by Kelsey Hipkin
As I sit writing this, only one Cougar team out of a possible six has the chance to medal for the remainder of the season. This comes of course with the exception of the Cougars’ soccer
teams that wrapped up last semester. Our men’s team took gold over the SAIT Trojans and the women just missed out on silver against the Concordia Thunder.
With the strength of Cougar Athletics at the onset of the season, it looked like we’d have a dump truck full of ACAC Championships with the potential
to have another dump truck full of national championships come this month.
But alas, for whatever reason, it was not meant to be.
MRU has long been known for the success of its Cougar Athletics program. That success
makes us a great place for potential student athletes to be. Athletes love to win and the Cougars do it very well, we have a plethora of talented athletes and an all-star cast of coaches who work their asses off every season. That being said, sometimes
post-secondary athletic teams can just have an off year, much like professional sports teams.
The Cougars were still very successful, with all of them finishing
first or second in their divisions. Women’s basketball is the one exception with a third place finish in the south division.
Starting with basketball, fresh off an ACAC Championship last season the men’s team finished first in the ACAC south division with a record of 16 and 4 with 32 points. Going into the playoffs, it looked like the team would for sure come away with a medal.
Taking two straight against Lakeland College Feb. 25-26, the team looked really good going into the final-four held on the Cougars’ home court. On March 5, the team lost to MacEwan University, dropping them into the bronze medal game against SAIT. The boys in blue and white lost that game as well place them into fourth.
Unfortunately, the women’s basketball team didn’t even make it past quarter-finals, losing
their two matches against King’s University College. The last time they won an ACAC championship was 2006. The team however looks like it has a great core of players, and I foresee
a definite medal next season.
Fourth place is a bit of a trend this season for Cougar Athletics as both the men and women’s volleyball teams ended up in fourth spot as well.
It was mentioned in the last issue of The Reflector that in the last 25 years (with the exception
of three other teams) either MRU or Red Deer have taken ACAC gold. This season, not so much, as the boys took their first final-eight match 3-0 but lost the next two for a fourth place finish as well.
The women’s volleyball team, who wrapped up their season in second place in the provincial
season of the ACAC with a record of 7-3, won their first final-eight game against Keyano but lost their next two games to MacEwan. MacEwan finished third in the regular season behind
the lady Cougars and went on to take silver overall.
The men’s hockey team had a great season, finishing second in ACAC play with a record of 21-5-0-2. The boys had a tough go in the semi-finals, losing three straight in the best-of-five tournament; this coming against a Concordia Thunder team that the Cougars won three of four against in the regular season.
The women’s team, as mentioned above, is the only team left in the mix, and in their final-seven series against NAIT they are guaranteed a medal; I’m guessing that medal is going to be gold. The ladies breezed through the semi-finals, taking three straight in a best of five series against SAIT. They are 1-1 in finals at this point with their next two games coming Feb. 19 and 20.