(Submitted by Josh Fleck)

For Vanessa Soffee, St. Thomas University was an obvious choice. While coming off a championship season with the Fredericton high school Black Kats, only STU and the University of New Brunswick Saint John wanted to recruit her out of high school. But being close to home and getting a chance to play basketball made the choice clear.

“I think I knew from the start I was going to choose STU,” she said.

On Nov. 19, Soffee, a second-year STU student was named Female ACAA Athlete of the Week.

Soffee and the Tommies’ women’s basketball team defeated two nationally ranked teams, while Soffee had an all-around stat line with nine points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals in a 77-63 win against Mount Saint Vincent University. The next day Soffee scored a game-high 16 points, just two points shy of tying her career high, in a close 61-58 win against the University of Kings College Blue Devils.

Soffee said she is proud to be named Athlete of the Week and to represent STU Athletics and the ACAA.

“It’s definitely a good feeling,” Soffee said.

“Obviously there are so many great athletes in the league.”

Soffee has been a key piece to the Tommies during her time at STU. She isn’t new to earning awards at this level. In her rookie season, Soffee was named the 2018-19 ACAA Rookie of the Year after a season where she averaged 7.5 points per game and four rebounds a game. The Tommies made it all the way to the ACAA finals that year, with Soffee being a key contributor. 

This season, Soffee has played well again, boosting her stats in every category. The five feet four inches tall guard from Fredericton has averaged 11 points per game along with five rebounds and four assists. Her shooting numbers have gone up as well, improving to 25 per cent for three pointers and an overall 38.6 per cent for her field goals. The Tommies are currently second in the ACAA with a 4-1 record.

“We’ve started off the season really strong and we’ve had some really solid games,” Soffee said.

“We’re pretty strong but it’s still early and we obviously still have a lot to work on but I think we have a pretty good shot this year.”

So far, her time at STU has been pleasant. Soffee enjoys being close to home and the small campus atmosphere.

“I grew up around the program and as soon as I got recruited and spoke to to coach [Fred] Connors, I knew there wasn’t anywhere else more perfect to play.”

“It’s been a lot of fun so far.”