challenging passes and handy stick skills were required. The father-daughter combo of Eric Kjekstad (’65) and Erica Kjekstad (’92) connected for some nifty plays, while Cathy Boraston (’89) and Helen Truran (’90) provided some aggressive attack. Anchoring the back line were Emma Abrioux (’10), Kathryn Wizinsky (’08) and Sarah Beeston (’89).
“It was a little tricky playing in the grass for the girls as they are used to the turf!” said Beeston after the game. “That was good for some (like me, who hadn’t played in years). I think we gave them a good run for their money but during the second half we started to show our age (or less fitness) and they sealed up the win. It was great fun to be out there again.”
As one might expect, the current squad’s conditioning was superior and helped the team to a 4-2 win. Emma Donald, Erin Hope (2), Kasey Boyle all scored on the day to secure the victory.
The second match of the day featured the current SMUS Senior Girls Soccer Team against a tough Alumni team featuring star striker Marta Bakowska-Mathews (’11), who currently plays for NCAA Division 1 powerhouse Florida State, and goalkeeper Olivia de Goede (’09), currently suiting up for the UVic Vikes. These two did not disappoint. Marta was fit, strong on the ball and took advantage of her open looks, netting three goals on the day and pushing the Alumni to victory 3-1. Scoring the lone goal for the current team was mid-fielder Abbey Piazza.
A highlight of the day was the return of beloved coach Wendy O’dwyer (Shergold; coach 1999-2009). Another memorable aspect of the game was the intense and savvy play by current Head Coach Nikki Kaufmann, who donned an alumni uniform.
“It was great to be on the field with my former players and I was very impressed with their game: focused, tenacious, and unwilling to be outplayed by their younger counterparts,” said coach Kaufmann. “Perhaps the only greater honour for me than having coached these remarkable individuals, was the opportunity to play alongside them and share in the SMUS pride they still carry with them as alumni.”
It was truly a celebration of girls athletics at the school and tradition that will continue into the future.
Junior and Senior Rugby
The Alumni Weekend matches vs arch-rival Oak Bay are always much anticipated, and this year was certainly no exception.
In glorious playing conditions, with the sun shining and the temperature hovering around 22C, the Juniors kicked off in the early afternoon. Some excellent team play resulted in tries for first Carson Smith and then David Lee. Up 10-0, SMUS looked in a solid position.
However, a rash of penalties — all of them deserved — then wrested away the momentum, with Oak Bay cashing in on the glut of free possession to score on the half time hooter to trail 10-5.
The second half was a different story. Superior fitness and improved discipline paved the way for six unanswered SMUS scores, three of which were converted by substitute halfback Jonas Robinson. Dotting down were Mitch Newman, Noah Pryce-Baff (2), Angus Catto, Josh Graffi and Aidan McCleary.
Next up for the Juniors will be two matches, scheduled against Shawnigan.
The 1st XV match opened on a sombre note, as both teams and the hundreds of spectators in attendance joined brother Mac (SMUS ’09) and sister Cam (SMUS ’11) in a moment of silence for Oak Bay grad Scott Stone, who tragically passed away just days earlier at the age of 24. Scott attended SMUS before moving to Oak Bay and had taken part in the Alumni Day matches in 2005 and 2006.
Perhaps not surprisingly, SMUS took a long time to settle, with Oak Bay scoring early to lead 5-0 before adding a second tally to extend the lead to twelve. The hosts could do little right, with poor passes, fumbles and a wonky lineout gifting the ball back to the visitors on a regular basis.
Finally, in the 33rd minute came a moment of magic from flyhalf Dawit Workie. He split a packed midfield defence before chipping wide for a chasing Georgios Ikonomou. The fullback snapped up the chance on offer, sweeping in behind the posts. 12-7.
The second half produced some of the best rugby played by SMUS this season. The forward pack, led in tight by Alex Campbell, Chris Bjola, Liam Hyatt and Cole Tamburri, controlled the fringes. Any turned over possession was moved wide, with both wings, Mark Kiggundu and Wayne Lin, coming in to the game and scoring excellent tries. Two other glorious chances then went abegging before grade 10 centre Max Pollen capped an outstanding debut with a try of his own. When lightning fast prop Saeed Shokoya latched on to a pop pass from Workie it was another seven pointer as SMUS stretched out to a comfortable 33-12 lead.
Much in evidence was the support work of Keenan Manhas, Zach Kahn and Clarence Choy in the backrow. Though on the small and light side, this unit has pace to burn in dry conditions.
To their credit, the Oak Bay players battled to the end, securing a consolation try in the right corner at full time.
With the 33-17 win, and a sweep of Oak Bay this season, SMUS now looks forward to an important AA ranking game away to Brentwood on May 11.
Middle School Rugby
by Bruce Kuklinski
Middle School spring 7-aside rugby was played under sunny and warm skies this past week, with the Grade 6, 7 and 8 teams playing their fourth round of games. All the players showed continuing forward progress in their ball skills and game understanding, and are realizing that rugby is an invasion game so that on defense the quicker the team can take up the space between themselves and their opponents, the easier it is to make a tackle.
Teamwork and courage remain a priority, especially with the two Grade 6/7 teams where Alex Shirley, Lucas Bosley, Tony Liu and Finn Goodyear led the way. Amongst the Grade 8 team, it was Sam Kahn and Bryce Forbes who were most to the fore. The Grade 8 season ends this week in hosting the Lower Island jamboree on Friday May 10th. The Grade 6/7 athletes host a 20-team jamboree on Wednesday May 8th. Games in both jamborees kick off at 9:30am and are played throughout the day until 2:30pm. The Grade 6/7 team then ends their season with a trip to the ISEA tournament in Vancouver on Tuesday May 14th.
by Ira Hemond
Going to the ISA tournament was a great experience for the whole team. It got them to play and watch some of the better players in BC independent schools. With the boys taking wins from GNS, West Point and Southridge, and the girls beating Shawnigan, it was great to see everyone come out and play a lot of matches.
The team then went back to playing the school league and won a match against a quality PCS team. After a good fight in the singles category and a few commanding wins in the doubles SMUS finished off with a win. This marks the end of the regular season and a record of 3 wins and 1 loss. This means SMUS is currently ranked 4th coming into islands next week behind Brentwood College, Lambrick Park and Shawnigan Lake. There will be a few tough matches and it will be key for all players to play their best tennis of the season.