The St. Thomas University Tommies coaches want to focus on building from previous seasons this fall.
The Tommies had a great season last year with the women’s hockey team making it to the semi-finals in the Atlantic University Sport playoffs and the women’s soccer team winning the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association championships.
Women’s soccer coach Michelle DeCourcey said the team this year is made up of players with a range of experience and they’re looking to defend their title as ACAA champions.
“We’ll look to get there by taking it one game at a time,” said DeCourcey.
She is hoping her returning players will take on leadership roles and make even bigger impacts this year.
Although the men’s soccer team wasn’t as successful as the women’s team, head coach John-Ryan Morrison believes they have a chance of making it to the ACAA finals.
“Despite our low standing last year, we were actually very strong defensively,” said Morrison. “We’ve had a great recruiting year with eight new faces coming into the squad and each will need to contribute if we are going to be successful this year.”
He said there have been some challenges during training, but if the team can overcome them, they will be successful.
The men’s rugby team will start their season by building up their team.
“We need more players,” said head coach Curtis Lauzon. “We have challenged our team to try to bring out new players from around the school to round out our team.”
The team is also working on bonding as a group.
“We are hoping to build on our team culture. Part of that culture is success on the field, but a bigger portion is focused around success in school and as a group,” said Lauzon.
The team will rely on their returning players as they work to teach the rookies, many of whom are new to the sport.
“Ethan Gentes and Zach Klassen will take a huge role in the physical aspect of our game,” said Lauzon.
“Peter Woulds, Derek Bailey and Jonathan Ginnish will lead our team around the field.”
Despite a young team with 11 new rookies, head coach Meghan MacAfee believes this will be a strong year for the women’s rugby team.
“We have a group of seniors who have been with us through their whole university careers,” said MacAfee.
“They have put a ton of hard work and care into this program and have been showing a real group commitment to leading this team.”
With only a 10-week season, MacAfee said there will be challenges, but their plan is to work hard and play well every game.
“A young team is a challenge and an opportunity,” said MacAfee. “We only have 10 weeks in season to teach a sport, to improve every time we hit the field, and come together as the best possible team at the end of it.”
Athletics director Mike Eagles wants the Tommies to be proud of their school and team.
“As the administrator, of course, you always want to see your teams have success on the field or on the court, but at the end of the day we’re hoping that we have great teams in terms of how they represent us,” said Eagles.
He would like to see the athletes work to be good role models for other athletes and students at STU.
He has faith in the upcoming year and believes the teams will be successful. He thinks both soccer teams have a chance to win titles based on their pre-season efforts and game results.
“We’re excited to see the improvement and what level they can take their games to,” said Eagles. “And the same thing with the rugby teams.”
He said while both teams are young, the coaches and players have put in a lot of effort to develop their teams and are hoping that hard work pays off.
“I’m very pleased with the time and effort that the coaches are putting in to develop their programs,” said Eagles.
He is excited to see the Tommies in action and see the results himself.
“I enjoy sports and the thrill of competition, and the athletes enjoying that is very satisfying to me so I’m looking forward to that.”