Brock’s fall sports season had plenty of highs, lows and historic achievements for Badger teams. While some programs raised expectations.
The men’s rugby team suffered from a high turnover rate going into the 2018-19 season. Their team consisted of many rookies, and only a handful of sophomore and veteran players. Coach Phil Sullivan stressed that there was room for these rookies to grow after finishing their season with a 1-7 record. They defeated the University of Toronto to open their season, but then went on a seven-game losing streak over the rest of the year.
The women’s rugby team was coming off the tails of a historic season. Coach Stefanie Pavlovich had been able to turn a team that consistently finished at the bottom of the OUA and struggled to win even a single game, into a playoff contending team who went undefeated in regular season play. They finished fourth in the province after falling to McMaster in the bronze medal game. Pavlovich was named Coach of the Year in the OUA Russell division and Amarije Barnes, Kaylah Moehling, Taylor Knezevich, Breanna Jeremiah, Meagan Hart, Taylour Hurd and Katelyn Heyens finished the season as OUA All-Stars.
The men’s soccer team lost many of their players to graduation, forcing them to field a team of mostly first year athletes. Their season ended in a complicated playoff race with Windsor that they ultimately lost. Missing the playoffs by such a narrow margin was a disappointment to the team, but they seem to be on the right path for growth.
Women’s soccer was itching to make the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. In the same weekend that the men’s team was eliminated by a close margin, the women squeaked into the playoffs with a victory over Waterloo, and upped their standing with a 3-1 victory over Laurier. They weren’t able to make it very far in the playoffs, losing to McMaster in the first round. The season, overall, was a success. Coming into the season, coach Kevin Trethowan set only the goal of making it to the playoffs, everything after that was seen as a bonus to the team. The team also graduated three of its seniors, Sarah Krause, CJ Belme and Laura Kirk.
Competitive rowers put in hours upon hours of work to get into peak physical condition; Brock rowers are no exception to this. Putting in anywhere from five to 14 workouts in a week, it’s no surprise that the team was able to perform so well. Brock finished behind Western in both men’s and women’s competition. They medaled in several events and Laura Court became the first coxswain to be named the OUA Female Athlete of the Year.
The Badgers found themselves in a strange circumstance after being eliminated in pool play of the OUA playoffs. The playoff format left many confused, Brock was placed in a pool with Toronto. Both teams finished the regular season as top three teams but were forced to compete in the earliest stages of competition. Why Toronto was not placed in Pool C, and therefore splitting up the top three teams, was called into question. Ultimately Brock was sent packing after going 3-0 in pool play after losing the wildcard spot based on their run differential.
The softball program at Brock is not technically recognized as a varsity sport, existing under the title of “club”. Despite the lack of recognition, the team qualified for the Ontario Intercollegiate Women’s Fastpitch Association Championships in October. They started the tournament by trouncing McMaster in a 12-2 victory that ended early because of the 10 run mercy rule. They lost to Western in their next matchup, but quickly recovered to beat Ottawa and Ryerson. The women came home with a Bronze medal.
This season was a struggle for the women’s lacrosse team. They managed to pick up just two wins over the course of the regular season. They finished ninth in the OUA, the only team with a worse record was York who didn’t win a single game. Injuries plagued the team, both of their goaltenders were out with an injury, forcing them to use a replacement who never seemed sure of herself in the net. Their defence was thin and they struggled to generate offence, but their lack of a starting goaltender is what caused the majority of their regular season woes.
The Badgers Lacrosse program started their season strong. They dropped just one game in the course of the regular season, finishing with a 9-1 regular season record. Brock has historically been a contender for the Baggataway cup, their title of CUFLA champions was once undisputed. In recent years, however, Western has begun to cement their place at the top of the league. Brock’s winning record earned them a spot in the playoffs. Once there, they beat Queen’s, Nipissing and Trent to earn their place in the championship game where they met their arch-rival, Western. Goaltender Josh Wood had a highlight season, but it wasn’t enough to stop Western from claiming the title for the third season in a row. It was a frustrating loss for the Badgers who have lost to the Mustangs in the championship game for the second straight year.