As the Wilfrid Laurier campus welcomes back the thousands of students who will call it home for the next eight months, so do the school’s facilities welcome back varsity athletics and the student-athletes that will call the court, rink and the field they’re adopted home for the same eight months. The men’s and women’s soccer squads, men’s baseball, men’s rugby, and men’s football have all taken it to their opponents thus far in the season, compiling a 5-4-1 overall record for Laurier Athletics. Here’s the breakdown of how our Hawks did this past week.
The Varsity season began as the nationally ranked men’s football team welcomed the Guelph Gryphons to Knight-Newbrough Field with revenge on their minds. Trying to erase the memory of the 2007 OUA playoff defeat at the hands of Guelph, the men’s squad took to the field determined to ground the high-flying Gryphon offense lead by QB Justin Dunk and RB Nick Fitzgibbon. Led by a bend but don’t break defence, which gave the Hawks their first major of the game, as Mitchell Bosch picked off Dunk and carried it 57 yard to the house. Laurier came out on top with a 15-13 victory to send the 2,697 fans home happy. In the waning minutes, Guelph kicker Rob Maver missed wide left on a 28-yard attempt to seal the win for the Hawks, after QB Ian Noble got his team into the endzone with a 42-yard connection with Jeff Emberley which stood as the game-winning score.
The following week the Hawks welcomed the #5 ranked University of Western Ontario Mustangs to their nest. In one of the fiercest and most established rivalries in the CIS, Laurier rode the Mustangs early as Luke Thompson, making his first career-start in place of the injured Ian Noble, led the Hawks downfield in a series that started in the shadow of their own goalposts, eventually taking the ball himself and rushing for the game’s first score. Thompson finished his debut going 21-39 for 279 yards and 1 TD, and 70 yards for 1 TD rushing. His counterpart, MICHAEL FAULDS was able to withstand the opening flurry as Laurier jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter after a Chris Mamo field goal. With the help of the stingy defense, Faulds charged Western downfield on a number of drives in the 2nd quarter and regained control and momentum. The 6,432 fans packed their bags early as Western chased Laurier off the field with an impressive 31-20 win, which should solidify their place at the top of the OUA.
Laurier now travels to Kingston to square off against the dark horse Queens Gaels. Then the Hawks return home for Homecoming and will battle the Windsor Lancers before what should be a hefty, bombastic crowd.
Back from the long summer break, the bats of the Men’s Baseball team certain weren’t asleep. Staring defeat in the face, the Hawks woke up and put the hurt on the University of Toronto Varsity Blues for 10 runs, in a season-opening come from behind win. After chasing U of T starter Marek Deska in the seventh, the Hawks held batting practice off the Blues bullpen, putting seven up on the scoreboard for the inning, the offense was led by seniors Scott Mahn and Chris Pittaway who each connected three times with the bat. Following the impressive display the team came back to Waterloo for a two-game series with cross-town rival, Waterloo Warriors. Dropping the first contest in close fashion, 5-4, Laurier bounced back and put the Warriors down 6-2 in the follow-up game. The strong start to the season sees Laurier just behind Brock in the OUA standings. The next game for the men is a home date vs. the Western Mustangs and then a two-game series with the McMaster Marauders.
The soccer season kicked off with a double-header. The men began the day on home turf against the Waterloo Warriors, and in a intense, physical match the two teams came out even, drawing 0-0. Laurier had a goal called off early, as the referee cited offside, and Laurier goalkeeper Yousef El-Abbar kept the score notched with a brilliant dive, stopping the Warrior’s best chance. The men traveled the next day to Guelph and dropped the contest 2-0.
On the flip side, the women’s squad has burst out of the gate with a 1-0 victory against Waterloo opening day, and then a 2-1 victory over Guelph the next. Laurier’s women’s team is coming off a third place finish at last year’s OUA Championships and expectations are high for this squad that didn’t graduate a single player last year.
As the men’s rugby season began, the McMaster Marauders stayed true to their namesake and pounded the Hawks for three tries in the opening half of the season. Mike Scholz tallied his third try of the game with an early one into the second half, and the boys from Hamilton cruised from there. Matt Nichols did his best to salvage the game and came up with a late try, to put 7 up on the board for Laurier. Despite the loss it was a very hard-fought match and should give the men some confidence going into next week’s bout with Guelph.
Here’s what’s coming up this week in Laurier Varsity action!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
-W Rugby 1:00 PM vs Brock, Knight-Newborough Field, Waterloo
-M Baseball 7:00 PM vs Western, Bechtel Park, Waterloo
Saturday, September 13, 2008
-W Lacrosse 9:00 AM at McGill
-W Lacrosse 11:00 AM at Toronto
-M Football 1:00 PM at Queen's, Richardson Stadium, Kingston
-M Baseball 1:00 PM at McMaster, Bernie Arbour Stadium, Hamilton
-M Rugby 1:00 PM vs Guelph, Knight-Newborough Field, Waterloo
-M Soccer 1:00 PM vs Brock, Alumni Field, Waterloo
-W Soccer 3:15 PM vs Brock, Alumni Field, Waterloo
-M Baseball 3:30 PM at McMaster, Bernie Arbour Stadium, Hamilton
Sunday, September 14, 2008
-M Baseball 1:00 PM vs Brock, Bechtel Park, Waterloo
-W Rugby 1:00 PM at Toronto
-M Soccer 1:00 PM vs McMaster, Alumni Field, Waterloo
-W Soccer 3:15 PM vs McMaster, Alumni Field, Waterloo
-M Baseball 3:30 PM vs Brock, Bechtel Park, Waterloo