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That's Fall Folks!

Monday, January 8, 2007

Written by Stephen Sweet

While sports like volleyball and track and field continue into the winter, there are many others that finished their seasons before the winter break began. Here’s a look back at the fall semester teams and how they fared:

Baseball – The Gryphons’ Men’s Baseball team began the year in contention but just slipped out of it, narrowly missing the playoffs with a 7-11 record. The team dropped five of their last six games in the month of October but look to regroup next season with a similar roster. The team’s shining point was the play of third basemen Matt Bylow, who earned second team OUA honours.

Cross Country – The Guelph Gryphons Cross-Country team was the school’s double-whammy winner, as both the men’s and women’s team won gold at the CIS championships. All 10 runners (male and female) finished within the top 20 nationally in their races, allowing for many high scores. Laura Moulton was the top individual finisher, picking up a silver medal. The team’s coach, Dave Scott-Thomas, had a classic double of his own, winning Coach of the Year honours for both the men’s and women’s teams. This is a sport that isn’t often as publicized as some of the “major” sports, but hopefully the strong performances by both teams will create some noise and interest in the Guelph community.

Field Hockey – The women of field hockey had a fantastic year. After preparing with some exhibition games against some of the best teams in the U.S., they came back home ready to take out the competition. After going undefeated in the U of T invitational, the team put up a sparkling 10-2-2 record, including a five-game shutout streak in October. After making it to the OUA semi-final, they dropped a 3-0 game to York and then a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Queen’s, just missing out on the bronze medal.

Football – The Gryphons nearly started off the season with the upset of the year, by taking defending OUA champion Laurier to overtime before falling in defeat. Two weeks later, they lost at the last second to Western, another perennial powerhouse. Despite convincing wins over Toronto and Waterloo, their season came down to a nationally televised game against Windsor, where they ran out of gas and fell to defeat. The team finished with a 2-6 record in eighth place despite having the fifth most points in the league. Quarterback Justin Dunk finished with almost 2500 yards passing, and veteran Sean Riley led the team with 38 tackles.

Golf – After claiming back-to-back silver medals at the Guelph and McMaster tournaments, the Gryphon women’s team finished two strokes out of medal contention at the OUA championships. The team’s low scorer (the lower the score the better the round in golf) was Lisa Boyko, who earned second team OUA honours. The men’s golf team, coming off of a pair of bronze medals at the Guelph and Windsor competitions, finished fifth in the OUA championships, with second-team all-star Daryl McClure firing a 1-over 73 in the 18-hole tournament to tie for third place.

Lacrosse – The men’s team started out on a torrid pace by winning their first six games. A 7-2 record gave them a favourable position entering the Baggataway Cup playoffs. After a convincing romp over Toronto, the Gryphons fell to long-time nemesis Brock in the semi-finals, but they’ll get their chance at them again next year, and likely with most of their youthful roster still intact as well. The women’s season wasn’t as successful however, as a five-game losing streak in October left them out of the post-season festivities. The team did end off their year on a positive note, defeating McMaster 5-1 in their season finale.

Rowing – All five of Guelph’s entries made it to the “B” finals of the CURC. Both the men’s and women’s heavyweight eights came in third in the B finals, placing ninth overall. Individually, John Hauser placed eleventh in the men’s heavyweight single, not an easy task for even the most advanced rowers. The top finish of the season was the women’s novice eight, at the Brock invite in October. The women finished first of 14 entries, being the lone Guelph entry to capture top spot in the event. With many of the rowers still having years of eligibility left, things can only getting better for the rowing Gryphons.

Rugby – The Men’s team finished the year at 2-6, with their top performance being a 26-0 thrashing over Trent. The women’s rugby team, on the other hand, had a season to remember. After four shutouts and a 4-1 regular season record, they defeated Waterloo en route to the OUA finals in London, against the undefeated Western Mustangs. Thanks to a late try and convert, the Gryphons won 7-5, and were crowned OUA champions. The next weekend, they went undefeated to the CIS championships where they fell to St. Francis Xavier in the final game. Regardless, the Gryphon women came out as tops in Ontario and second overall in Canada, making it an exceptional year on the pitch.

Soccer – Despite starting their season at 2-1-2, the men’s team struggled defensively at times, finishing the season with a 3-8-3 record. Chike Agbasi and Colin MacMillan led the team with four goals apiece. The women’s team finished in the same general range with a 3-9-2 record. After scoring three goals in the opening game, they were shut out seven times during the season and couldn’t find the right balance for their team, despite coming close to winning against top teams on more than one occasion. Both the men’s and women’s soccer programs are expected to improve on where they were last season and possibly even contend for the playoffs in 2007.

Congratulations to all of our athletes on a superb season.

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