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Fall 2014 sports team previews: Part II

Marc Webster of McGill Redmen Rugby
(Luke Orlando / McGill Tribune)

Redmen Rugby

The Redmen started their 2013 season with a new Head Coach, Eric Van Sickle, who has been a steady part of the team’s coaching staff since 2005. He did not disappoint, leading the Redmen on a regular season romp that culminated in their eighth consecutive conference title. Even the RSEQ Championship match was largely one-sided—as the Redmen beat the Concordia Stingers 16-6 to assert their continued dominance of the conference.

Last week, the Redmen played against the Queen’s Gaels in a pre-season match, but a solid first-half by McGill was not enough to overcome the OUA defending champions, who won the game 24-5. Despite the result of this exhibition match, McGill has every reason to enter the 2014 season with confidence.  Since 2001, McGill has participated in every single RSEQ Championship game and has captured 10 trophies over that time span. They closed out their 2013 season with a 9-1-0 overall record and hoisted the Harry Griffiths Trophy, which is given to the best McGill team in a non-CIS sport, for their performance.

With the departure of many talented seniors, such as team captain and leading scorer Cameron Perrin, the team will have to rely on the passion and dedication of a large cohort of rookies and sophomores. Van Sickle’s experiences will prove crucial in guiding this young squad’s effort toward a ninth consecutive title.

The Redmen begin the season against Concordia Sept. 10 at 9 p.m. on their rivals’ home turf, in what should be an exciting rematch of last season’s conference championship.

McGill Redmen Lacrosse
(Luke Orlando / McGill Tribune)

Redmen Lacrosse

Despite an impressive regular season, the Redmen Lacrosse team’s 2013 campaign ended in disappointing fashion. A 14-11 loss to the Guelph Gryphons in the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association (CUFLA) Championship game was a huge blow to the heavily-favoured Redmen squad. Still, the positives far outweighed the negatives during an otherwise dominant season. The Redmen went undefeated (10-0) in the regular season—the first lacrosse team in McGill’s history to achieve this feat—and finished with an overall 14-2 record.

The 2013 team overwhelmed opponents with top-end offensive skill and depth throughout the lineup, a reputation the Redmen hope to carry into this season. A talented veteran squad that only lost three players from last year’s team is led by co-captains Jack Stewart, Alex Rohrbach, Paul Rakoczy, and reigning team MVP and league All-Star Connor Goodwin.

Head Coach Tim Murdoch, who has been at the helm for 11 consecutive seasons, and Assistant Coach Sean Steinweld will bring the benefit of long-term coaching experience to the team. The coaching staff, which also includes former Redmen players Simon Hudson and Scott Bailey, should have no problem moulding the team into championship form–anything less would be a disappointment.

The Redmen host the Queen’s Gaels in its first home game of the season on Sept. 13 at 2 p.m. at Molson Stadium.

Redmen baseball hoist 2012 CIBA National Championship
(Photo courtesy of Benjamin Gordon)

Redmen Baseball

For the McGill Redmen baseball team, 2013 was a year to forget. The lower-seeded Carleton Ravens swept the Redmen in the opening round of the Canadian Intercollegiate Baseball Association (CIBA) playoffs. The early elimination came as a shock to a team that entered the season eyeing a second championship in four years.

This season is different, however, mainly because McGill is playing host to the 2014 Canadian Collegiate Baseball Association (CCBA) National Championship. The host role guarantees McGill entry into the year-end tournament, which takes the pressure off of the team to perform early and often—a key component of success in a league with such a short regular season. Head Coach Jason Starr will be free to tweak the lineup and pitching rotation in order to have the team as healthy as possible down the stretch.

His options top to bottom are as good as or better than last year. A strong push in recruiting has paid off in the form of a solid rookie class, while the team’s core remains intact. Junior middle infielders Tyler Welence and Jamie Fuoco will be relied upon for production in the middle of the lineup. On the mound, the Redmen rotation will be anchored by veterans Nolan Werre and Elliott Ariganello and is among the deepest in recent memory.

The Redmen got their season underway this past weekend with four wins in Ottawa against Carleton and the University of Ottawa, and will look to keep this rolling in their next game against Université de Montréal on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

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