Considering the changes that the men’s football team has gone through, there is a lot that can be expected from the upcoming season. In the pocket will be quarterbacks Julien John and James Fracas, both with minimal experience and a lofty offence. However, with new head coach Michael Faulds as the offensive coordinator, there’s anticipation with the new no-huddle offence. The defence will be led by veterans Ese Mrabure-Ajufo and Asante Mizan, bringing strength to a solid foundation that associate head coach and defensive coordinator Ron VanMoerkerke has created over the years. Special teams will continue to be led by third-year kicker Ronnie Pfeffer, who made 12 of 17 field goal attempts last year, his longest being 44 yards. The team continues to have a young core with not a lot of depth, and may be fighting in the middle of the OUA again this year.
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the Golden Hawk team that fought off the Western Mustangs in the playoffs last year, and since that surprising win, the team has changed their attitude. Head coach Mario Halapir looks to implement more discipline into his team and fight for a stronger position than last year, which left them 5-6-5 and backing into the playoffs. With strong returners such as Robert Kardaras, Donald Chmura, Brett Harrington and Jordan Kotsopoulos, and a solid group of young players, the Hawks will try to improve on a below .500 record.
Reigning WLU team of the year and OUA silver medalists, the women’s soccer team never ceases to impress. Head coach Barry MacLean promises one of the strongest recruit classes in recent years and believes that this could be one of their best teams. They certainly have the depth on paper, which includes a stellar goaltender in the likes of Katrina Ward, returning third-year striker Emily Brown and solid fourth-year defender Kelsey Tikka, who just returned from the Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia. Strong recruits have come in for Laurier, including Jessica Craig, Tierney Dunham, Nicole Lyon and dual-athlete Jacky Normandeau. In their exhibition, the team filled the gaps well, and it would be no surprise to see them right back in an OUA, and even a CIS-contending position.
Winning only one game last season, the men’s team sat at 1-7, not scoring their first try until the fourth game. The team will lose the likes of Jeff Pickel, a big hit for their offence, but will use the young squad to their advantage to hopefully improve in the upcoming year.
With only five games to be played this season, and only two at home, it’ll be hard for the women’s rugby team to find solid ground after having so much trouble in the past. However, last season was an improvement despite the 0-6 record, as Laurier was only outscored 307-64, rather than 347-17 as in the year before, including a close game against the Waterloo Warriors.
After a rough year that included a four-game suspension for hazing, the men’s baseball team looks to put the scandal in the past as they move forward with a couple additions to the roster. Jeff Hunt and Mitch Clarke, two MLB-draft picks who have played in the minor leagues, join the Hawks for the upcoming season. The two will be good additions to a team that finished 9-12 during the season and missed the playoffs. As for fastpitch, the Hawks will look to improve on an impressive 13-9 record last year, losing out in the playoffs.
Other Fall Varsity Teams: