Last night, the Concordia Thunder Athletics community celebrated this past year's achievements and outstanding performances at the Annual Thunder Athletics Awards Banquet. The banquet was held in the Robert Teglar Student Centre and was attended by over 130 Thunder Athletes and Coaches.
In Men's Soccer, first year player James Sousa was named as the Most Improved Athlete and Goaltender Darek Pierzchala was named Most Dedicated. Shaz Haque was a triple honouree with being named the Outstanding Scholastic Athlete, Most Valuable Player (for the 3rd straight year) and as a Graduate. Kwaku Baah-Boateng rounded out the evening being recognized as a Graduate.
The Women's Soccer team's incredible CCAA Silver Medal season yielded the largest number of honourees for the evening with Kacey Paplawski starting things out as Rookie of the Year. Next up was Jenny Lam as the Most Improved Athlete. The Outstanding Scholastic Athlete award went to 5th year Goalkeeper Trish Arends. Stand out scoring phenom Lindsay Butler had a big night taking the Most Valuable Player honours as well as being acknowledged as an ACAC All-Conference player, a CCAA All-Canadian and a CCAA Academic All-Canadian. In addition to Lindsay, 4 other players were acknowledged as ACAC All-Conference players: Trish Arends, Sheena Tracey, Erika Vecchio and Audrey Sydora. Finally, record-breaking Goalkeeper Trish Arends was acknowledged as both a CCAA Academic All-Canadian and as a Graduate.
The Women's Basketball team kicked off their part of the evening naming 2nd year Railene Hooper as the as the Most Improved Athlete. Next up, 4th year veteran Kaylie Mattiussi was honoured as the Most Dedicated Athlete. The Outstanding Scholastic Athlete award went to Lindsay Butler, who was one of only two Thunder Athletics two-sport athletes this season. 5th year veteran and team spark plug Steph Balog was named the Most Valuable Player. Steph – along with Kaylie Mattiussi – were also recognized as Graduates.
In Men's Basketball, Jon Celeste was named the Most Improved Athlete and 3rd year stalwart Nathaniel Wojcicki, Most Dedicated. The Outstanding Scholastic Award went to Greg Gonnet. In his tour-de-force 5th season, Milos Prijovic was a three-time honouree being named the Most Valuable Player as well as being recognized as an ACAC North All-Conference and a CCAA All-Canadian Athlete.
With the achievements of the program overall and of Marriya Jenkins in particular, the XCR team boasted a large number of winners this season. Ben Thomas started things off with being named as the Most Improved Athlete. Next up, team Captain Joel Perren was named as the Most Dedicated Athlete for the 2nd year in a row. Two athletes – Kevin Chambers and Bev Kaine – were twin winners of the Outstanding Scholastic Athlete award. With her ACAC Gold and CCAA Silver Medal winning season, 2nd year standout Marriya Jenkins was a three time honouree, being named the Most Valuable Athlete as well as being recognized as both an ACAC All-Conference and a CCAA All-Canadian.
The Badminton team kicked off their portion of the evening with naming two-sport athlete Willow Frissell as the Most Improved Athlete. First year Lindsay Ross was honoured as the Most Dedicated Athlete and Coady Duncan was named the Outstanding Scholastic Athlete. ACAC Women's Single's Gold Medalist Samantha Wong was named the Most Valuable Athlete as well as being acknowledged as a Graduate.
Thunder Golf's 2nd year veteran Carly Curran was named as the Outstanding Scholastic Athlete.
The Curling team iced a Mixed team this year and named 1st year player Jennifer Martinoski as the Most Improved Athlete. The Outstanding Scholastic Award went to team Skip Willow Frissell. In his 2nd season with the team, Third Jason Ferster was recognized as the Most Valuable Athlete.
Boasting the largest team on the dais for the evening, the Men's Hockey team had a large number of athletes to acknowledge and started with 5th year journeyman Matt York being named as the team's Most Improved Athlete. Next up, another 5th year veteran – Ian Hall – was named as the Most Dedicated Athlete. With a perfect 4.0 average, Pat Turville was named as the Outstanding Scholastic Athlete for the 2nd year in a row. Fifth year veteran and team Captain Andre Hermann was selected as the Most Valuable Player and was also honoured as an ACAC All-Conference athlete. Finally, the team recognized five Graduates: Andre Hermann, Matt York, Ian Hall, Dustin Claffey and Greg Hennessey.
Thunder Women's Volleyball began their presentation with the Most Improved Athlete award going to 1st year player Kelsey Smith. Third year ACAC veteran Bailey Magas was selected as the Most Dedicated Athlete and the Rookie of the Year Award went to Cassidy Srogen. The Outstanding Scholastic Athlete Award went to another 1st year player, McKenna Schulte.
On the Men's side, 1st year Joey Kirchner took the Most Improved Athlete honours. Next up, 2nd year Setter Alex Ingstrup was awarded the trophy for Most Dedicated. Journeyman Left Side Brandon Thompson was named as the team's Most Valuable Player. Rounding out the awards, three Graduates were recognized including Brandon along with veterans Curtis Lucki and Andrew Odegard.
David Timm was honoured as this season's Minor Official of the Year. David was a 'triple threat' official having served as the Game Announcer for both Soccer and Volleyball and for running the scoreclock for Thunder Basketball.
This year's recipient of the Tom Austin Sportmanship Award was Thunder Badminton's Women's Singles Champion Samantha Wong.
This year, Concordia was favoured by having two of our coaches selected as their respective sports' ACAC Coach of the Year. Up first was Thunder Men's Basketball's Reagan Wood. In just his first year as Head Coach, Reagan led his team to top spot in the ACAC North and an 'Elite Eight' playoff birth. Next up was Thunder Women's Soccer's Dean Cordeiro. Dean was honoured by both the ACAC North as well as the CCAA as Coach of the Year. Dean – who is moving on to new challenges – was also given recognition for his remarkable 5 year tenure as Head Coach of the program.
This year's nominees for the Thunder Athletics Female Athlete of the Year were: Thunder Soccer and Basketball's Lindsay Butler, Badminton's Samantha Wong and Cross Country Running's Marriya Jenkins. In a very rare turn of events, TWO athletes were selected to share this year's honour: LINDSAY BUTLER AND MARRIYA JENKINS!
This year's nominees of the Thunder Athletics Male Athlete of the Year were: Thunder Soccer's Shaz Haque, Hockey's Andre Hermann and Basketball's Milos Prijovic. This year's winner was MILOS PRIJOVIC!
CONGRATULATIONS to all of our honourees and to ALL of our Thunder Athletes on a job well done!!
The Concordia Thunder Men's and Women's Indoor track teams ended a successful 2013 season with a pair of team Bronze Medals at the 2013 ACAC Indoor Track Championships held at the Edmonton CFB Garrison indoor track this past Friday and Saturday.
The Women finished behind champions MacEwan University and Grande Prairie Regional College, only narrowly missing out on the Silver Medal to Grande Prairie. Day 1 saw the Thunder Ladies pick up points in the 1500m and 400m with 2nd year standout Marriya Jenkins finishing 2nd in the 1500m in a new personal best and Concordia record time while rookie Vanessa Neudorf scored a point for the Thunder Ladies by finishing in 10th spot, also a new personal best. In the 400m, Jenkins established a new Concordia record and finished 3rd overall to put the Thunder women in 3rd place overall heading into Day 2. On Day 2, Marriya Jenkins went for the win heading into the bell lap in the 800m but got out leaned at the line in a tight photo finish. Her time was another personal best and her 3rd Concordia record of the Championships. In the 3000m, Jenkins was again 2nd place while Vanessa Neudorf finished in a sold 7th place to pick up another 2 points for the Thunder Ladies. The Women had moved into 2nd place overall heading into the final event – the 4x400m – but only having 2 team members meant all Grande Prairie had to do was finish the relay which they did, moving our girls into 3rd place overall, staying ahead of Lethbridge College. "I'm really pleased with how the girls ran this weekend," said Head Coach Matt Norminton. "We had several PB's and picked up 4 medals. Obviously Marriya ran fantastic as she has done all year but Vanessa's points were the difference between 3rd and 4th. We just need to find a few more girls for the team before September!"
The Men's team title went to Lethbridge, followed closely by SAIT. The Thunder Men scored points on Day 1 in the 1500m with rookie Kevin Chambers' 9th place performance. The Thunder Men then flexed their fast twitch muscles, finishing 3rd, 4th, 5th and 16th in the 400m. Rookies Chris Gaertner, Kevin Chambers and Ben Thomas lead the way while team veteran Cody Hogberg doubled back for his 2nd event of the night to give warning that our men would be a force to be reckoned with in the 4x400m relay. "If anyone doubted our previous 4x400m relay time heading into this meet, they weren't after that performance! The boys ran fantastic," said an excited Coach Norminton. Heading into Day 2, the Men were sitting in 3rd spot and both Kevin Chambers and Cody Hogberg were able to score points in the 800m to keep them in the top 3. Chambers finished in 3rd in a new personal best and school record while Hogberg finished in 10th spot to pick up another point for the Thunder men. Rookie Josh Quinlan ran a new personal best in the 800m as well. In the 3000m, Cody Hogberg was the top Thunder man, just missing out on a point for the team by 1 second. With no points in the 3k, the Thunder Men had slipped into 4th place behind MacEwan University. "Hindsight being 20/20, I should have run Captain Joel Perren in the 800m and just had Cody run the 3k. He would have got that point for sure but thankfully he picked up that 1 in the 800m," said Coach Norminton.
Heading into the final event – the 4x400m relay – the Men were down 2 points to MacEwan. A win was needed to make up the difference and the boys did not disappoint. Rookie Chris Gaertner got things going and beat out the Silver Medalist in the 400m to get the Thunder Men the lead. Rookie Ben Thomas increased that lead with rivals Lethbridge and SAIT in pursuit. Team Captain and veteran Joel Perren again increased the lead, handing off to rookie Kevin Chambers who ran his 4th big race of the weekend to give the Men the win and move the team back ahead of MacEwan into 2nd place overall. "The Men's Team Bronze is pretty special; it was a real team performance with everyone contributing," said Norminton. "The best part is that we have all of these guys coming back next year and hopefully we can get a few more guys out and possibly challenge for the win!"
Indoor track will become an official ACAC sport in 2014. Both teams will now take a break before starting to get ready for the fall cross country season which gets going in September. The teams are always looking for new runners, please get in contact with Coach Matt Norminton for more details. Well done Thunder!
Photos Courtesy of Matt Norminton
The Thunder Hockey team's season came to an end this past Thursday with a highly competitive and well-played game against the very talented NAIT Ook’s (3-2 loss). Not willing to go easily into the night (after losing the first two games of the series), the Thunder players showed tremendous resolve and determination battling right down to the pulled-goalie ending. Following the game, one of the NAIT fans commented “that Concordia team plays with a lot of character and class.”
After a bit of a disappointing first half of the season, the players came back from the Christmas break and turned their season around quite dramatically. Moving from a position where they were in danger of not even making the playoffs, the team moved steadily up the standings and overtook the Portage Voyageurs for fourth place as league play came to an end. The team then went on to a dominant performance in the quarterfinals, sweeping the first round playoff series against Portage prior to coming up against the powerful NAIT squad – the only team that they were not able to beat this season.
Following the game, Coach Peacocke commented, “Although it never feels good when you lose a playoff series (and as is the case with every loss), I feel like there is something more I should have been able to do. (But) I have to say that I’m very happy that I’m part of this group at this University. We really do have a wonderfully close group that inspires me on a daily basis and we get to share the fabulous experience of being at a University that – much like the team – draws it strength from having to fight for everything it gets. We are an underdog team at an underdog University and I thoroughly enjoy the challenge and camaraderie that this creates.”
The coaches will now have to get busy on the recruiting front as a number of the top Thunder hockey players will be moving on, having completed their fifth year of eligibility. Fifth year players that will be leaving the team are: Andre Herman (Captain), Dustin Claffey (Assistant Captain), Ian Hall and Matt York. All of Concordia thanks these players for the tremendous contribution and commitment they have made to the University. Well done Thunder!!
The Thunder Women's Basketball squad headed to Camrose this past weekend in the first ever 'Elite Eight' format ACAC Championship. The first round saw the Thunder pitted against the host Augustana Vikings, who were ranked 1st in the Conference and 5th in the nation. "We had just played the Vikings 3 weeks prior and were very well prepared to play the #1 team first round," stated Head Coach Ashley MacSporran. The Thunder came charging out of the gate in one of their best halves of basketball all year. "We had an answer for everything the Vikings did in that first half. We were tenacious defensively and in full attack mode offensively." The Thunder charge was led by some hot shooting by veteran Steph Balog and Lindsay Butler – who came off the bench – driving to the basket. "The Vikings had no answer for my 4th guard; Lindsay was outstanding tonight, making the Viking's defense pay with her speed," enthused MacSporran. Consequently, the Thunder went into the half down by only 6. Wanting to keep momentum going their way, the Thunder were prepped at half time to continue their strong defensive effort. However, the Vikings had other ideas and with shooting an outstanding 67% from the 3pt line, the Vikings started to pull away. "We were doing everything right but several players got hot for the Vikings and we just had no answer. The score made it seem like the game was over early, but it felt like we were still in the game because the girls kept fighting. We just didn't shoot the way the Vikings did," concluded MacSporran. The Thunder eventually fell 88-63, taking them out of medal contention.
The Elite Eight format gave the Thunder more game on Friday afternoon, and an opportunity to qualify for the consolation '5-6' game. The Thunder faced off against the SAIT Trojan, hoping to redeem themselves after a loss to the Trojans in November. "It is so hard after being so fired up and focused to have the same intensity on the losing side of the draw," opined MacSporran. The Thunder women had no zip in their step Friday as SAIT was able to consistently find the bottom of the basket. The thunder turned the ball over, executed poorly on offense and would find themselves down ten at half time. The lack of desire continued in the third and the Trojans would pull away by 22 before the fourth quarter began. "I was pleading with the girls to execute on offense, to have fire defensively." In what the TV broadcaster would call "the oddest game of the tournament", the fourth quarter was dominated by the Thunder, who gave up just a single point during the entire frame. "It was an amazing defensive effort. SAIT missed shots, we caused turnovers; we finally woke up." The charge was led by Rai Hooper and Meghan Allison who kept attacking the hoop. The Thunder would score 22 pts in the fourth quarter to come within one point with 6 seconds to go. The Thunder were unable to get a shot off and took the heartbreaking 52-51 loss to end the season. "I was proud the girls showed grit and determination that last quarter. It is unfortunate that it took us 30min to get it together. It was the story of our year, super highs and very low lows, consistency being what was lacking," concluded Coach MacSporran.
The Thunder will now say goodbye to 3 very talented senior players, Kaylie Mattiussi, Steph Balog and Meghan Allison. "These girls were the heart and soul of the Thunder program for the past two years and will be deeply missed. They all had great careers and developed into fine young women. We will miss them greatly."
Photo by John McIntosh
This past weekend the Thunder Men’s squad hit the road for the 2012-13 ACAC Championship in Fort McMurray. Before hitting the hardwood for game action, the team would receive some special recognition at the Opening Banquet. 5th year forward Milos Prijovic was named to the All-Conference First Team, was honoured as an All-Canadian and was the runner up for ACAC Player of the Year. Along with Milos, Head Coach Reagan Wood was named the ACAC North Coach of the Year.
With the pleasantries out of the way, the Thunder took on the Host Keyano Huskies in a hostile environment on Friday night. The first quarter went back and forth with the Huskies taking a 16-14 lead into the second where the Thunder would struggle, missing lay ups and putting the Huskies on the line, falling behind 13 points at the half.
With the crowd behind them, the host Huskies were able to fend off all Thunder runs and make several tough shots finishing off the Thunder 86-71 and taking the Thunder out of medal contention. “This was definitely not the end we envisioned for ourselves this year,” said Coach Reagan Wood. “The challenge with a one-and-done playoff format is to be your best at the right time and tonight we weren’t. Credit to the Huskies for making several tough shots but we missed too many easy ones of our own and let the gap get too wide. I think there were some nerves early that caused some mistakes, but I have no doubt that this loss will stick with us over the summer and motivate everyone to come back next year better and hungrier.” Dallas Wright led the Thunder with 25 points and 5 rebounds, Milos Prijovic had 19 points and 10 rebounds with Ethan Dixon adding 13 off the bench.
Losing in the first round the Thunder would play a consolation game against the Augustana Vikings the following afternoon for a chance to compete in the '5-6' game on Sunday. However, this was not to be as they dropped a 65-58 decision to the Vikings, ending their season. Milos Prijovic would finish the final game of his exceptional career with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Rob Haack added 14 in the loss.
Photo Courtesy of John McIntosh
The Concordia Thunder Hockey team have dug themselves a big hole that they will certainly need to fight hard to get of. After being outplayed for most of Friday night’s game – losing 6 to 1 – the Thunder played much more inspired hockey on Saturday night. In fact they outshot the Ooks, which may be the first time that a team has done that all season. In every facet of the game except the one that matters the most – the score – the Thunder played at or above NAIT's level. Unfortunately for the Thunder, the Ooks took full advantage of every opportunity they got and skated away with what, on the surface, would look like an easy 7 to 2 victory. Coach Peacocke commented after the game, “We could say that perhaps we deserved a much better outcome in this game. However that wouldn’t change the fact that we now have to find a way to win the next game or our season will be done too soon. NAIT has a very good team but they certainly are not invincible. If we can plug a few holes we will end up turning this into a very exciting series.” The third game of the series happens this Thursday (March 7th) at the NAIT Arena – 7:30 p.m. game time. The fourth game is back at Terwilligar Arena on Friday night with an 8:15 p.m. start and game five will return to the NAIT Arena on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. All games are local so come on out and cheer on the Thunder!
The ACAC Women's Singles Gold Medalist – Concordia's Samantha Wong – got a rough reception at the CCAA National Championships this past weekend at Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario. Wong faced an incredibly competitive field, going 1-4 in the round-robin match play; good for 5th place overall but leaving her out of the medal hunt. Thunder Head Coach Kevin MacAlpine was quick to recognize that placing 5th in the entire nation is still an admirable accomplishment. "I want to recognize her (Sam's) 5th place finish and (it's) a good way to end her 4 years at Concordia! (Although we are hoping she comes back for her 5th next year!)," concluded MacAlpine.
The Thunder men's and women's indoor track teams competed in the Alberta Indoor Track held at the U of A Butterdome this weekend in their final tune-up before the ACAC Indoor Championships being held on March 15th and 16th in Edmonton.
Marriya Jenkins led the way for the women, picking up the win in the 1500m and 3000m and improving her school records in both events in the process. The 2nd year Thunder student found herself in a tight battle in the 1500m with a U of A runner but managed to outsprint her in the final 100m. In the 3000m, she took the lead after 1km and never looked back. Rookie Vanessa Neudorf finished 7th in the 1500m and 4th in the 3000m, running solid times in both events.
On the men's side, rookie Kevin Chambers improved his 1500m school record by 9 seconds, finishing 8th overall in the junior category. Captain Joel Perren finished 13th in the senior men's 1500m. Rookie Ben Thomas set his first ever school record in the 400m, running 56.04 in the junior men's division. Unfortunately for Ben, his record only stood for about 3 minutes as his rookie teammate Chris Gaertner broke Ben's record in the next race on the track, running 54.04 in the senior men's category. In the 3000m, Ben Thomas set a huge new personal best, improving on his previous best time by nearly a minute to finish 11th in the junior race. Team veteran Cody Hogberg finished 9th in the men's 3000m and Chris Gaertner improved to #2 on the all-time CUCA rankings with his 2:14.96 800m clocking.
"I'm really excited for our guys and girls heading into the Championships," said Coach Matt Norminton. "It's great to see most of our team setting new personal best times at the right time of the season and a few that didn't weren't feeling great heading into the races so hopefully in 2 weeks they'll all be ready to roll." The 2013 ACAC Indoor Track Championships will be held at the Edmonton Garrison Army fitness centre in the evening of Friday, March 15th and morning of Saturday, March 16th.
Photos Courtesy of Robert Antoniuk
The Concordia Thunder Hockey team have advanced to semifinal play on the strength of a two-game sweep of the Portage Voyageurs. Disciplined and steady play brought the Thunder a 4 to 1 victory on Friday night which they followed up with a 5 to 3 win on Saturday. On Friday, the Thunder led from start to finish while on Saturday, they had to mount a comeback in the third period. Down 3 to 2 after 40 minutes of play, the team stayed with the game plan and pressured the Voyageurs the entire third period resulting in three unanswered goals (one into an empty net). The team now looks forward to semi-final action against the NAIT Ooks. Once again the team will have their work cut out for them, however they seem to be really coming together at precisely the right time. The first game of the series goes Friday night at the NAIT arena at 7:30 p.m. followed by Saturday night action at Terwilligar Arena at 8:15 p.m. GO THUNDER!!
Photos Courtesy of Dan Peacocke
The Concordia Thunder Women's Basketball team sealed the deal on a trip to the ACAC Championships with a crucial win this past weekend at the ACAC Wildcard Playoffs. On Friday, the Thunder traveled to the Wildcard host Olds College to face the Rattlers from Medicine Hat College in a 'redemption game' after a loss last November to those same Rattlers. "We know we are better than what we were in November and wanted to make a statement tonight," said Head Coach Ashley MacSporran. The first quarter saw both teams going back and forth in scoring. In the second quarter, the scoring for Concordia was blown wide open with sharp shooting by Kaylie Mattiussi, who went an astonishing 5 for 6 from the 3pt line, giving the Thunder a 27-12 run to end the first half. "It's always nerve racking with this team at half because of our poor third quarter ruts that always seems to appear." The Rattlers were able to close the gap in the third, as the red-hot Thunder cooled off significantly. "We were able to hold Med Hat off by the fourth, by finishing free throws and getting defensive stops. The game was a lot closer then we needed it to be. Med Hat didn't give up, but we kept our heads and ended up on top." Kaylie Mattiussi led the Thunder with 23 points, Meghan Allison had 17 and Steph Balog had 16. With the win, the Thunder secured a trip to the finals and a show down the next night with host Olds College.
The Thunder took to the court on Saturday knowing that the winner of the evening's contest would have the more favourable #7 ranking at the next weekend's Top 8 tournament. "We were ready for Olds and their high pressure 1-3-1 zone. We got all the looks we wanted for layups and open threes but couldn't hit the proverbial broad side of a barn on Saturday." The Thunder were cold in the first half while the Broncos were hot and got transition layups and made tough shots. The scoring drought cost the Thunder, as they were down 18 at the half. "At some point in time, the urge to finish at all costs has to kick in and it's something that we struggled with all year." In the second half, the Thunder found their rhythm and were able to make shots. Steph Balog hit 4 3-pointers and had 8 steals to keep the Thunder in the game. "Every time we'd get within 12, we would have a defensive error or their American guard would make a tough shot with 3 hands in her face," concluded MacSporran. The Thunder would eventually fall 76-60 and end up ranked 8th for next weekend's tournament. The Thunder look forward to the challenge of playing the #1 ranked – and Championship host – Augustana Vikings on Thursday @ 6 PM in Camrose. Go Thunder!
Photos Courtesy of John McIntosh