What’s going on in varsity sports? We’re here to tell you.
Here, we have assembled all you need to know about what the Golden Bears and Pandas have been up to since last May. Read on for season recaps, major storylines and players to watch. Looking for more in-depth information? Click each team title to see rosters, box scores, and statistics!
The Golden Bears tennis team — made up of seven singles players — won the Canadian University Tennis Championship, which took place in Montreal this July. The victory against the University of Toronto was the team’s second title in three years. Second-year Business student, Mark Hamill, was named tournament men’s MVP and Bear’s coach Cory Stewart was awarded coach of the year.
The Pandas took bronze in their Championship tournament, defeating McGill University, for their seventh medal in as many years. Third-year Phys Ed & Rec student, Kristina Sanjevic had a perfect record in both singles and doubles play during this summer’s championships and was named women’s MVP.
The tennis season runs every summer from May to August.
Through six matches of ongoing Canada West league play, the Golden Bears squad remains the only undefeated team. Highlighting the season has been the arrival of first-year Arts student, Ajeej Sarkaria, who leads the league in goals (8), assists (4), points (12) and shooting percentage (0.500). In the last two weeks, he has won consecutive Canada West male athlete of the week honours. The Bears are on the road this week for a match against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds on Friday, September 16th and the University of Victoria Vikes on the 17th.
After two matches, the Pandas are 1-0-1, drawing against the University of Winnipeg Wesman and defeating the University of Manitoba Bisons. In a game which they outshot the Wesman 21-3, the Pandas were unable to find the back of the net in a 0-0 draw. Second-year Phys Ed student and keeper, Cassie Bazzarelli, has yet to give up a goal this season and is tied for league lead in goals against average and save percentage.
Both the Pandas and Bears saw crucial departures from last season, losing Julie Ignacio and Moe Teliani from their respective rosters. The Pandas continue their season against the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack on Saturday, September 17th and September 18th versus the UBC Okanagan Heat.
Coming off of yet another losing season, the Bears are looking to turn a corner in 2016, with a roster featuring both seasoned players and promising young talent.
Visiting the defending CIS Champion UBC Thunderbirds in week one of the season, the Bears pushed the T-Birds in a highly competitive loss, falling 39-24. Looking to rebound quickly in their home opener against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, the Bears had some bright spots on defence but couldn’t muster any offensive production (only managing two trips to the red zone), leading to a final score of 29-17 Huskies.
Positives so far include the play of fourth-year Business student, Ed Ilnicki, at running back who has been averaging 119 rushing yards per game (which is second in Canada West) and second-year Arts student and running back Alex Bradley who leads the league with two rushing touchdowns.
The Bears are travelling to Winnipeg this week to face the University of Manitoba Bisons in a battle of winless teams. The game will take place on Friday, September 16th.
The University of Alberta golf team will host the Alberta Invitational Golf Tournament at Red Tail Landing in Nisku on Saturday, September 17th. Players to keep an eye on include Kristen Lee and Quinton Bunten-Walberg who both represented the U of A at the FISU World University Golf Championships in France last June.
Pandas rugby will open their season at home against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns on September 17th. This will be the first time the Pandas will play their games at Foote Field.
As the most successful Canada West team of all time, holding a conference-leading 11 titles, the Pandas are coming off a stinging semi-finals loss in Canada West playoffs against the UVic Vikes. After last season, the team has seen three key players graduate, leaving room for new recruits to step up in 2016. Look forward to CIS All-Canadian and Canada West All-Star, Amanda Smith, to lead the offence. The fifth-year Education student and scrum half led the Pandas in tries (4) and points (20) last season.