The STU women’s soccer team had a season to remember, winning the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association championship. They then took a trip to Halifax to compete in nationals.
Coming off a tough season last year with 3-8-1 record and 11 rookies on the team, they missed playoffs for the second straight season. They came into this season not only better, but with more experience.
With seven rookies this season, STU got off to a hot start, winning three of its first four games. They finished the season with a 5-4-3 record and third in the league.
STU would then beat Mount Saint Vincent University and the University of Kings College in the playoffs to secure a spot in nationals.
“We had our ups and downs throughout the season,” said first-year player Victoria Muise. “We knew we had to step it up and work really hard.”
Muise was one of four Tommies to be named to an all ACAA team all-star.
“[This season] was my most memorable season of soccer … I got to experience these intense tournaments while playing with some amazing women.”
The women’s rugby team fell just short of an ACAA title this season losing in the finals to campus rivals, the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds, in a close competition with a final score of 32-22.
The Tommies had a terrific season with a final record of 4-2. Both losses were against UNB.
They took on the Mount Allison Mounties in the ACAA semifinals winning 44-13. It was their third consecutive season earning silver.
Third-year player Bailey Andrews was proud of her teammates and their season.
“We did well, especially for graduating 14 players last year, we fought hard and showed that we could compete despite our young age. I am hopeful for the coming years.”
The women’s basketball team came into this season young with nine of the 13 players in their first or second year. That didn’t stop them from competing as they took off in the second half of the season.
After going 2-3 in their first five games, the Tommies finished the regular season off strong, going 6-1 and finishing fourth in the ACAA league with an 11-7 record and a spot in playoffs.
The Tommies would take on UKC in the quarter-finals and defeated them 84-73. They then took on the first place MSVU Mystics in the semifinals, but came up short 81-49.
“It was one of the largest growth years I have seen in my 16 years,” said head coach Fred Connors.
“By the end of the year we managed to beat the team that played in the national final, twice. So that’s a long way to go.”
The Tommies had a roller-coaster season, winning 12 of 14 games and then facing a seven-game losing streak.
They finished the regular season with a 12-8-4 record and third place in the Atlantic University Sport standings.
Their first round opponents were the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers in a best 2-of-3 series. The Tommies easily tamed the Panthers, taking game one 3-1 and an 8-1 win in game two. The Tommies then faced the Saint Mary’s University Huskies in the semifinal. They dropped both games, losing the series 2-0 and finishing third in the league.
Team captain Emily Oleksuk was proud of her teammates and their hard work.
“Large contributions were made throughout our entire line up both on and off the ice. Although we didn’t come out with the results we wanted, we took our group dynamic to the next level this year,” said Oleksuk.
“We worked together as one unit through the ups and downs, and I think that is something to be very proud of. All in all, each season it is both an honour and a privilege to be a part of this Tommies family.”
Men’s and women’s volleyball
The women’s volleyball team had a strong season, finishing with a 21-1 regular season record.
They went into playoffs looking to win their seventh straight ACAA championship. They won 3-0 against UKC and 3-2 against Holland College. They went on to face MSVU in the finals but suffered a crushing 3-0 loss.
The men’s volleyball team had an incredible bounce back season. After competing in five straight ACAA finals and winning three of them in 2014, 2015 and 2016, the Tommies streak ended last season after a semifinal loss to the University of New Brunswick Saint John Seawolves.
St. Thomas switched things up in the off-season and recruited Henri Mallet as the team’s new head coach. The team would also bring in seven rookies, making over half of the team first years. The men finished their season 10-7, good enough for second in the league.
Playing at home during the ACAA finals, they used the momentum from the home fans to their advantage, getting revenge on the Seawolves in the semifinals and upsetting the first seeded and defending champions Holland College in the finals.
STU would head to B.C. to compete in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Nationals. With a young team, the Tommies struggled, unable to win a game but gained plenty of experience.
Third-year player Ryan Dickson was impressed with the rookies and their efforts this year.
“All of the guys, rookies right through to our graduates, put in hard work all year long. Whether it be the 8 a.m. workouts on Monday mornings or the last ten minutes of practice Friday night, all of the guys gave 100 per cent,” said Dickson.
“As for nationals, we had the youngest team there and still held our own against some great teams … All in all it was a great season and I’m excited to see what type of damage we can do next year.”