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After coming off the best season in St.Thomas Women’s basketball history, there are high expectations coming into this year.
After their second straight undefeated season, which led to a ACAA championship and a bronze medal at Nationals; will this season bring more of the same?
For every new season, comes a new team. This was again the case for the 2012-2013 Women’s Tommies. The team had to fill five roster spots for this year.
“This year’s recruits are a perfect mix of talent, each bringing different things to the squad. Shooters, slashers, posts and tough defenders,” said Assistant Coach Peter Douthwright.
Saint John’s Erin Kelly, a first year post player, is one of the five new players. Rothesay’s Carissa McTague is another first year post player, while Moncton’s Danielle LeBlanc is a guard in her second year of university, but first year at STU. Woodstock’s Samantha Wilson played as a guard for UNB last year, but is also new to STU. Fredericton’s Olivia Dobblestyn is a guard in her third year at St.Thomas. She returns to the team after taking last year off.
There are four players in their final year on the team this year. Ashley Bawn, Kathleen McCann and Renee LeBlanc are all co-captains this season, while Hannah Macdonald is in her fourth year too. The roster’s completed by returning players Kelly Vass, Hilary Goodine, and Laura Anderson.
“We once again have a full roster of 12 very skilled, very focused and driven players. The girls are motivated to compete amongst the very best nationally. Seven of the twelve players experienced the national tournament. Those players know what it’s going to take. So this year’s program are striving to compete and repeat as national medalist,” said Douthwright.
The team opened their pre season schedule in Quebec, and played three hard fought games. STU came away with three losses, but coach Fred Connors said “the games were a sign of another tough Tommies team.”
The next pre season games were in Miramichi, for the Hopes on the River tournament. These three games really showed a major improvement in the team. The first game was a rematch against Vanier from the Quebec tournament, and this time STU won by 10, 76-66. They also won against the CIS All-Stars to finish the tournament with an impressive record of two wins and one loss.
The Tommies went 4-0 in the annual Ken Gould Invitational Tournament held at the South Gym this past weekend. Ashley Bawn and Danielle LeBbanc were named tournament all-stars. The Tommies won all games convincingly in the final build-up before the regular season begins.
ACAA playoffs are held in Fredericton this year, so it would be a perfect story for the Tommies to three peat as ACAA champions at home.
“You can expect us to work hard and compete to the best of our abilities each time we are out on the floor,” said co-captain Renee LeBlanc.
The women’s Tommies open their season at home(South Gym) to a very tough King’s College and Mount Saint Vincent teams, on November 3rd and 4th.
Just like the women, the men’s Tommies are coming off their most successful season in recent memory.
They stunned the number one seeded Mount Saint Vincent in the ACAA championship to win a nail biter in overtime. The momentum carried into Nationals, where the men took home a bronze medal; it was their first medal at the National level, since they finished second in 2004.
The 2012-2013 roster is a much different one from the team that brought home the ACAA championship last year. In saying that, the team doesn’t feel the results will be any different this year.
“The expectations are to repeat as ACAA champs and move on to the nationals and bring home that gold medal,” said guard Jason Daniels.
This year’s edition of the men’s Tommies have made a lot of changes, including eight new players.
Pugwash, Nova Scotia’s Blaine Reid, a first year guard , is one of the eight new players. Alex Macleod is also a guard from Cape Breton.
Dylan Gallant and Judah Jackshaw are both from P.E.I , Matt Veno and Jake Tozer are both from Miramichi. Lonzel Lowe is a post player from Ontario, who played for UNB last year, but is new to STU. Fredericton’s Jason Daniels is a guard in his second year at St.Thomas who returns to the team after taking last year off.
“Everyone on this team plays a role, no exceptions. Our rookies are doing very well in our exhibition games and will be a key reason for our success,” said Daniels.
The returning players for the Tommies this season are, Corey Delong, Dave Dolan, Nathan Mazurkiewicz, Joe Maxwell, Brad Hovey and Calvin LeBlanc, with Dwight Dickinson once again behind the bench. With the core nuclease still in place, the team should find success this season.
“Our mindset heading into this season is to solidify our position as a national contender. We are looking at last year not as a success, but as an important step toward to winning a national title. The exposure to national level talent has shown us the level at which we have to perform and has added a new level of commitment to excellence,” explained Nathan Mazurkiewicz.
The men have had tough competition throughout pre season, but have competed and showed improvement throughout the first two months.
The Men’s Tommies open their season at home(South Gym) to King’s College and Mount Saint Vincent, which is guaranteed to be some good basketball on November 3rd and 4th.