Basketball

Tigers Team Previews for 2015-16

written by Cameron Honey
September 18, 2015 11:52 am

Men’s Basketball

Coming off a spectacular finish to last year when they got hot down the stretch and stole the AUS title as the fifth seed in the playoffs, this Tigers team will be looking to carry that momentum into this season.

Nearly the entire roster is back for this year including points leader and the reigning AUS tournament MVP Kashrell Lawrence (18.1 PPG) and assist leader Ritchie Kanza Mata (7 AST/G).  Led by head coach Rick Plato and bolstered by a strong offseason, the Tigers are primed for more success this season.

The fan support of this team as they went on their playoff run at the Scotiabank Centre was truly amazing. If the Tiger community can bring that type of support to this season, for all the teams, then this year will be very special for Tigers athletics.

The AUS is a competitive conference and there are no guarantees, but the standard has been set. The players know what level they need their games to be at to win and they have as good a shot as anyone to bring home another AUS banner this year.

 

Women’s Basketball

The team fell just two victories short of bringing home the first AUS title in women’s B-Ball since 2000-01. With head coach Anna Stammberger leading the way, the Tigers are looking to take the next step this season.

“The Tigers have been training hard in the offseason under the tutelage of our new strength coach Leah Girdwood,” says Stammberger.

“The open gym scrimmages that take place all spring and summer have been the best attended and most competitive in the 6 years that I’ve been back at Dal.”

Having lost leading scorer Courtney Thompson (23.9PPG) to graduation, fifth-year player, AUS all-star and team Captain Tessa Stammberger (11.8PPG) will be relied upon to set the tone for this year’s squad.

Along with Tessa, fourth-year Ainsley MacIntyre (6.5PPG) and third year Christina Brown (2PPG) will provide leadership and energy for the team. Third year and former AUS all-rookie team member in 2012-13 Shalyn Field (3.3PPG) had a strong finish to last year and will have an expanded role playing more consistent minutes this season.

“We have a big recruiting class both in numbers and quality with some outstanding 1st year student athletes coming into our program,” says Stammberger. “We will be younger than last year but bigger and more athletic.”

The 2015-16 squad will be entering the season with a lot of confidence and will be worth watching as they play their way through the AUS this season.

 

Cross Country

The Tigers cross country program is strong in the AUS in both the men’s and women’s divisions. The men have not won the AUS since 2010 with the StFX X-Men winning the last four. The women have been on a roll recently as they have won four of the last five AUS titles and will be looking for their third straight in 2015.

The cross country team is coached by Richard Lehman who has an impressive resume of AUS championships and coach of the year awards.

The men’s team head into the 2015 season looking to dethrone the powerhouse X-Men and reclaim the AUS title. The Tigers were able to place second in the AUS last year and know that it will take a great year to get back to the top spot. With the entire team eligible to return this season (pending tryouts) they will be putting their best efforts towards catching the top spot in the AUS.

The women’s team had a great season last year taking home an AUS banner and racing to an eighth-place finish in the CIS at nationals. Most of the athletes from last year’s roster are eligible to return to the team this year (pending tryouts) and will look to carry the momentum built last season into 2015.

 

Men’s Hockey

It has been a rough couple of years for the Tigers men’s hockey team. While the team made modest improvements last season, the final record of 7-21 is simply not very good.

However, there is a lot of optimism surrounding the Tigers men on the ice going into this season as they have added seven players with CHL experience to their roster. Highlighting the new additions is Phil Gadoury who picked up 58 points (28G, 30A) in 59 games with the Mooseheads last season.

Gadoury, along with the other new faces, join leading point scorers from last season Fabian Walsh (10G, 8A), JP Harvey (8G, 10A) and Andrew Wigginton (5G, 13A) to form what looks like a much deeper roster than last year.

On paper, the Tigers look like they have what it takes to put up some big numbers on the scoreboard this season. However, being good on paper does not automatically equal a quality product when the puck gets dropped. The big question surrounding the team as the season approaches is, will they be able to gel together as a team and play together as a unit on the ice?

Led by head coach Chris Donnelly, the team is poised to have a much better season with the puck this year as they look to get back into the playoff picture in the AUS.

 

Women’s Hockey

The Tigers women’s hockey team had a fairly successful year in 2014-15, as they made it through to the semi-finals in the AUS playoffs before being bounced by eventual champion StFX. With the majority of the roster returning, this team has every reason to believe they can be even better this season.

It was a very young team going into last season, as over half the roster was in either their first or second year. With the positive experience of a playoff run last year and an offseason of sharpening their skills, this team is in a position to make another deep playoff run this season.

Leading scorers Lisa MacLean (3G, 18A), Elizabeth MacArthur (11G, 7A) and Maggie Beaton (7G, 9A) are all returning for their third years of eligibility and are poised to put up big numbers offensively. Defensive stalwarts Rachel Carr (+6) and Kenzie MacPhee (+5) also entering their third years will be relied upon to anchor the defense in front of second year starting goaltender Jessica Severeyns (2.21GAA, .935 SV%) who is coming off a stellar rookie season.

Head coach Sean Frasier leads the team into the 2015-16 season and there is every reason to believe they will have a successful year in their hunt for the teams first ever AUS title.

 

Men’s Soccer

The Tigers men’s soccer squad had a disappointing season in 2014 as they failed to make the AUS playoffs after a run to the semifinals in 2013.

The squad will be led into action in 2015 by fifth year player and first team AUS all-star midfielder Bezick Evraire (8G) who was also a second team CIS all-Canadian in 2013. Anchoring the back line will be second year player Jonathan Doucette who was a second team AUS all-star in his rookie season.

With only two players not returning to the team this year, the squad should be able to play together as a unit to control the ball this season. Managed by head coach Pat Nearing, the Tigers will be looking to get back in the playoffs and make a push for the team’s first AUS banner since 2008 this season.

 

Women’s Soccer

The women’s soccer Tigers also had a disappointing finish to 2014 as they were knocked out of the AUS playoffs on home turf in the quarterfinals.

There is reason to be optimistic about the 2015 squad since much of the roster will be returning this season. The team has lost leading scorer, first team CIS all-Canadian and first team AUS all-star Michelle Yates (7G) to graduation but fellow 2014 first team AUS all-stars, fifth year back Kristy McGregor-Bales and fourth year striker Victoria Parkinson (6G, 1A) are returning to help lead the team this year.

With the departure of Yates, strikers second-year Jenson Hudder (3G), third-year Elise Bilodeau (1G, 1A) and third-year Scarlett Smith will be leaned on to fill the net for the Tigers this year.

Head coach Jack Hutchinson leads this Tigers squad into action in 2015 where they will try to capture another AUS banner for the school.

 

Swimming

The Tigers swim team has been dominant in the AUS for about three decades on both the men’s and women’s sides. The men have won every year since 1998-99 and the women since 2000-01. Last year was no exception as the Tigers swam their way to the AUS title in both divisions.

The team is coached by swimming guru Lance Cansdale and will once again be looking to outrace their competition to the top of the AUS this year.

The men’s team was able to gain 10th place in the CIS at nationals and looks strong again this year. AUS swimmer of the year Kyle Watson will be back for more laps in the pool after a record setting campaign last season. Joining him will be last year’s AUS rookie of the year Sean Berrigan along with current AUS all-stars Nigel Champion, Gavin Dyke, Peter Inches, Tony Liew and James Profit.

The women’s Tigers absolutely dominated the AUS in 2014-15 going undefeated on their way to their 14th consecutive AUS crown. The team was able to race to a fifth-place finish in the CIS at nationals. Though the team loses AUS swimmer of the year Megan Bernier to graduation, it is still loaded with talent as AUS rookie of the year Pheobe Lenderyou returns along with fellow AUS all-stars Paige Crowell, Ainsley Fraser, Alison Grant, Halle Loyek, Lucy MacLeod, Rachel Shin and Katie Webster.

Heading into 2015-16, expectations are high for the Tigers swim team as both the men and women are clear favourites to win the AUS again this year.

 

Track and Field

The Tigers boast one of the top track and field programs in Canada. They have run roughshod over the AUS since phones had cords, TVs had dials and MTV actually played music.

The men’s team was able to reclaim the AUS title in 2014-15 after missing out on the top spot in 2013-14 for the first time since 2000-01. The women’s team continued their incredible dominance with their 26th consecutive AUS title last season.

The men’s side had a bounce back year last season capturing the AUS on their way to a 12th-place finish in the CIS at nationals. They have every reason to expect the same kind of success this year, as nearly the entire team is eligible to return (pending tryouts) including CIS triple jump silver medalist Jordan Bruce, bronze medalist Chas Smith and high jump bronze medalist Devon Errington.

The women’s reign of dominance on top the AUS has gone on for so long that when their streak started Vanilla Ice was on the charts with ‘Ice Ice Baby,’ and MC Hammer was telling everyone ‘U Can’t Touch This’.

The Tigers have not been caught since, as they ran, jumped and threw their way through the AUS to a 14th-place finish in the CIS at nationals. Expectations are high again this year with all but two athletes from last year’s team eligible to return (pending tryouts).

The list of eligible returnees is highlighted by Sarah Taplin (jumps), Chantelle Robbertse (multiple events), Shawna McKay (Sprints), Colleen Wilson (endurance), Ellen Chappell (endurance) and Emily Clarke (endurance).

Head coach Richard Lehman leads the Tigers track and field program again in 2015-16 and AUS titles for both the men and the women are undoubtedly the goal.

 

Men’s Volleyball

The men’s volleyball Tigers had a marvelous 2014-15 season as they took home another AUS banner, which should come as no surprise as they have won 33 times in the last 36 seasons. On top of the success in the AUS the team also did well at nationals just barely falling short of a bronze medal, picking up fourth place in the CIS.

Under the guidance of head coach Dan Ota, the Tigers will be on the prowl for another successful season in 2015-16, though the makeup of the team will have a couple of noticeable absences from last season.

“We graduated a couple of our key starters Bryan Duquette (196K, 3.38K/S)  and Alex Dempsey (131K, 2.52K/S), both left side players,” says Ota. “They were both great attackers and passers, so we will certainly miss those qualities this year. Of course, with graduating seniors you’re also losing veteran leadership.”

With those players moving on it creates opportunities for other players to step up and take on larger roles this season.

“[Fourth year] Glenn Lassaline (19K, 19 DIGS) and [third year] Scott Bailey (41K, 2.28K/S) will be two of the most promising candidates to fill one or both of those starting positions for us,” says Ota. “We have also recruited a couple of freshmen who may develop into regular contributors for us on the left side, Harrison Callaghan (Halifax) and Chris Fricke (Montreal).”

The remainder of the starting core is returning this season. Fifth year player and CIS all-Canadian setter Jonathan MacDonald (608A, 102DIGS) is back, along with fourth year right side Kristen O’Brien (153K, 3.00K/S), middles fifth year Connor Maessen (72K, 1.71K/S) and third year Matt Donovan (99K, 1.71K/S), and libero third year Adam Sandeson (127DIGS).

“All of these guys will also be assuming greater leadership responsibilities this year,” says Ota. “This year’s squad will certainly have a different personality on the court compared to last year’s squad and we need to prepare for many challenges we’ll face throughout the season.”

Ota knows that the fourth place finish in the CIS puts a target on the teams back for this season.

“A lot of teams will be out to beat us this year,” says Ota. “So we have to be prepared to take on all comers.”

 

Women’s Volleyball

After starting last season with five consecutive losses and hitting the halfway point of the season with a rough looking 2-6 record, the women’s volleyball Tigers caught on fire and ran the table the rest of the season, capturing their third consecutive AUS title in the process. Led by head coach Rick Scott, the 2015-16 version will hope to carry last year’s momentum into this season.

Most of the team will be back this year including Kills leaders third year Anna Dunn-Suen (152K, 2.92 K/S), CIS all-rookie team member now second year Mieke Dumont (121K, 2.33K/S) and fifth year Jessica Josenhans (69K, 1.35K/S). Also returning is fourth year setter Abby Czenze (431A) who is an integral part of setting up the offense for the squad.

The offseason has been strong as the team has added recruits and worked on improving their skillsets.

“We really focus on training hard on the court and off the court becoming a close-knit team,” says Scott. “We schedule some really good competition not only within our conference but outside our conference to be challenged and get better, because that’s how we improve.”

Scott knows that last year is in the past and is looking forward to the upcoming year.

“The conference (AUS) is competitive,” says Scott. “A lot of the teams are young and improving so [this season] is going to be a big challenge.”