After a long offseason of fun in the sun, St. Thomas University student athletes — both new and returning — are ready to kick off this year’s season.
Macey Steeves plays as a fly-half and centre on the women’s rugby team. From the Fredericton area, she describes herself as “a speedy player” who likes a quick game.
She plays in the backfield and is constantly instructing her teammates.
“I read the game, position the team, make sure everybody is set and calls plays. Just constantly yelling and the mouthguard kind of falls out sometimes,” she said.
Standing at only five feet six inches, don’t take her lightly. “I’m pretty strong, I have got some good tackles. I’m quite competitive.”
When Steeves isn’t on a Rugby pitch, she plans to study psychology and hopes to pursue education to teach primary school students. Other than sports and school, she likes to paint and go on hikes with her dog Mindy.
Her expectations for the team this year is to learn and build off each other’s success and failure.
“It’s a learning year for us, so we want to learn how to play as a team, and sort of put all our abilities together rather than play separately,” said Steeves.
Elias Stiphout, a midfielder on STU’s men’s soccer team, hails from Leiden, Netherlands — an hour’s drive southwest of Amsterdam. He caught the eye of the Tommies after he signed up for an online agency that would send applications to university teams across North America.
“The agency sent my profile to a bunch of universities and then [John-Ryan Morrison, STU Men’s Soccer Coach] responded,” he said.
Stiphout says he plans on double majoring in economics and psychology and he’s “more of a relaxed person.”
As a midfielder, Stiphout controls the pace of play of his team.
“I just want to play as much as I can…help the team to win,” said Stiphout.
He noticed that North American soccer is more physical and faster than European soccer, which is more technical — a skill he brings to the team this year where he intends to bring them back to nationals.
“I’m a different type of player than I think the Canadians are used to.”
Former Ottawa Lady 67’s player Payton Jacobs joined the Tommies women’s hockey team this year on defence. She came to STU after she contacted coach Peter Murphy before the 2021 season started to come play for the Tommies. She said the small community reminded her of her home in Richmond, Ont.
Jacobs was brought in for her offensive role on the back line, where she joins rushes and sends shots through to goal.
Off the ice, she’s very shy, but once you get to know her, she’s very energetic.
“I tend to talk a lot and laugh a lot,” Jacobs said. She currently plans to major in psychology.
During the summer, she worked at a farm in her hometown and played in an old barn in Ottawa, but is excited to be in a new hockey arena at the Grant-Harvey Centre.
“Seeing this new rink is like, ‘Oh yeah!’” Jacobs said.
Her ultimate goal is to play and try her hardest.
“Making sure that I can help the team out in any way like assisting or scoring goals,” she said.
With all the new athletes coming in this year, 14 on women’s rugby, 12 on men’s soccer and six on hockey, the rookies will have plenty of time to make a name for themselves and grow as a team.
“We’re going to be together for the next several years, so just working together as a team would be the best thing for us,” Steeves said.