A weekend of highs and lows
Over the weekend, four of Laurier’s varsity teams added further evidence to the almost over-used adage that “anything can happen in the playoffs.” In a weekend that was categorized by ups and downs for the Golden Hawks, the women’s and men’s basketball teams provided the ups, with a pair of shocking upset wins.
The women got things started on Saturday, knocking off the nation’s number-three ranked team, the Western Mustangs, in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West semifinal, making the division championship game for the first time in five years. Not to be outdone, their male counterparts came up with an upset win of their own, downing the Windsor Lancers, a team who had put up 109 points on the Hawks just two weeks prior.
“I’m tremendously proud,” said Laurier’s athletic director Peter Baxter. “Laurier was never a basketball school 10 years ago and with the efforts of coach [Peter] Campbell with the men, he’s brought them into the national spotlight. And with [women’s head coach] Paul Falco, being just in his third year and having us up there in the top 10 now for the first time in our history is unprecedented.”
On Sunday, the women’s team lost the OUA West final to Windsor, however their win over Western had already qualified them for March 11-12th’s regional playoffs, leaving them just one step away from the national championship tournament.
While the basketball Hawks were the ones doing the upsetting, Laurier’s hockey teams were being upset.
The men’s team were eliminated by the Guelph Gryphons in the OUA West semifinal, falling 2-1 in the series, losing both games at home. Laurier’s perennially dominant women’s hockey team, meanwhile, was swept by Queen’s in two games — both going to double overtime — in their provincial semi final, ending a streak of seven straight OUA titles.
“The men had 12 rookies and for coach [Greg] Puhalski to work with 12 rookies it’s an amazing accomplishment to come in second and lose a hard fought series with Guelph,” said Baxter. “With the women, for seven years we’ve set the standard in the OUA and we’ve brought up the level of all the teams that are coming to get us and we lost in two games that could’ve gone either way.”