This past weekend, the Thunder Badminton team posted some incredible results at the 2016-17 ACAC Championships hosted by Olds College. The weekend started off with the team event on Saturday. The Thunder played Kings University in the semi-finals where they cruised to a 6-1 victory. In the best of 7 final, the Thunder were able to win both the Ladies Singles with Takeisha Wang (Gold) and Rachael Smillie (Silver) as well as the Women’s Doubles event with Rachael/Takeisha teaming up. Unfortunately the Thunder couldn’t find another win anywhere else even though there were some very close matches. In the final tally, the Thunder fell to the NAIT Ooks 4-3 and claimed the Silver Team Medal.
Saturday night at the Championship banquet, no less than FIVE Thunder athletes were recognized as ACAC All Conference selectees, with Concordia recording more AC athletes than any other school. On the ladies side it was Takeisha Wang, Rachael Smillie and Kassidy Turcotte getting the nod while on the men’s side it was Connor Reinson and Braxton Wong taking the honours. Head Coach Kevin MacAlpine was also honoured as the ACAC Badminton Coach of the Year.
On Sunday it was time for the Individual competition and National qualifying. Concordia had 6 people qualify for the CCAA Nationals which will be held at Seneca College in Toronto from March 8th to 11th. They claimed two Gold medals, two Silver medals and one Bronze medal at the ACAC Championships. It started with the Singles event where Takeisha Wang continued her dominance of the Women’s Singles division just like she has done all year. She defeated this season’s Player of the Year from NAIT 21-9 and 21-10 in the finals to win the Gold medal. In the Men’s division, Connor Reinson won the Silver medal, losing a close match to NAIT in the finals but qualifying for the ACAC Wildcard team. Braxton Wong won a Bronze medal as well. In the Doubles division, Rachael Smillie teamed up with Cecilia Wolski to win the ACAC Gold medal in Women’s Doubles. On the Men’s side, Braxton Wong teamed up with Luc-Ly Nguyen and they finished with a Silver medal as well, also qualifying for Nationals on the ACAC Wildcard team.
Overall, there were some very impressive results and the Thunder should have many great chances for medals at Nationals this year!
Edmonton, February 18, 2017 – The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference is pleased to announce the 2016-17 Men’s and Women’s All-Conference Badminton Teams.
Andy Ko, NAIT
Connor Reinson, Concordia University of Edmonton
Nicholas Roque, NAIT
Imran Wadia, NAIT
Braxton Wong, Concordia University of Edmonton
Sherry Hahn, Olds College
Ryo Kuramochi, NAIT
Rachael Smillie, Concordia University of Edmonton
Kassidy Turcotte, Concordia University of Edmonton
Takeisha Wang, Concordia University of Edmonton
Edmonton, February 18th, 2017 – The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference is pleased to announce that Concordia University of Edmonton’s Kevin MacAlpine has been selected by his ACAC peers as the 2016-17 ACAC Badminton Coach of the Year. The honour was bestowed upon MacAlpine at the 2017 ACAC Badminton Awards Banquet hosted by Olds College on February 18th, 2017.
This is Kevin’s eighth season at the helm of the Concordia Thunder Badminton program (2009 – 2017). Previous to that, Kevin was an Assistant Coach at Concordia from 2005 to 2009 and was mentored in that role by the 2014-15 ACAC Coach of the Year, Naeem Haque. This is Kevin’s second consecutive ACAC Coach of the Year award and third overall honour having received the award in 2011, the same year he also received the nod as the CCAA National Coach of the Year.
Kevin’s involvement in the sport of Badminton goes back over 16 years. He competed as an ACAC athlete for Concordia from 2001 to 2005 and began his coaching career while still a player when he accepted the Head Coaching position at Salisbury High School in 2003, a position he held until 2007. A math teacher at ME Lazerte High School, Kevin was the coach of their Badminton team in 2007-08 and then again from 2012 to the present day. Kevin has also mentored a number of past and current ACAC Badminton players as the Coach of the Zone 5 Badminton team at the Alberta Winter Games in 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.
With every game crucial to the playoff picture for the #12 CCAA ranked Thunder, they were able to hold off the hot shooting Augustana Vikings on back to back nights this past weekend moving their conference record to 19-3 (25-6 overall) and within one game of clinching the ACAC North title for 2017. Out in Camrose on Friday the Thunder led wire to wire but some late 3s and missed free throws allowed the Vikings to stay within striking distance in the final 3 minutes but would not be able to complete the comeback as the Thunder ended up on top by a final score of 83-78. Leaders for the Thunder – Ryan McLaren with 26 points and 10 rebounds, Mike Malin notched 22 points and 6 rebounds. Euriah Pemberton had one of the best games of his career tallying 8 points but hauling in a career high 17 rebounds. Kwame Kang added 10 points and 6 rebounds starting in place of the injured Bevan Purnell.
In the final home game of the season on Saturday, the Thunder would come out of the gate slow and allow the Vikings to go up as many as 11 points in the first quarter but a 24-2 run would have the Thunder back up 9 by half. They would be able to push the margin to 11 heading into the 4th where once again the Vikings would find their touch from deep range and make the home side work to the bitter end for their 71-69 victory. Leaders for the Thunder – Ryan McLaren with 18 points and 9 rebounds, Will Pittman was huge off the bench with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Brett Jakubec and Euriah Pemberton both poured in 11 points with Mike Malin rounding out the double digit scorers with 10. “(It is) always good to win against another playoff team. Augustana has continued to improve all season. They are playing with a lot of confidence and played hard for all 80 minutes this weekend. I was happy we were able to withstand their runs and overcome our errors to pull out two wins. We still have a lot of work to do before March and our trip up to Grande Prairie this week will serve as another excellent opportunity to compete against a well-coached team, hungry to finish out their season with some wins. We have goals we are still working towards in the regular season so we need to play our best basketball this week to achieve them.” – Coach Wood.
Following the final two regular season games in Grande Prairie the Thunder will turn their focus to the 2017 ACAC Championships in Medicine Hat. Tournament goes March 1-4 at Medicine Hat College.
For the Women’s Basketball team, this weekend was a special one and especially so for three young ladies, as they would be playing their final game on the Thunder home court. Lindsay Piper, Nakita Newman and Ann Stewart will be moving on next year and the team, coaches and athletics staff appreciate all they have done and accomplished in their Thunder jerseys. “This was a special weekend for everyone. For these three ladies, the relationships they have built with their teammates, coaches and students at our institution is something they will never forget,” stated Coach Valpreda. But before their celebrations were to be put in place, the Thunder took on a hungry and energetic Vikings team in Camrose, knowing that the Vikings were fighting for the last playoff spot in the North. “We had an excellent week of practice and we prepared for them as best we could. We know what the Vikings do well and we tried to take those things away from them.” That they did, as the Thunder jumped out to an early 22-9 lead after the first quarter. Concordia kept their foot on the pedal and continued to play excellent basketball taking a 48-28 lead into halftime. “At this point in the season it’s all about being great for the full forty-minutes, to continue to get better going into the post-season.” One of those players who led the charge was 3rd year player Lacey Weddle. Lacey played tremendous defense and on the offensive end, made some great shots and assisted her fellow players also for easy buckets. The Thunder took the W with a 84-66 victory. “We talked about playing hard for each other tonight, working hard to get open to create easy shots. This is a really tough gym to play in and we just put up 84 points so I would say we worked pretty dang hard,” opined Valpreda. Congratulations to Player of the Game Lacey Weddle.
Saturday evening the Thunder were back at the RKAC for their final home game of the season. “You could tell that emotions were running high but in a positive way, as the Thunder would recognize those individuals moving on. As the game started, the Thunder were not quite as sharp as the night before. “They had more on their minds and knew what tonight meant for everyone. We seemed a bit flustered to start. We weren’t ready to go right off the bat. We had such a great performance the night before and we have to try to be more consistent as we move forward.” Eventually the Thunder would settle down and start to control the game, going into halftime with a 39-27 advantage. In the second half, the Thunder were exceptional on defense holding the Vikings to just 2 points in the third quarter. “Defense is something we can always control. We can hustle, rebound and defend.” The Thunder did that and those defensive hustle plays would create easy baskets on the offensive end with the Thunder taking the 69-37 win. The Player of the Game was Lindsay Piper.
“Tonight was more about Lindsay, Nakita and Ann. They are all exceptional student athletes and have all helped to build this program to what it is today. Lindsay has been with the program since the beginning through the rough times and stuck with it to see the success. Ann was given another chance to continue her studies and basketball here at Concordia. She never gave up and continued to work hard on and off the court being selected last season as a CCAA Academic All-Canadian. Finally, Nakita Newman with her leadership and experience is what this team needed to find success. She always provided her teammates with feedback for them to understand what it takes to win. That knowledge, along with her hard work and effort on and off the court have made her an invaluable teammate. Thank you to these three young ladies. Thank you for allowing me to have coached you and see you grow in your time at Concordia”.
The Thunder Indoor Track teams raked in the medals at this weekend’s Alberta Indoor Games held at the University of Alberta. In the Ladies 1500m, the Thunder women took 4 of the top 5 spots led by Ana Zulic in 2nd place, Elise Nawrocki in 3rd place, Brynn deVries in 4th place and Shelby Edgar in 5th place. Zulic, Nawrocki and deVries all ran new personal bests for the distance. In the Men’s 1500m, Ian Lee finished in 3rd place, also running a new personal best.
In the ladies 600m Mienna Starosielski continued her stellar rookie season, finishing 4th overall and inching closer to the school record with a new personal best time. Haley Dunwoodie and Baylee Frissell were next across the line for the Thunder, finishing in 5th and 6th. In the Men’s 600m Keith Spruyt was the top Thunder man across the line in 6th place with Brad Agnew in 7th, Mohammed Abdullahi in 8th and Jackson Murrell in 9th.
On Day 2 of the meet in the Ladies 3k, Elise Nawrocki was the sole Thunder competitor and managed another personal best for the 2nd time, finishing 2nd overall. In the Men’s 3k, Ian Lee finished in 3rd spot. In the Ladies 1k, Anna Zulic made it 2 for 2 with another personal best time and helped drag Baylee Frissell to a new personal best time in the process. They finished in 4th and 5th places. In the Men’s 300m, all of the Thunder runners ran new personal bests led by David Bargiel in 10th, Keith Spruyt in 12th, Brad Agnew in 13th and Jackson Murrell in 14th. Bargiel, Spruyt and Agnew all doubled back an hour later with Ian Lee to finish in 2nd place in the 4x400m, improving the team’s best time for the season by nearly 10 seconds.
The Indoor track teams will take next weekend off before heading down to Lethbridge to compete in the 2017 ACAC Indoor Track Championships. Last year the men’s team took the overall title while the ladies ended up in 3rd place behind MacEwan and Lethbridge.
The Thunder Men’s Volleyball team had one heck of a weekend to finish off their 2016-17 season. Friday was an unforgettable night for the team as fifth year Right Side and team Captain Connor Reeves played his final home game and went out with a bang. The Thunder came out firing and took the first set handily posting a 25-11 score in just 18 minutes. In the second set, the Thunder started out the same as the first but Augustana found their legs and although they gave the Thunder a good fight, came out on the losing end once again with a set score of 25-23. The third set saw a resurgent Vikings team take to the floor and hand the Thunder their first set loss 21-25. The fourth set was a fight to the bitter end. With the Thunder down 23-22, third year Left Side Keenan Forstey went back to serve and he finished it off in style with an ace at 24-23 as Concordia took the fourth set and the match in Connor’s final show at the RKAC. “Connor was excellent Friday earning Player of the Game honours and topping the night off with a proposal to his long time girlfriend and member of our women’s team Shandelle Meyer,” proudly stated Head Coach Lucas Jacobson.
On Saturday the Thunder traveled to Camrose for the final game of the year. “It wasn’t always great volleyball, but we pushed our final match to the very limits we could. Unfortunately for us we dropped the fifth set 21-19 in a hard fought battle by both teams,” remarked Jacobson. Connor Reeves was once again named as the Player of the Game. “We finished our season with 7 wins; a huge improvement from years past. We are taking big steps in taking our volleyball program to an ACAC conference tournament in the very near future,” concluded Jacobson.
The Women’s Volleyball team ended their season squaring off against the Augustana Vikings from Camrose and came away with two losses. On Friday playing at home, the ladies came out with high energy and took the play to the Vikings right from the start. However, they were unable to sustain that energy and the Vikings took over the match and won in four sets with scores of 25-19, 25-13, 22-25 and 25-17. Nina Kutzner-Dudas was the Thunder Player of the Match.
On Saturday, playing in Camrose both teams wanted to finish their seasons on a positive note with a win and fought for every point. The match could have went either way but in the end the Vikings came out on top with scores of 25-23, 25-23 and 26-24. Shandelle Meyer was the Thunder of the Match.
Coach Turner’s comments from weekend: “Overall we gave it our best but in the end we were unable to score the big point when we needed it and came away with two losses. As a team we did some really good things this year, but we need to get better in some areas of the game and I will evaluate that in the next couple of weeks and continue to build this program to the level it needs to get to.”
Here is this week’s recap of the Weekly Athletics Newsletter. Please click on the title bylines below to open each complete article on the Athletics website.
The Concordia Thunder Women's and Men's Basketball programs will be holding a Spring ID Camp on Saturday April 1, 2017 at the Ralph King Athletics Centre at Concordia. The Women's team will go from 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM & 2:00 – 4:00 PM and the Men's team from 12:30 – 2:00 PM & 4:00 – 6:00 PM.
For more complete information, please click on the PDF link below.
The Thunder Women's Volleyball team has thrown off the shackles of defeat, notching their first regular season match victory in almost three years. Travelling up north to Fort McMurray to take on the Keyano Huskies, the ladies were determined to change their fortunes and break that goose egg in the win column. In Friday night's tilt, the ladies came out with a sense of urgency and played some exciting volleyball building a two set lead with scores of 25-21 and 25-20. However the Huskies did not quit and pressured the Thunder in the next two sets, winning 20-25 and 12-25 to set up a fifth set. With the Huskies continuing their momentum from the 4th set they built a four point lead right from the start. The Thunder battled back and continued to play side out volleyball but could not erase the lead as the Huskies were up 11-7 and looking like they would win the match. "This is when the team found that extra effort and pushed back, forcing the Huskies to make a couple of errors and letting the Thunder take over the lead," glowed Head Coach Trever Turner. With the opportunity to close out the set and the match, the ladies stepped up with a great dig and finished off the Huskies winning 17-15 to take the match. Shandelle Meyer was selected as the 'Thunder of the Match.
In Saturday afternoon's match, both teams looked a little tired from the previous night and the energy was low on both sides resulting in numerous errors that neither team could capitalize on. Concordia pushed hard throughout the match and forced a fifth set but could not finish at the end and came out on the other end of the result losing 25-23, 18-25, 25-21, 11-25, and 15-13. Shae McDonald was the Player of the Game.
Coach Turner summed up the big weekend thusly: "We've been practicing very well this semester and I was very happy to see the ladies get rewarded for their hard work this year with the win on Friday. We have some very good student-athletes and they finally realized this weekend that if we apply the mental part of the game to the physical side of it, we can be successful. On Saturday, fatigue may have played a part in the loss but I give credit to the Keyano Huskies as they played hard throughout the match and finished their season on a positive note. We wrap up our season this upcoming weekend and we want to do the same thing so we will continue to be better."
The Thunder will finish off the season with a home and home series against the Augustana Vikings. The home match – and Senior's Night presentations – will go Friday at 6 PM at the RKAC.
The Thunder Indoor Track teams took part in two track meets this weekend, one here in Edmonton on Saturday and then one in Calgary on Sunday evening.
On Saturday, a few of the team members took part in the Golden Bear Challenge hosted by the UofA. In the 600m, Mienna Starosielski became the 2nd fastest 600m Thunder runner all of time, finishing in 18th place overall in a new personal best time. Haley Dunwoodie also ran a personal best for the distance, becoming the 4th fastest Thunder runner of all time over the 600m distance, finishing in 22nd place overall. In the Men's 600m, Jackson Murrell ran a personal best to finish in 18th place overall. In the Ladies 1500m, Rachael Smillie set a new personal best to finish in 20th overall while Ana Zulic did the same, finishing in 22nd place overall in the university competition.
On Sunday in Calgary, the team took part in the Trojan Invitational hosted by SAIT. In the 3000m, Elise Nawrocki and Ana Zulic ran new personal best times and finished in 5th and 6th places overall. On the men's side, Ian Lee and Mo Abdullahi did the same, both running new personal best times to finish in 8th an 15th places overall. In the Men's 300m, David Bargiel and Keith Spruyt ran new personal bests to finish in 6th and 9th places overall, moving them into 9th and 10th in the all-time Thunder rankings for the 300m distance. Brad Agnew and Jackson Murrell finished in 14th and 19th places, respectively.
In the 1000m distance, Rachael Smillie moved into the #2 all-time Thunder ranking, finishing in 3rd place overall and running a new personal best. Rookie Mienna Starosielski continued her strong season, also running a new personal best to finish in 6th spot overall and become the 4th fastest Thunder runner of all time over this distance. Baylee Frissell finished in 8th spot (also a PB), Bailey Troccoli-Hughes ran a season best time to finish 12th, Haley Dunwoodie was in 13th place (also a PB), Brynn deVries was 14th overall (also a PB) and Shelby Edgar finished in 16th place overall. On the men's side, Keith Spruyt doubled back to finish in 11th overall in a new personal best time for the distance, moving himself into the #8 all-time position.
In the 4x400m relay, the Women's A team set a new school record, improving their time by 2 seconds from the last race to finish in 4th spot overall. The team was composed of Baylee Frissell, Haley Dunwoodie, Rachael Smillie and Mienna Starosielski. The Women's B team composed of Troccoli-Hughes, Nawrocki, Zulic and deVries also ran very well to finish in 8th place overall, also improving their time from the first meet. The Men's team composed of Brad Agnew, Jackson Murrell, Ian Lee and David Bargiel finished in 8th place, taking over 10 seconds off their time from the first meet.
Next up for the Thunder Indoor Track teams is the Alberta Indoor Games being hosted this weekend at the UofA.
This weekend the Thunder played a pair of games against the top ranked NAIT Ooks. Friday night at NAIT, the Thunder played a great first period and found a way to grab a 1 – 0 lead on a big goal by Brady Bakke. However the Ooks came out strong in the second period and despite Patrick Carlin's first ACAC goal, the Thunder trailed 4 to 2. The third period was fast paced and the Thunder had many chances to pull closer to the Ooks but at the end of the night the Thunder fell 5 to 2.
Saturday night at home saw the Thunder get off to a tough start with the Ooks scoring two goals in the first 3 minutes. Brady Bakke continued his hot streak with another goal late in the period but the Thunder trailed 4 to 1. In the second period the Thunder got a power play goal from Rory Davidson and a shorthanded goal from Colin Minardi but entered the third trailing 6 to 3. In the third period the Thunder ran out of gas and the game ended up as a 9 to 3 win for the 1st place Ooks.
The Thunder now enter a bye week at exactly the right time with multiple nagging injuries throughout the roster. Following the bye week the Thunder will face the RDC Kings to close out the regular season.
After winning four of their last 6 matches, the Men's Volleyball team was brought back to Earth on a tough weekend up in Fort McMurray. Coach Jacobson opened his comments stating, "after a long day of travel on Friday we lacked energy and had trouble executing our system. That – combined with a very good Keyano team that was firing on all cylinders – was a bad recipe for us." The Thunder lost the quick match 3-0 with set scores of 25-19, 25-16 and 25-23. Connor Reeves was named Player of the Game.
Saturday was a touch better for the Thunder but with the powerhouse Huskies facing them across the net, they needed to be more than a bit better. "The effort was there but the execution was lacking again as we dropped another quick one 3-0. This loss took us out of playoff contention," lamented Jacobson. Nic Dove was named Player of the Game Saturday.
The Thunder will look to finish off the season on a high note this weekend against a tough Augustana team, at home Friday night and in Camrose on Saturday.
Here is this week's recap of the Weekly Athletics Newsletter. Please click on the title bylines below to open each complete article on the Athletics website.
The Concordia Thunder Women's and Men's Volleyball programs will be holding a Spring ID Camp on Saturday March 18th, 2017 at the Ralph King Athletics Centre at Concordia. The Women's team will go from 9:00 – 10:30 AM & 12:00 – 2:00 PM and the Men's team from 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM & 2:00 – 4:00 PM.
For more complete information, please click on the PDF link below.
The Thunder Men's Volleyball team is on a roll and had their best weekend yet, earning their first sweep against a tough Lakeland team. On Friday the team travelled to Lloydminster and came out hot, taking the first set 25-21. The team got behind in the second stanza and almost battled back, forcing the set to extra points before losing a 30-28 decision. But Concordia came 'thundering' back in the third set, thumping the Rustlers 25-14. The Thunder found themselves down early in the 4th but fought back hard to win in extra points 26-24, taking the set and the match 3-1. Player of the Game was 5th year Captain Connor Reeves.
On the return trip to the RKAC on Saturday night, the Rustlers came in with attitude and stiffened their defense and pushed the Thunder all evening long. "Saturday we didn't have our best (night), but the guys fought hard in every set. The guys had to come back from being down at some point in all three sets but the tenacity paid off," stated proud Head Coach Lucas Jacobson. The Thunder eventually took the match in straight sets 25-17, 25-23 and 26-24. The Thunder Player of the Game was Setter Marc Langevin.
The Thunder will look to continue this strong stretch by the team against the first place Keyano Huskies this coming weekend in a two match set up in Ft. McMurray.
This weekend the Thunder took more positive steps towards securing a playoff spot as they travelled to Caronport SK to take on the Briercrest Clippers. On Friday night after spending most of the day on the bus, the Thunder got off to a great start. Rory Davidson scored on the power play and Phil Dillon added another to help the Thunder to a 2 to 0 lead after 1. In the second period Adam Wheeldon scored both on the power play and shorthanded to establish a 4 goal lead for the Thunder. However the Clippers responded with 3 quick goals and the game once again become a tight contest. Late in the 3rd the Thunder would get goals from Phil Dillon and Chase Fallis to win 6 to 3. Adam Wheeldon was the star of the night for the Thunder with 4 points.
On Saturday the Thunder struggled to find their rhythm despite taking a lead into the 2nd period on goals from Connor Reinson and Brady Bakke. Going into the third the Thunder trailed 3 to 2 but were able to tie the game on a goal from scoring leader Ian McLellan. The game would go to overtime and with 1 second left the Clippers won on a controversial goal that appeared to be gloved into the net. Despite the 4 to 3 loss the Thunder were able to pick up 3 points on the road and now have opened up a 7 point gap on the final playoff spot.
Coach Dan Glegloff was happy with the team's determination. "I thought that our team was able to battle through plenty of adversity in these games. Our special teams was strong and once again our goaltending was the backbone for our team." Adam Wheeldon – who had a 5 point weekend – echoed those sentiments "The team showed some excellent toughness this weekend. It is nice to see everyone contributing and playing for each other."
This weekend the Thunder take on the defending ACAC champion NAIT Ooks and hope to see everyone out to support the team!
In a battle for 1st place, the Thunder and Ooks squared off this past weekend in the most crucial series of the year. Game one at the RKAC would be an uphill battle for the Thunder as they fell behind by 11 points at the half. The Thunder were able to cut that deficit to 3 late in the 4th but were unable to find a way back on top and saw their CCAA best 14 game win streak come to an end with an 84-76 loss. Leaders for the Thunder – Ryan McLaren with 18 points and 8 rebounds, Mike Malin with 17 points and 5 rebounds, Brett Jakubec added 14 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists with Kwame Kang coming in off the bench to score 12.
The rematch at NAIT would again start slow but a furious rally in the second quarter had the Thunder up 2 heading into the break. Coming out of the gates strong in the 3rd, the Thunder would push their advantage to 10 by the end of the 3rd and wind up finishing off the Ooks by a final score of 96-75. Leaders for the Thunder – Ryan McLaren with 26 points, Mike Malin notched a huge double double with 14 points and 14 rebounds and Bevan Purnell set a new career high with 14 points along with adding 5 rebounds. Ben Grimsrud, Brett Jakubec and Kwame Kang all added 10 apiece in a very balanced night for the Thunder. “(It was) tough to lose the Friday game in our own gym but we answered the challenge well on Saturday at NAIT,” said Coach Reagan Wood. “We have to continue to work towards playing that ever-elusive 40 minute game. When playoffs roll around we cannot afford to have slow starts or lapses in our decision making for any kind of extended stretch. Our goal is to be ready for March and we still have 4 more tough league games to help us get there.”
The Thunder will enjoy some time off this coming weekend and resume ACAC North play on the 17th with a trip to Camrose to face the Augustana Vikings.
This past weekend, Thunder Women’s Basketball went up against the top team in the North – and the 7th ranked team in the nation – the NAIT Ooks. Friday night's tilt at the RKAC was a physical affair that saw the Ooks go up 25-18 after the first quarter. “We were playing well but we needed to do a better job at contesting their perimeter shots as NAIT likes to shoot a lot of 3’s,” explained coach Valpreda. Going into halftime the Ooks were up 45-32. Coming out of the halftime, the teams traded baskets for most the quarter but it was the leadership of Shyanne Walton that sparked the Thunder. The Captain did all she could, getting on loose balls, pushing the tempo in transition and supporting her teammates in every facet of the game. Her effort and enthusiasm was contagious on the Thunder bench as the teams matched points in the 3rd quarter at 13 apiece. Fourth year Guard Jordan Lembryk – whose stats don’t always show up on the score sheet – did an outstanding defensive job on Torey Hill. “Jordan is tough. She battles, she works hard and she does all the little things; she held Torey to 12 hard-earned points.” In the end the Ooks took the win 77-57 over the Thunder. The Thunder battled all four quarters and NAIT hit some tough shots. “They shot 20 3-pointers and we gave them 9 of them. We knew they live and die by the 3 and tonight they made them," concluded Valpreda. Congratulations to Shyanne Walton who was the Player of the Game.
Saturday Night the Thunder was looking to bounce back on the Ooks court. They responded with a fast start, taking the first quarter and continuing that momentum in the 2nd. “We looked great. This is the most focused I have seen us all year. We're making the adjustments that we talked about and playing really well,“ glowed Coach Valpreda. Going into halftime the Thunder were up 24-23. However, it would be a big task for the Thunder to keep that focus and stay on course for the next two quarters. As the second half began the Thunder continued to play hard, jumping out to a 12pt lead in the 3rd quarter. “All I could say in the timeouts was to keep going, keep doing what we have been doing. We're playing well; stay positive with each other.” However, led by their veterans, the Ooks would battle back and cut Concordia’s lead down to 2pts going into the 4th quarter. In the 4th, it was both teams trading baskets right until the end forcing the game into overtime. Pushed to the limit by the Thunder, the Ooks rose to defend their home court and took the win 66-61. Even though the Thunder didn’t get 'the W', they made a statement to the top team in the North. "The execution of our game plan was superb. It’s the best this team has played yet,“ crowed Valpreda. "I’m proud of these girls. Of course we wanted to walk out of there with a win but we challenged the top team in the north, the #7 team in the country to overtime on their court. We bounced back from a 20pt loss the night before and had the character and toughness to do that. I’m very proud to coach such a great team.”
Concordia has a lot to look forward to going forward into the last few games of the 2016-17 season. Lacey Weddle is starting to come into the player the coaches know she can be, Ann Stewart is becoming the inside presence everyone knew she could be and the rest of the team is continuing to get better each practice. Congratulations to Nakita Newman who was the Player of the Game with 20pts, 3 steals and 4 rebs.
The Thunder will have a bye weekend coming up before they finish off their last four games of the season at the end of February.
The Thunder Badminton team played host to the rest of the ACAC this past Sunday and finished with another solid 2nd place team performance. Takeisha Wang led the Thunder again this weekend with a first place finish in the Women's Singles category and a 3rd place finish in Mixed Doubles with her partner Braxton Wong. Connor Reinson continued to battle through some injuries but also managed a respectable 4th place finish in Men's Singles. Braxton Wong and Kassidy Turcotte both won the consolation side for Men's and Women's Singles, respectively. In Women's Doubles, Rachael Smillie and Amanda Cao finished in a solid 3rd place and teammates Kassidy Turcotte and Cecilia Wolski finished in 4th place. Kaylee Morris and Teisha Ouellette also had a strong performance winning the consolation side in Women's Doubles. In Mixed Doubles, Connor Reinson and Rachael Smillie also finished in 4th place.
Overall it was a great performance by the Thunder and they look forward to the ACAC Championships in a couple weeks in Olds where they will be trying to go for the gold in the team event as well as qualify some players for Nationals. "The Thunder have many great chances to qualify athletes and if they continue to improve and push hard the next couple weeks, I think there will be some great results for team," vowed Head Coach Kevin MacAlpine. The Thunder will indeed head down to Olds College to contest the ACAC Championships on February 18th and 19th.
A few of the members of the Thunder Indoor Track team took part in the UofA Twilight meet this past Friday night. Rachael Smillie finished 3rd overall, running a new personal best time and moving up to #2 on the all-time rankings. Lannie Houle finished 5th, also running a new personal best and moving into #6 all time for the 3000m. In the 300m, Mienna Starosielski broke her own 300m school record and finished in 3rd place overall. Haley Dunwoodie was 4th, also running a new personal best. On the men's side, Brad Agnew finished in 3rd and Jackson Murrell was 4th, both setting new personal bests for the distance. In the 1k, Ana Zulic was 6th, Baylee Frissell was 7th and Bailey Troccoli-Hughes finished in 8th spot. Zulic and Frissell ran new personal bests for the distance, moving them into the #3 and #4 spots all time for the distance. On the men's side, Mohammed Abdullahi finished in 20th in a new personal best, moving him into the #9 spot all time.
Next up for the Thunder Indoor teams will be the Trojan invitational in Calgary on Sunday.
The struggles continue for the Women's Volleyball team who played a home and home series versus the Lakeland Rustlers and came away with two losses. On Friday playing in Lloydminster, the Rustlers showed why they are one of the top teams in the North as they came at the ladies right from the first whistle with their aggressiveness in all aspects of the game. The Thunder did not respond well to it and lost in three straight sets 25-21, 25-12 and 25-11. Tianna Smith was selected as the Player of the Match for the Thunder.
In Saturday's return engagement at Concordia, the Rustlers continued their aggressive play from the previous night and the ladies once again did not accept the challenge and lost the first 2 sets quite handily. In the 3rd set, the Thunder opened the game with some energy and decided to compete with the Rustlers and took the set to force a 4th. However, the energy level did not match the previous set and the team lost the set and the match. Scores were 25-8, 25-18, 21–25 and 25-17. Megan Bieraugle was the 'Thunder of the Match.
Coach Turner's comments from the weekend – "Once again we did not respond to pressure from the other team and it showed with the scores of each set. At this stage of the season, all teams have picked up their intensity level as they prepare for playoffs. We need to understand that the level of play is not the same now as it was in September. When we played with that energy level in the 3rd set on Saturday we were successful. That needs to be there all the time not for one set. The next two weeks will be a great indication of whether we want to play with that energy level every day."
The Thunder will now 'take it on the road' as they head up to Ft. McMurray for a two game set against the Keyano Huskies.
Here is this week's recap of the Weekly Athletics Newsletter to our Faculty and Staff. Please click on the title bylines below to open each complete article on the Athletics website.
The week started off with great news for the Thunder Men’s Basketball squad as they moved to #11 in the nation when the CCAA National rankings were released on Tuesday. But with that news, the team knew that the target only grew bigger for the top team in the ACAC North and facing rival King's they were sure to be in hard fought battles. On Friday at King’s, the Thunder were able to jump out to a 10 point lead but saw that slip away and trailed by 3 heading into the fourth. A resilient Thunder team was unfazed and took the fight to the Eagles in the 4th quarter besting them by a 32-9 spread and took home the 80-60 win. Leaders for the Thunder – Ryan McLaren with 19 points and 6 rebounds, Brett Jakubec with 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 6 steals, Euriah Pemberton notched 13 including 3 massive dunks in the second half and Mike Malin rounded out the double digit scorers with 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Game two back at the RKAC would start slow for the Thunder who would only lead by 1 at the half but would ride their defense in the 3rd and 4th pushing the spread to 22 and winning by a final tally of 78-56. Leaders for the Thunder on Saturday – Mike Malin with 23 points and 8 rebounds, Brett Jakubec with 15 points and 7 rebounds and Ryan McLaren adding 14 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. “It’s always nice to have balance in your scoring, especially amongst your first group but what has really been giving us the edge of late is our bench. We’ve had great effort and production at both ends of the floor from the guys coming in. As we push deeper into the season it becomes more and more important that we get contributions from more players. We have a balanced team that can get input from lots of places so it’s great to see it happening.” said Coach Reagan Wood.
Coming up this week – the defending National Champion NAIT Ooks, in a series that will likely determine first place in the ACAC North. Friday's game goes at the RKAC at 8 PM with the rematch at the NAIT Gym on Saturday evening.
At the half way point of the second semester, the Thunder Women's Basketball team kept the momentum going when they faced the King's University Eagles. Game one on Friday night took place at King's and although the Thunder came out and set the tone early, the Eagles stormed back with key three-pointers and trips to the line taking back the momentum from the Thunder. Going into halftime the Thunder were up 37-26. Coming out to start the third quarter, the Thunder committed three turnovers in a row, allowing the Eagles to cut the deficit down to five points. After taking a time out to reinforce and refocus the Thunder’s goals, Morgan Dool led the way with a spark from the bench and provided the energy needed for the Thunder to seal the deal with a 73-49 win. “Morgan has great potential and gives us the energy needed off the bench. She continues to provide a lift for this team and gets everyone going,” stated Coach Valpreda. The Thunder also got much needed support from Shyanne Walton who again showed her leadership, providing the team with 6pts and 9rebs and from Nakita Newman with 20pts and 8rebs. Some stats that stood out; the Thunder got 27pts off turnovers and 10pts off transition baskets. Congratulations to Morgan Dool who was Player of the Game with 15pts, 5 rebs and 2 stls.
Saturday’s night’s game was back on Thunder home ground and right away the ladies jumped out to a 10-0 run and looked very happy to be back in their gym. Nakita Newman started it off with two 3-pointers and Ann Stewart followed up with some nice baskets under the rim. Getting out to the early lead gave the Thunder opportunity for some of the younger players to get out and get some game day experience. First year Guard Allison Raitz had a couple of baskets drop for her. Allison's rookie teammate Gracie Fox also contributed with some great rebounds and finishes around the rim. Going into halftime, the Thunder were up 42-24. “We are playing well in the first 20 minutes; we have to continue to play that well for a full 40 minutes thought, especially when we're playing the top teams in our conference. It's great for everyone to have an opportunity to get long minutes and it helps us as a whole team to get better,” said Coach Valpreda. Going into the last 20 minutes of the game the Thunder again set the tone and speed of play, with veteran Ann Stewart having a a big 'bounce back' game from the night before. Stewart played with more patience and control and was a true force under the rim. The Thunder won the game 73-49 and Ann Stewart was the POG with 16pts, 6 rebs and 2 blks.
The Thunder now face the NAIT Ooks who are first in the north and ranked #6 nationally. “We need to have a great week of practice and focus in on the little things. NAIT is very experienced with their veteran core and are playing very well. I believe if we come ready to play it should set up for a good two games,” conclude Valpreda. The home game will go Friday night at 6 PM at the RKAC.
The red hot Concordia Thunder Curling teams showed up to melt the ice at the ACAC Winter Regional last weekend. Both the Women's and Mixed teams clinched first place in their respective divisions on their way to the ACAC Championships. Concordia’s Mixed Curling Team went undefeated at the Regional, winning 7 straight games. They came to perform and did so impressively, starting the weekend off against MacEwan University with a 9-4 win. After the Fall Regional, the Mixed team was sitting in 3rd place among 8 teams, but after mowing down all comers this past weekend, they ended their qualifier competitions with a combined 12-2 record, pushing their way into first place and now with an eye on an ACAC Mixed title.
The Concordia Women’s team continued their battle for first with teams trailing right behind them in the standings. As the weekend wound on, the Thunder Ladies defeated NAIT, MacEwan, Lakeland College and the UofA Augustana, losing only one game to Red Deer College by an 8-6 margin. With their performance, the Thunder Women prevailed overall and have themselves firmly ensconced in the 1st place spot as they prepare for the ACAC Championships. The Thunder's Regional play record overall was a very impressive 8-2.
Coach Dylan Theroux had this to say about his athletes: "All 8 of these athletes are very skilled in the game of Curling. They have brought their talents to each and every regional this year and are always ready to perform. I have been blessed to work with kids that love the game as much as I do and to see how much they want to succeed in their attempts at provincial and national titles. Before every game I ask my athletes what they want to work on this game. I have yet to see a game where they weren't 100% committed to perfect their craft and to become better athletes. I believe this is a key part of the success we see today as both teams move on to the ACAC Championships next month. The athletes get along very well, they listen very well and they perform even better. These next few weeks are going to be tough as they practice and work to maintain their abilities and look to get Concordia those Championship banners!"
The ACAC Curling Championships will take place in Vermilion, hosted by Lakeland College from February 24th to 26th.
The Thunder Men's Volleyball team has been coming into their own over the past couple of weeks and had an excellent showing this past weekend against the 2nd place King's Eagles. The Eagles – who are ranked #14 on the CCAA's National rankings list – found themselves on the surprising end of a 4-1 set loss on their visit to RKAC on Friday night. "Friday was one of our best matches of the year," beamed Head Coach Lucas Jacobson. "We were really firing on all cylinders." The Thunder dropped a close first set 25-20 and then came 'thundering' back with three straight tenacious set wins to take the match 26-24, 25-18 and 25-17. Player of the Game was fifth year Right Side and team Captain Connor Reeves.
Saturday was another entertaining match as both teams played excellent high energy volleyball. Unfortunately for the Thunder, King's had their pride wounded on Friday night and really came to play in front of their home fans, taking the Thunder in 4 sets 25-17, 25-27, 25-18 and 25-19. Third year Libero Damien Leroy was named the Player of the Game. "Overall (it was) an excellent weekend for our boys and a great confidence booster as we head into another tough weekend against a talented Lakeland team," concluded Jacobson.
The Thunder will indeed face the Lakeland Rustlers this coming weekend with the home matchup going Saturday night at the Ralph King Athletic Centre.
The Thunder Indoor Track teams kicked off their 2016-17 season at the MacEwan Open on Saturday. Rookies Mienna Starosielski, Haley Dunwoodie, Brad Agnew and Jackson Murrell all made their debuts for the teams, running the 300m event with Dunwoodie, Agnew and Murrell all running personal bests in the event. Starosielski meanwhile set the school record for the event in her first race for the Thunder Women's Indoor Track team, finishing in 6th place overall. Second year runner Baylee Frissell was the lone Thunder athlete to take on the 600m, finishing in 9th place overall and running a 3 second personal best time for the event while 4th year runner/soccer player Brynn deVries tackled the 1000m event on her own, finishing in 9th place overall, just 1 second off her best time.
The rest of the Thunder Indoor runners competed in the 1500m with the ladies packing in well together in the 1st heat, led by Captains Rachael Smillie and Shelby Edgar, who finished in 7th and 8th place, respectively. Second year runner Bailey Troccoli-Hughes was 9th, 3rd year runner Ana Zulic was 10th, 2nd year runner Elise Nawrocki was 11th and rookie Lannie Houle finished 15th. Nawrocki and Houle both set personal bests for the event. In the men's 1500m, Captain Ian Lee and rookie Keith Spruyt chased down their coach in their heat to finish in 8th and 9th places, respectively while rookie Mo Abdullahi finished in 12th spot overall. All 3 runners set new personal bests for the event.
In the 4x400m relays, the ladies team consisting of Frissell, Dunwoodie, Smillie and Starosielski ran the 2nd fastest time ever for the Thunder to finish in 6th place overall while the team consisting of Houle, Zulic, Nawrocki and Troccoli-Hughes finished in 8th place overall. "This was a really good start to the season," said Head Coach Matt Norminton. "A few PB's and a school record; we're off to a good start!"
The Indoor teams will next take part in a UofA Twilight meet being hosted by the UofA on Friday evening, February 3rd at the Universaide Pavilion.
The Thunder Women's Volleyball team went up against the #5 ranked team in the country over the weekend and came away without winning a set against the powerful King's University Eagles. On Friday night the ladies played some great side out volleyball for the first set. However once the Eagles stepped up their intensity, the Thunder simply could not match it and lost in straight sets 25-20, 25-11 and 25-22. Julia Heupel was selected as the 'Thunder of the Match'.
In the return match up at King's, the ladies lacked any enthusiasm on the court and the Eagles ran away with an easy win. Scores were 25-12, 25-21 and 25-19. Team Captain Madi Masterson was named as the Player of the Game. Coach Trever Turner had this to say about another tough weekend in the trenches for the Thunder: "When we had the whole team engaged in the match, we played some tough, intense volleyball and put the Eagles on their heels. Unfortunately we only did that for 19 points for the whole weekend and at any level, you will not succeed with that kind of performance. We can be a very good volleyball team when we realize that the effort needs to be there all the time. It's a part of the game we are struggling with or we don't want to make the commitment to it. I'm not sure why because as a coaching staff we talk to the ladies about it daily. This level of collegiate competition takes a lot of work to be successful and we hope the ladies understand that."
Next up for the Thunder will be a pair of games with the third place Lakeland Rustlers. The home match will go Saturday night at 6 PM at 'the Ralph'.
The Concordia Thunder Women's and Men's Soccer programs will be holding the first of several Spring ID Camps on Saturday February 4, 2017 at the Commonwealth Stadium Indoor Turf Field. The men will go from 9:00 – 11:00 AM with the women's team following from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM.
For more complete information, please click on the PDF link below.
Today marks a change in how we present the content of the Weekly Athletics Newsletter to our Faculty and Staff. Rather than having each story published separately on the Employee Homepage, we will henceforth be publishing this 'Recap' article each week which will summarize all the Athletics news for you in a single submission. As was the case in recent months with the 'multiple submissions' format – and with that of the Weekly Athletics Newsletter itself previous to that – please click on the title bylines below to open each complete article on the Athletics website.
The Thunder Men’s Basketball team keeps finding ways to the win column, rattling of their 11th and 12th straight conference wins and improving to 14-2. The Thunder are now in sole possession of first place in the ACAC’s North Division. The opponent this past weekend was the Keyano Huskies. In game one the Thunder led wire-to-wire, downing the Huskies 84-66. However on Day 2 the Thunder would be in tough as the Huskies would respond with a strong start, but hot 3-point shooting from Will Pittman and Ryan McLaren vaulted the home side back on top before the half and they would not relinquish that lead, holding off Keyano by a final score of 84-74. Leaders in game one – Ryan McLaren with 24 points and 10 rebounds, Mike Malin stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 5 steals. Brett Jakubec also had a well-rounded game with 13 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
In game two on Saturday afternoon, Ryan McLaren again led the way with back-to-back double-doubles notching 23 points and 10 rebounds. Will Pittman had a career high 17 points off the bench while Brett Jakubec rounded out the double figure scorers with 11 points and 5 rebounds. “We shared the ball well.” remarked Coach Reagan Wood after the pair of wins. “We had 38 assists over the two games this weekend which is great. That’s a sign that we are playing the way we need to be. We still have many areas to improve on but as long as we remain dedicated to team basketball, not only on offense but at the defensive end as well, we can be competitive with anyone.”
Next up for the Thunder – a home and home with east Edmonton rivals King’s who always battle the Thunder hard. Both 8pm starts, the first game will go Friday at King’s with the rematch Saturday back at the RKAC.
Battling injury and illness, the Thunder Women's Basketball team stared down adversity and took the fight to a very tough and physical Keyano Huskies squad. “This past week has been rough for us. We have had individuals with injuries who haven’t practiced and others who were under the weather," opened Coach Valpreda. In spite of the adverse circumstances, the Thunder jumped out to a 21-10 lead after one quarter on Friday night, with some of the bench support players taking over for those starters who couldn’t go. In the second stanza, the Huskies battled back outscoring the Thunder 17-11 and going into the halftime with ten offensive boards. “We have to do a much better job keeping them off the glass. They're very physical and as we were not 100% healthy; we allowed them to push us around." In the second half. the Thunder recovered and set the tone, taking it to the Huskies and outscoring them 34-26 in the paint. One of the focal points of the game was the play of the 'three amigos' that stepped up and carried the team to a 64-57 victory; Nakita Newman (12pts), Sofia Lucadello (15pts) and Ann Stewart (13pts, 10rebs). “Those three gave us the momentum going into the third quarter. We got bench play also from key people and overall it helped us win tonight’s game. It wasn’t pretty and I knew it wasn’t going to be with the week we had but we got through it and never gave up.” Congratulation to Sofia Lucadello who was the Player of the Game.
Saturday afternoon’s matinee game was a quick turnaround for both teams. Coming off a hard fought win the night before the Thunder knew again they would have their hands full again with the Huskies. “They're fighting for a playoff spot like everyone else in this league at this time of year. We have to match their energy and effort,” stated Coach Valpreda. It was all Huskies in the first frame as Concordia started the game with five turnovers in a row and the Huskies taking an 11-3 lead. The Thunder looked as if they had no energy whatsoever at both ends of the floor and Keyano jumped all over it. It wasn’t until the bench came in for the Thunder that a spark was ignited. Rookie Allison Raitz hit a 3pt shot that led to a surge for the Thunder to tie the game up at 13-13 and then take a 15-13 lead after one quarter. In the second, the teams traded points with the Huskies taking a razor-thin 31-30 lead going into the half. "We looked a little too content with the win the night before and I had to emphasize the need to play with more urgency and energy to get back in this game," stated Valpreda. With less than a minute left in the third quarter, the huskies were in the lead 64-63 when Morgan Dool hit a clutch 3 pointer from the corner to put the Thunder up 66-64. “Morgan was big for us, especially in the 4th quarter, scoring 8pts and making a big shot; her teammates found her at the right times”. The Thunder beared down, played some gritty defense and with a favourable jump ball call and some clutch free throws made by Morgan and Michaela Barkwell, closed the game 70-66 for Concordia. The Thunder were really tested and "their toughness and character prevailed, giving us the victory," crowed Valpreda. Not to go unnoticed was the play of the two seniors on the team; Nakita Newman with 16pts, 6rebs, 2 assts and Ann Stewart with 17pts, 11rebs and 3 assts. Stewart was also named as the Thunder's Player of the Game. “I’m proud of this team in how we played this weekend. We didn’t make excuses and everyone did something to help with the two wins. We now have time to heal up and rest before we play a much improved and dangerous team in the Eagles from Kings,” concluded Valpreda.
The Thunder will head across the river on Friday night to visit the 'Eagle's Nest' before coming back home for the Saturday night's 6 PM tip off.
This weekend the Thunder continued their march towards securing a playoff spot with a pair of games against the Augustana Vikings.
On the road Friday night, the game got off to a shaky start for the Thunder as they trailed 2 to 0 only 4 minutes into the 1st period. Tanner McCorriston then shut the door on the Vikings and allowed the Thunder to find their legs. Ian McLellan scored near the end of the first and then added a second goal early in the third to knot the game up at 2. In the third period the teams traded chances until Romano Morrison intercepted a pass and deposited it in the net to give the Thunder their first lead. Jakob Lavoie would score his first ACAC goal into an empty net and the Thunder would prevail 4 to 2 for their third straight win.
Back at home on Saturday night the Thunder would open the scoring with a goal from Phil Dillon. After 2 quick goals by the Vikings in the second, Ian McLellan would score shorthanded to tie the game at 2 for the second straight night. This time however the Vikings would be the team to take the 3 to 2 lead and hold on for the win despite a late push from Concordia.
The Thunder now sit 4 points ahead of Briercrest and Portage for the final playoff spot in the ACAC with just 6 games to go. The weekend was promising for Concordia as they played very well against a strong veteran team from Augustana. Captain Colin Minardi weighed in with his thoughts on the weekend. "It's great to see our team playing well at the right time. We are getting contributions from throughout our lineup and the attitude from everyone on the bench has been great. We are just focusing on our effort one day at a time and hopefully that will continue to help us succeed."
The Thunder are on a bye this week before returning to the ice for a crucial series against Briercrest in Caronport, Saskatchewan on Feb 3rd and 4th.