Wow, the first semester is nearly over. Four Dal Tiger varsity teams completed their seasons this semester, here is a recap of how they did.
The previous season they finished third in the league and only gave up seven goals in 12 games. With many players returning, the expectation was that they were going to be a top team yet again.
The season went as expected. Dalhousie beat opposing teams by playing tight defensively and scoring by committee. Dal doesn’t have a superstar offensive player so different players on the team pitched in with goals and points. They finished in third place yet again.
The Tigers suffered four losses. Two of them were against Cape Breton University and Acadia University who finished first and second in the league. The Tigers had a rough weekend during Sept. 22-23rd. They lost 3-1 to Université de Moncton, which was UdeM’s only win of the season. They lost the next day to Memorial University 1-0.
The Tigers were determined to make a good playoff run. They were knocked out of the first round in the past two years. Memorial proved to be their nemesis. Dal lost 4-0 and were eliminated out of the first round again.
Heading into next season, the Tigers’ goal should be to find a way to win in the playoffs.
The men’s soccer team missed the playoffs last year and lost six players. It looked like this year was going to be a tough rebuilding year.
The Tigers started the season on an eight game shutout streak before the defending national champions, Cape Breton University, broke it. Dalhousie’s solid defense combined with keeper Ben Grondin’s fantastic play kept the streak alive.
Dal had a rough end to the season after the streak was broken. They dropped two of their last three games. They lost 4-0 to Acadia and 5-1 to UdeM. The Tigers were entering the playoffs at the low point of their season.
Dalhousie played the third place University of New Brunswick in the first round of the playoffs. UNB outshot Dal 16-11 but Grondin was fantastic and Dal edged out a 1-0 win. They moved on to play CBU in the second round but they were too strong for the Tigers. Cape Breton won 3-0 and outshot Dal 29-2.
Heading into next season, the Tigers need to prove they are for real. It would be hard for Grondin to repeat his fantastic season, so Dalhousie will need to prove they are a consistently good team without unbelievable goaltending.
Women’s cross country
Expectations were high for the women’s cross country team. They brought back the two best runners in the AUS in Savanna Jordan and Michelle Reddy and recruited talented senior runner Sophia Watts.
Dal had a strong season heading into the AUS championships. They finished second in the AUS/RSEQ interlock meet and placed first at the McMaster University Invitational. By mid-October they were ranked fourth in the country. The McMaster Invitational was an important race because there were 116 runners. That is a similar size to the 155 runners at nationals. Last year, Head Coach Rich Lehman wanted his team to get accustomed to running in larger races before they got to nationals.
During the U Sports national championships, Dalhousie finished 9th which is where they should be. Every athlete ran similar times as in the AUS championship, which is great considering there are about 100 more athletes at nationals. That means there is more traffic to navigate and strategy involved, it could slow runners down.
The Tigers are going to lose Reddy and Watts. They will need to find more great runners to keep up their winning tradition.
Men’s cross country
The men’s cross country team lost many of their top runners last year. They still had a solid team built around many good runners but not stars.
Lead by second year runner James Cromack, Dal finished third at the RSEQ/AUS interlock meet and fifth in the McMaster Invitational.
At the AUS championships, all of Dal’s runners finished between sixth and 15th place. Cromack finished sixth, Bryn Smith finished eighth, Callum Drever ninth, Hudson Grimshaw-Surette 11th, Mike Rogers 12th, Angus MacIntosh 13th and Trent Lynds 15th. It was a good showing by the team and they finished second, eight points behind first place Saint Francis Xavier University.
Dal’s team is young and good as currently constructed. They will need to recruit star runners if they want to get back into the championship hunt.