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HIGH ACHIEVERS WEEKEND WRAP: Ottawa Gee-Gees dominate Rivalry Weekend against Carleton Ravens


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By Martin Cleary

Rivalry Weekend certainly looked good on paper, but in reality it lacked competitiveness and drama.

When the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and the Carleton University Ravens clashed on the football turf, the soccer pitch and the rugby field, it was all too one-sided in favour of the former team.

For the fourth time in as many Panda Game football clashes, the Gee-Gees scored a commanding 37-7 victory over the Ravens before 23,078 spectators. Both teams entered the annual match ranked in the U Sports top 10.

The win allowed the Gee-Gees to improve their OUA record to 5-1 and remain tied for second place with the Queen’s University Gaels, while Western University is undefeated in first place at 5-0.

On the soccer field, the Gee-Gees were striking on offence and stingy on defence as they shut out Carleton 3-0 on Thursday night on their home Matt Anthony Field and 4-0 on Sunday at Carleton’s TAAG Park.


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When it came to rugby, the Gee-Gees were just as powerful on offence, rolling to a 54-3 win over Carleton to remain in a first-place tie in the RSEQ with Laval University Rouge et Or at 5-0. Ottawa and Laval will meet on Saturday in Laval to determine the pennant winner in their final regular-season game.

The Panda Game showed potential to be close, but quarterback Ben Maracle’s steady offence scored points in every quarter – two running touchdowns in the first half and two passing touchdowns in the second half – and the Gee-Gees’ defence denied the Ravens for the final 54 minutes, after Carleton opened with a touchdown.

Maracle showed why he’s the fourth-ranked passer in the OUA, completing 20 of 23 passes for 354 yards and two touchdowns. Nicholas Gendron of Gatineau was his favourite receiver with eight catches for a single-game, career-best 211 yards.

“Being able to get the win means so much,” Gendron said in a Gee-Gees news release. “When the ball’s in the air, it’s kind of silent. But when the ball is in your hands and the crowd erupts, it’s just so special. The o-line did such a great job protecting for Ben too.”

The Gee-Gees’ balanced attack also included 218 yards rushing for a total of 572 yards of offence. J-P Cimankinda sparked the running game with 166 yards on 31 rushes and two touchdowns.

After Carleton QB Tanner DeJong connected with Kaseem Ferdinand for a 27-yard touchdown to open the scoring, the Gee-Gees struck back at the end of the quarter, when Maracle and Gendron teamed with an 81-yard pass-and-run touchdown.

Campbell Fair, who was the kicking hero of the 2021 Panda Game and booted a record-breaking 55-yard field goal the previous week against Wilfrid Laurier University, connected on a 21-yard field goal to put Ottawa ahead 10-7 at halftime.

Fair was the Gee-Gees’ top scorer with 13 points as he added field goals from 40 and 45 yards in the fourth quarter and four converts. He also had a 15-yard field goal blocked and missed a 36-yard attempt.

The Gee-Gees pulled away from the Ravens in the second half as Willy-Pierre Dimbongi scored a touchdown off a 14-yard passing play from Maracle, who also handed the ball to Cimankinda for touchdown runs of 16 and six yards in the final four minutes. Cimankinda, who has four touchdowns this season, is the third-best OUA rusher with a 116.2-yard-a-game average.

Defensively, Sandor Mod paced Carleton with six solo and three assisted tackles, while Ottawa’s James Peter continued his strong play with seven solo tackles and one assisted tackle. Peter is No. 1 in the OUA on defence with 7.7 tackles a game, while Carleton’s Joachim Christian is No. 2 at 6.9.

Meanwhile, Cassandra Provost, the OUA women’s soccer leader in three statistical categories, scored the opening (game-winner) goal as the Gee-Gees blanked the Ravens 4-0 Sunday for an away victory, which improved their East Division record to 7-1-1.

Angelina Gendreau, Olivia Allen and Maya Smith completed the Gee-Gees’ scoring and Cassidy Joslin made one save for the shutout. Gendreau also added two assists, while Provost and Ella Chase collected assists as well.

Provost is ranked No. 1 in the OUA East in goals (11), points (13) and shots (38). Juliann Lacasse and Joslin are one-two with respective goals-against averages of 0.29 and 0.73. Lacasse has the best save percentage at .889, while Carleton’s Chloe Lachance-Soulard, who faced 18 shots on Sunday, is fourth in saves at 50 and goals-against average at .820.

In Thursday’s Rivalry Weekend game, the Gee-Gees’ A-line provided all three goals as Adriane Devlin, Gendreau and Allana Oriente scored one each in the second half. Lacasse earned the three-save shutout.

The Ravens are tied for fifth place in the East with Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) with a record of 3-3-1.

In OUA women’s rugby, seven different players scored ties and another three contributed converts as the Gee-Gees played their most complete game of the season in a 54-3 decision over Carleton.

Talia Hennessy (two), Quynh-Ni Au, Ketsia Kamba, Sophie McDonald, Deborah Oyetoran, Leigha Stiles and Sarah White counted the Gee-Gees’ tries, while Aurora Bowie, Claire Gallagher and Taelor Hendrick combined for seven converts.

Vanessa Chiappetta, the No. 3 scorer in the RSEQ, scored off a penalty kick for Carleton, which is third in the women’s rugby standings at 3-2.

“It was the most well-rounded performance we’ve had in a really long time,” said Gee-Gees head coach Jen Boyd, who used 25 players during the game.

Ottawa has scored 333 points in its five wins and only allowed 12 points. Laval has counted 350 points in its five wins, which were all by shutout.

LAUREN MANN RINK REACHES TANKARD SEMIFINALS

Ottawa’s Lauren Mann won five consecutive preliminary-round and playoff games at the Stu Sells Toronto Tankard curling competition, but was eliminated in the semifinals.

After defeating Delaney Strouse of Minneapolis, Minnesota, 6-3 in the quarterfinals, the Mann rink of Shelley Hardy, Stephanie Mumford and Stephanie Corrado lost 9-4 to Isabelle Ladouceur of Waterloo, ON., in the semifinals.

The Ladouceur quartet, which lost the final to Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni 8-4, also defeated Hailey Armstrong of Carleton Place and Waterloo 8-2 in the quarterfinals. Armstrong finished with a 4-1 mark.

Emily Deschênes of Ottawa posted a 1-3 record.

On the men’s side of the Stu Sells Toronto Tankard, Mark Kean of Ottawa won three of his first five matches in the triple-elimination competition, but lost his sixth and final match to miss the quarterfinals.

Kean fell 8-6 to Switzerland’s Yannick Schwaller, who defeated Joel Retornaz of Italy 5-2 in the quarters, but lost to Niklas Edin of Sweden 5-4 in the semifinals. Edin defeated Magnus Ramsfjell of Norway 7-3 in the final.

At the 24-team Hardline Open mixed doubles competition at the Carleton Place Curling Club, a pair of teams with Ottawa connections earned 3-0 preliminary-round records, but lost in the quarterfinals.

Rachel Homan of the Ottawa Curling Club and Tyler Tardi of Langley, B.C. fell to Laura Walker and Kirk Muyres of Edmonton 7-5, while Ottawa’s Lisa Weagle, the former lead player for Team Homan, and Toronto’s John Epping were defeated 10-4 by Jenny Perret and Martin Rios of Glarus, Switzerland.

Walker and Muyres reached the final, but lost to Jennifer Dodds and Bruce Mouat of Stirling, Scotland, 7-6 in an extra end.

GLEBE’S DEREK STRACHAN PART OF RECORD-BREAKING RUN

The top three finishers broke the boys’ varsity (high school) record at the Capital XC Challenge at Mooney’s Bay.

Robin Lefebvre of Montreal’s Vainqueurs Athletics Club placed first in the 5,000-metre race in 15 minutes, 43.52 seconds, which eclipsed the one-year record of 16:02.07 set by Angus Skinner of Frontenac. It was the only record broken in the 12-race cross-country running challenge.

Derek Strachan of Glebe Collegiate Institute was part of the record-breaking trio, finishing in second place in 15:51.38, while Vainqueurs’ Ilyass Kasmi was third in 15:55.91.

Louise Stonham of the Ottawa Lions won the girls’ varsity 5,000 metres in 18:11.89. Glebe’s Lauren Alexander was runner-up in 18:25.40.

The respective girls’ and boys’ junior varsity champions were Isabella Chiumera of St. Pius X in 15:06.51 and Malachi Kenny of Pembroke’s Bishop Smith in 13:04.41. Each race was held over 4,000 metres.

Toronto’s Monarch Athletics’ Becca Brennan, a former Ottawa Lions’ youth program co-ordinator, captured the women’s open/university 6,000 metres in 22:30.95, while McGill University’s Matthew Beaudet topped the men’s university/open field in 18:37.07.

RIDEAU CANOE CLUB PADDLERS GO THE DISTANCE QUICKLY

Sisters Abby and Zoe Wojtyk, Caroline Anderson, Dax Morris and Kieran Graham had something in common after the Canoe Kayak Ontario Sprints Ontario Cup Long-Distance Regatta.

Competing on their home course, the Rideau Canoe Club paddlers each won a pair of provincial titles in individual races over 10 kilometres and tandem competitions over five kilometres.

Rideau paddlers registered 13 firsts, while Ottawa River Canoe Club athletes earned three provincial titles.

Abby Wojtyk was the women’s U16 C1 winner and later combined with runner-up Julia Price to win the shorter C2 race. Zoe Wojtyk earned women’s U18 firsts in the C1 individual and the C2 race with Graham, whose first win was in the open men’s C1.

Anderson was unbeatable in the girls’ U14 C1 and again in the mixed C2 with Wesley Barlett. Morris not only won the boys’ U14 K1, but also teamed with Alessandro Pucci to win the race involving K2 and K4 boats.

OTTAWA SOONERS QUALIFY FOR JUNIOR FOOTBALL SEMIFINALS

The Ottawa Sooners ran past the Quinte Skyhawks 46-10 to finish their Ontario Football Conference regular season in third place with a 5-3 record.

The conference semifinals will take place Oct. 15 with the Sooners meeting the second-place London Beefeaters, 6-2, and the first-place St. Clair Saints, 8-0, facing the fourth-place Hamilton Hurricanes, 3-5.

The Sooners lost twice to the Beefeaters in the regular-season.

In the Quebec Major Junior Football League, the Ottawa Junior Riders rolled past Les Loups du Nord 36-7 to maintain their share of first place with a 5-1 record.

South Shore Packers have played one game less than the Jr. Riders, but also are in first place at 5-0.

GEE-GEES WIN MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT AT BROCK

The University of Ottawa men’s basketball team won all three of its games at the Brock University RBC Classic tournament.

After defeating Dalhousie 68-48 and Manitoba 85-77, the Gee-Gees edged Brock 77-72 behind the 16-point performance from Guillaume Pepin. Kevin Otoo added 13 points and Dragan Stajic contributed 12 points and eight rebounds.

The Carleton University Ravens women’s basketball team came close to a three-game sweep in its McKeen Metro Glebe Invitational, but lost its final game 70-66 in overtime to UQAM Citadins of Montreal.

In earlier games for Carleton, Kinly Rice and Kali Pocrnic scored 18 points each in a 94-70 win over UBC Okanagan, and Pocrnic counted 19 points as the Ravens defeated Concordia 77-59.

Carleton’s Teresa Donato was named to the tournament all-star team.

The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s basketball team split a pair of games against Atlantic universities.

The Gee-Gees defeated Prince Edward Island Panthers 76-55, but lost to Acadia Axewomen 55-47.

Alana Renon had a double-double for the Gee-Gees against Acadia with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Nadine Katumbayi scored 15 points.

The University of New Brunswick Reds posted three decisive wins to capture its Helen Campbell women’s basketball tournament and Ottawa’s Katie Butts played a significant role.

The Reds won the title defeating Cape Breton 89-58 in the final, after turning back McGill 77-35 and Manitoba 96-76.

Butts, a 6-2 post player, averaged 7.0 points and 7.7 rebounds in 18.3 minutes of floor time.

ROOKIE VICKY SAVARD HELPS CANADA TO NEW HEIGHTS AT VOLLEYBALL WORLDS

In her debut tournament with the team, Ottawa’s Vicky Savard has helped revive the long-suffering Canadian senior women’s volleyball team, who have advanced to the second round of the Sept. 23-Oct. 15 World Championships in the Netherlands/Poland.

Savard didn’t make the stats sheet in Canada’s opening straight-sets losses to Serbia and USA before getting on the board with 5 points in a dominant win over Kazakhstan.

The Canadians then earned a key 3-1 win over Bulgaria to clinch their ticket to round two, and then battled back from two sets down to claim a 12-25, 24-26, 25-23, 25-18, 15-9 victory over Germany on Saturday.

Savard posted two kills in the win over the Germans as Canada claimed third place in its six-team group and advanced to the tournament’s final 16.

The last time Canada earned a top-16 finish at the women’s volleyball worlds was three years before Savard was born (Canada placed 14th in 1990).

Savard is wearing Canadian colours for the first time since the 2015 FISU World Student Games.

After graduating from Louis-Riel high school and the Ottawa Mavericks youth volleyball club, Savard earned a national university bronze medal during her time with the Université de Montréal Carabins.

The right-side hitter then began playing professionally in Europe, for clubs in Finland, Austria, Spain and now for Terville-Florange OC in France.

The Canadian women, who are ranked 15th globally, will take on Thailand, Turkey, Poland and Dominican Republic between Oct. 4-8 for the chance to play in the quarter-final round.

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 49 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.

Martin can be reached by e-mail at martincleary51@gmail.com and on Twitter @martincleary.


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