Following a jam-packed two weeks of sporting action, SMUS reached the Thanksgiving break. There were many encouraging performances from various teams, as the fall season moved inexorably towards local and Island qualifiers, with provincial championships right around the corner.
The Senior School Cross Country teams competed twice in league meets, first at Henderson Park and then at Cedar Hill. In the former event, Tion McLeish dominated the Junior Boys race, with Calum Webber-Smith not far behind. Both the Senior Boys and Senior Girls squads placed second overall, thanks in part to fine efforts by Flavius Meinecke, Nicholas Herrmann, Angel Lan and Sophia Tafel.
It was more of the same on a difficult Cedar Hill course. Meinecke placed fifth in the Senior Boys race, with Izzy Champion fourth at Senior Girls level. McLeish continued his very impressive form, making it three first-place finishes from three, after romping home yet again in the Junior Boys event.
At the younger levels, there were numerous other solid performances. In Middle School Cross Country, Owen S. came in second in the Grade 7 boys race, while Grade 8 girls Janet A. and Sierra J. both finished in the top five, and Parker S. did likewise in the Grade 6 boys event. Then, among a slew of spirited and hard-working Junior School Cross Country runners, Gabby and Rhys Beare won their respective Grade 3 races. In addition, Piper (Grade 3), Amelia (Grade 4), Max (Grade 5) and Remy (Grade 5) ran strongly.
The Senior Girls Field Hockey team claimed comfortable league victories over Claremont and Lambrick Park but fell 2-0 to Mount Douglas. Then, in the prestigious Bridgman Cup during the Thanksgiving weekend, SMUS won three of five matches, with gritty performances versus AAA powerhouse Cowichan, Little Flower Academy, Claremont, Argyle and West Vancouver.
Suzie Stone continued her exemplary play, with Lauren Fracy and Julia McDermott solid on defence in support of keeper Jessie Cheng. Fay Hoefer and Eva Cuddihy scored key goals, while the team’s passing game and general support play moved to a new level.
There is no let up-for the squad, with a key league game against Glenlyon Norfolk School looming on October 16 before the ISA tournament at Crofton House two days later.
On the Senior Girls Development front, SMUS managed wins over Brentwood and Reynolds before losing an exciting contest to Oak Bay. Ava O’Connor, Olivia Kiedaisch and Maki Yamamoto performed well.
The Senior Boys Soccer team continued with league play, hoping to find consistency with Island AA playoffs just three weeks away. A powerful Mount Doug offence allowed the team to score twice from the penalty spot en route to a 4-3 win. However, a much more composed Blue Jags effort two days later against Stelly’s produced a slick 7-0 victory, with Efosa Imasekha, Callum Colgate and Will Kinahan each notching a brace. Alessandro Persiani recorded the shutout.
Next up are important league games against Reynolds and Claremont on October 15 and 17.
The Senior Boys Development side lost to Glenlyon Norfolk School, battled to a scoreless draw against Vic High and then put on a passing and finishing clinic to beat Brookes Westshore 6-0. Key games at Belmont and home to Lambrick Park loom on the horizon.
Meanwhile, the Junior Boys, after a bronze medal finish at the ISAs, competed in league games versus Oak Bay and Stelly’s. In the first of these two encounters, Sam Shariaty and Campbell Wilson helped create numerous chances, while Stuart Dobyns made several quality saves. In the eventual 1-1 draw, Finn Klenz looked to have registered an injury time winner, only to see the ball swept off the line at the last minute by a Bays’ defender.
Against Stelly’s, a superb Pablo Mackissack free kick was then matched by an equally impressive opposition set piece effort. The Stingers, despite the best efforts of Blue Jags’ midfielder Omar Rosales, then slid home the winner with four minutes remaining.
The U15 Girls Soccer team faced off against Glenlyon Norfolk School days before heading to Montreal to compete in the CAIS U15 Girls Soccer Tournament. The Blue Jags played to a closely contested 0-0 draw against GNS but won 5-3 in a penalty kick shootout at the end. In Montreal, following a tough opening day at the CAIS Tournament, a young SMUS team bounced back to win its final three games, moving the ball well and not conceding a single goal in the process. In net, Alex M. played very steadily, with the contributions of Madeleine A., Olivia V., Kiyomi N. and Avery G. also crucial.
The Senior Girls Volleyball team completed play in the eight-team “A” pool, running both Pacific Christian School and Vic High close thanks to excellent defence from Katie Rothwell and Claudia Murr. The team now moves to crossover challenge matches to secure City playoff seeding. Also, SMUS will take part in the 48th annual Western Canadian Independent Schools Volleyball Championship at Rundle College in Calgary this week. This high-quality tournament has invariably been a key event in terms of post-season preparation, and this year should be no different.
The Junior Girls A squad played extremely well in winning all eight sets in league games versus Mount Doug, Pacific Christian School, Belmont and Claremont. Highlights included outstanding serving by Lauren Rust and powerful hitting from Makena Anderson.
The Junior Girls Development team was almost as successful, winning nine and tying one of 12 sets in league play. Paige Rothwell, Alex Brown, Sofia Quon, Charlotte Kessler and Sophia Hedler all brought great energy, especially in exciting match-ups versus Glenlyon Norfolk School and Parkland.
On the Senior Boys side, the athletes traveled to the mainland for the highly competitive, 20-team Argyle tournament. SMUS performed very capably, playing 18 sets over the two days. While a tough 17-15 loss to Steveston-London cost the team the chance to top its pool, the players, led by All-Star Karter Fry, setter Kyle Stenberg and first-time libero Eddie Kim, rebounded nicely en route to a sixth-place overall finish.
The tournament certainly provided some momentum in league play, with the team returning home to split sets with AAA rivals Royal Bay and Oak Bay before sweeping Vic High.
The Junior Boys remain committed to getting better with each outing. Ryan Cheng and Albie Gong have shown tremendous leadership, with Ben Ingimundson an effective middle blocker.