The highs and lows of the first half
Laurier’s women’s soccer team ended their season by surpassing many expectations in what was supposed to be a “rebuilding season”. However, with an impressive 11-2-3 record, the purple and gold dominated the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West Division.
Trying out new talent on the squad, Laurier initially showed inconsistency and had trouble executing their shots. Games that should have been clear blowouts ended in dangerously close scores. The team was also decimated by injuries. Numerous starters were forced to sit, causing rookies to step up and keep the season rolling.
The squad eventually finished first in their division. In their OUA semi-final match, the Hawks dethroned last year’s OUA and two-time CIS champions, the Queen’s Gaels but failed to defeat the Ottawa Gee-Gees. The Hawks then travelled to Victoria, B.C to play in the CIS finals where they were eliminated first round by the Trinity Western. Grade: A-
In a season that featured a 9-2-1 record, the women’s lacrosse team went into the playoffs a heavy favourite to bring Laurier home their first banner of the 2012-13 year. The team easily held the OUA to a low amount of points and their only losses came from the top team in the province, the Western Mustangs.
The Hawks finished their season outscoring their opponents 32-10 in their last two games. However, Laurier failed to develop once the postseason arrived. A 9-3 win allowed them to play in the semifinal, but the team was stunned by the Queen’s Gaels and was forced to play for bronze.
Even then, the Hawks couldn’t win an important game and were forced to settle for fourth. Grade: B
Maybe not the best season Mario Halapir could have expected out of his players, but the men’s soccer team produced a surprising conclusion to a roller coaster season. The beginning of the year sparked a hopeful feeling as the team won six of their first seven games, however the wins slowly declined as the front line couldn’t produce enough offence to get past big teams like Western or York.
A sufficient amount of ties allowed the Hawks to have a stranglehold on the sixth and final playoff spot in the West division. With minimal expectations, Laurier surprised the OUA by winning a last-minute come-from-behind game against the Western Mustangs. However, the lack of offence hurt them again as they were unable to produce any offence against the York Lions and were eliminated. Grade: B-
The young Golden Hawk rugby squad amounted to a 1-7 record, slotting them in the eighth spot in the OUA, falling short of the playoffs for a third-straight season. If this doesn’t sound bad enough, the real salt in the wound are the departures of key players such as captain Jeff Pickel, who stood out this season as the team’s all-around leader, including scoring three tries in the final season game against U of T.
The Hawks were comprised mainly of rookies and second-year players, who saw impressive development through the season, including talented rookie backs Ryan Cowan and Andrew Thomson. They also only lost half their games by ten points, exemplifying how, despite their record, the Golden Hawks weren’t the punching bag of the conference and showed great fight. Grade: C+
The baseball Hawks garnered national coverage for everything outside of their performance on the field. A hazing incident that landed them a four-game suspension halfway through their season overshadowed their athletic play, albeit it was less than impressive.
After winning much of their exhibition and preseason games, a 9-12 season landed them one game outside of the playoffs. Less than ten days after the season ended, the team then filed an appeal against the WLU athletics department. Currently, the appeal is still being reviewed. Grade: C+
The women’s rugby team saw their season end with an 0-6 record and two of those games being shutouts. Despite this, in their final game against Brock, the Hawks still had a chance to make the playoffs as both teams were in the same position. After gaining an early lead, Laurier fell short in the second half, losing 39-12, falling just short of the final OUA playoff spot and their first win since 2009. Grade: D
The 2012 men’s football team put on a clinic in one area: how to back into the playoffs. Despite a 3-5 record, two shutout losses and offence that didn’t score a touchdown for the entire last month of the season, the Hawks managed to squeak into the post-season – only to be (fittingly) eliminated by a 34-0 loss to the Queen’s Gaels.
The Hawks most glaring problems were on offence where a quarterback carousel of rookie Travis Eman and fourth-year back-up Steve Fantham led to a Laurier attack that finished second-last in the country, averaging just 13.6 points per game.
The struggles of the offence — which featured several first- and second-year starters — were compounded by the fact that the 2012 edition of Laurier’s usually reliable defence lacked the experience to keep the team in games.
Even the Hawks’ three wins — a last-minute win over York, who has won three games in the past three years, a sloppy victory over then-winless Ottawa and an ugly 12-0 win over Waterloo — don’t offer many positives. New head coach Michael Faulds will certainly have his work cut out for him in 2013. Grade: D
Men’s Basketball: 2-7, 6th in OUA West
Women’s Basketball: 4-5, 5th in OUA West
Men’s Curling: 4-1
Women’s Curling: 4-1
Men’s Hockey: 7-9-2, 7th in OUA West
Women’s Hockey: 14-1-2, 1st in OUA, No. 4 in CIS
Swimming: next meet Jan. 13 @ Guelph