Top 10 sports moments
10 . The Allin legacy
Max Allin provided the Wilfrid Laurier University basketball program with arguably the strongest five years of any players in its existence. Just months after the 1,500 point scorer and Laurier legend left the program, his younger brother Luke stepped onto the court in the very same gym. On Nov. 8 with his brother in attendance, Luke dropped a game-high 23 points and was 7-7 from beyond the arc. Another Allin tradition may be just beginning.
9. OUA changing
Canadian Interuniversity Sport and Ontario University Athletics received an overhaul in how it was marketed to the public this past year. Sportsnet pulled its university programming, forcing the leagues to transition to an online streaming platform for all of its sports. While OUA.tv provided a medium for just about anyone to view sports though a new platform, its poor execution resulted in more technical difficulties then celebration.
8. Men’s soccer pull off the upset
For the third straight year, a men’s soccer club that was nothing short of mediocre all season long, shocked a team in the first round of the playoffs. The Guelph Gryphons were the victims this time around. A late tying goal by Tyrell Wilson sent the game to penalty kicks, providing the team with a familiar playoff performance. Unfortunately what was also familiar was the subsequent loss in the quarter final to the York Lions.
7. Three All-Canadians for football
In a turn-around season for men’s football, three players stepped up to earn All-Canadian for the club in 2014. This is the first time three players from Laurier were selected to the roster since 2009. The OUA’s leading rusher and MVP was a lock for the selection, as well as top Canadian Football League defensive prospect Chris Ackie. A phenomenal year from kicker Ronnie Pfeffer placed him among elite company; his punting distance and consistency was top in the province and was pivotal to his team’s success.
6. The dominant pitching rotation
Although they were unable to recapture their OUA title, men’s baseball boasted what was possibly the strongest pitching staff in the province. The combination of their ace, Brett Van Pelt, veteran leader Jordan Petruska as well as strong performances from Andrew Zeidans and Andrew McBride provided possibly the most deadly force on mound in 2014. This past season they led the league in collective strikeouts with 117, and posted an ERA of 3.21.
5. Athletic cuts
In light of recent budget cuts for the university as a whole, the department of athletics and recreation was forced to cut $53,713 in the 2014-15 fiscal year. A large portion of the cut was attributed to reduction in student labour. There is a potential for an additional cut in the coming year, however the department’s additional revenue stream may give them some wiggle room. After receiving major criticism for cutting the varsity volleyball team in 2011, the department said it will do all it can to prevent a varsity sport from taking a fall this coming year.
4. Disappointing finish for women’s soccer
A year after claiming the OUA title, women’s soccer had their sights set on a podium finish at nationals. It was a prediction that looked extremely promising after a 12-1-3 season provided them with a trip to the final four in Hamilton. The club had to win just one of two games against the Ottawa Gee-Gees and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks to advance to the national championships. The club dropped both, providing a shocking and abrupt end to a season with high hopes.
3. Women’s hockey finish fourth at nationals after winning OUA championship
Laurier’s women’s hockey program enjoyed multiple years of dominance in the past decade, but were provided a shocking loss to the Western Mustangs in the 2012-13 OUA semi-finals. In a league with ever-growing talent, there was fear that Laurier was beginning to lose their edge. However, they capped off their 2013-14 season with an OUA championship win over the Queen’s Golden Gaels and a fourth place finish at nationals, returning their program back its glory days — and they did it with eight rookies.
2. Dominance of both curling teams
Curling truly emerged as Laurier’s most consistently strong sport this past year across men and women. They cemented themselves as a powerhouse in the country. The women capped off their undefeated season with an OUA championship, while the men finished second in the province. At nationals, both clubs finished in third place. After this consistency and strength, it is no surprise the 2015 national championships are being hosted right here in Waterloo.
1. Dillon Campbell’s season and eventual MVP
In terms of athletics at Laurier, 2014 was truly the year of Dillon Campbell. The OUA MVP led the entire country with a dominating 1,458 yards rushing, 46 per cent of the teams total offence, and as an unstoppable force and immovable object on the gridiron. His power and ability to make something out of nothing on the field provided a spectacle in each game and kept his team in contention on any given Saturday. No other athlete made as much of an impact on the school and its reputation this past year as Campbell.