New year, same Tommies

Brendan Murphy, Libero for the St. Thomas University Mens Volleyball team. (Daniel Salas/AQ)

The beginning of the new year means more than just resolutions and goals for some St. Thomas University athletes.

Players from the volleyball, basketball and hockey teams are coming back from winter break and are happy to be back with their teams.

The STU men’s volleyball team had a successful start to their season, winning five of their seven matches. That record has them tied with Université Sainte-Anne for first in the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA).

For libero Brendan Murphy, this is his last year at STU and his only resolution for this year is to graduate with another ACAA title. Murphy said they have a younger volleyball team, so he tries to keep everyone motivated to win.

“Obviously, everybody wants to win, but there is always that thought in the back of your mind ‘if we don’t get it this year, we’ll get it next year.’ I don’t have that thought. I need to win it this year because I’m never going to get another chance to play again,” said Murphy.

Murphy already has two ACAA championships, but to win in his last year would be a perfect way to finish his career as a Tommie. He says the team knows what they have to do to win and that the second half of their season is going to be a tough test.

The men’s basketball team has also had a positive start to their season with a five and three record, which puts them in a two-way tie for third place in the ACAA with Crandall University, as of Jan. 15.

A championship season is Gayo Isaya’s only New Year’s resolution.

“I’m more focused on team goals, especially at this time with playoffs coming up … my only resolution for not just me but my team is to get better every day,” said Isaya.

Isaya wants to avenge a championship finals loss to Mount Saint Vincent University last season and end a championship drought that has lasted over 10 years for STU. He knows it will not come without work and improvement, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Defence is Isaya’s specialty as reigning ACAA Defensive Player of the Year, but he feels there is still room for improvement for himself and his team.

“Before the break we dropped three of our last four games, but we had lots of talks over the break and we are going into the new semester with a defensive state of mind. We are going to clean a lot of things up and try to build our defensive strategies,” said Isaya.

As a captain of the team, Isaya said getting shots up and working out until their break ends on Jan. 22 will be important for his team to ensure that they elevate their game in the new year.

For the women’s hockey team, they had a tough start to the season. Six wins and 12 losses leaves them at seventh place in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) standings.

With one win in the month of November and the whole month of December on break, the team is focused on turning their season around and they have already begun to turn their misfortunes.

A win against Mount Allison on Jan. 7 will hopefully be the first of many in the new year as playoffs in February are fast approaching.

Fourth year defence Aislynn Byers said the team struggled in the first half, but are slowly getting back to their standard.

“I think we were just lacking consistency. I have no doubt that we are going to come out and show each team what we’re about this semester,” said Byers.

The Tommies must act quickly, as there are eight games remaining and they’re 1-3 to start 2023 after being shutout against the Saint Mary’s Huskies 2-0 in their most recent game.

Byers said the team is good at every position, but playing strong and “consistency and what we are working on now.”