Martlets, Men's Varsity, Sports, Varsity Round UP

Varsity Report Card: Fall 2023

Redbirds Baseball (6–5): B+

Coming off a Quebec baseball championship victory last season, Redbirds baseball was afforded an exciting opportunity to play in the newly formed RSEQ baseball league. Four out of the team’s five conference losses came at the hands of the UQTR Patriotes; the Redbirds were unable to solve UQTR all season long. After sweeping the best-of-three RSEQ semifinal against the Concordia Stingers, the ‘Birds lost the first game of the best-of-three final series against UQTR. The Redbirds dominated the second game 14-4 to tie the series, but McGill ultimately succumbed to the Patriotes, unable to defend the title against their newfound rival. Despite the dropoff from last season, the Redbirds will likely improve as they continue to recover from the two seasons lost to COVID-19. 

Cross Country: Redbirds B+/Martlets B-

Despite missing star runner Matthew Beaudet, Redbirds cross country had yet another strong season while the Martlets saw great improvement from the 2022-23 season due to their significantly smaller roster. Opening the season with the McGill Invitational, Sophie Courville finished third with a time of 22:39, spearheading the Martlets’ fourth-place finish overall. The Redbirds, on the other hand, secured first place in  the men’s division of the meet, with the trio of Thomas Windisch, Noah El Rimawi-Fine, and Jerome Jacques finishing first, second, and third, respectively. The Redbirds consistently placed in the top three at meets throughout the season, coming in first place once again at the Sherbrooke Invitational. At Sherbrooke, the Martlets captured second place, rookie Sienna Matheson leading the way with a sixth-place finish. The RSEQ Championships saw the Redbirds take home bronze while the Martlets finished right in the middle of the pack in fifth place. 

Martlets Field Hockey (0–10): D

With no win on the tally, the Martlets field hockey squad remained at the bottom of the Ontario University Athletic (OUA) standings. The 2023-24 season was once again devoid of home games. McGill has not hosted any field hockey games since the 2019-20 season, when the team made it to the post-season. With a significant proportion of the current roster graduating at the end of the 2023-24 academic year, the team must remain hopeful for the coming season. However, the disappointing showing on the field did not prevent members of the squad from standing out off the field. VP Inclusion for the Varsity Council, Ada Collins, received the OUA’s inaugural Champion of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award, the first award granted to a McGill field hockey player since 2017. 

Sports Editor and Martlets field hockey goalkeeper Anoushka Oke did not contribute to this section of the article.

Redbirds Football (1–7):  D

The Redbirds football team took home a singular win for the third straight season. After defeating Sherbrooke Vert et Or 26-14 in their home opener, the Redbirds lost each of their subsequent games by double digits––an unfortunate outcome for McGill’s highly-touted team. Individually, however, the Redbirds had a number of impressive performances. Offensive lineman Alexandre Marcoux signed a deal with the Calgary Stampeders at the conclusion of the Redbirds’ season. Slotback Darius Simmons earned U SPORTS All-Canadian honours for the third consecutive season, leading the RSEQ in reception yards (611), receptions (54) and yards per game (76.4). Simmons, running back Brandon Ciccarello, and offensive lineman Michael Vlahogiannis were also awarded RSEQ all-star honours. Despite the individual successes, the lack of improvement from last years’ equally disappointing season leaves the Redbirds with yet another D. 

Redbirds Lacrosse (10–4): A+

Despite only seven regular-season wins, Redbirds lacrosse stunned fans across Ontario and Quebec, swiftly qualifying for the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association (CUFLA) playoffs after beating Queen’s University in a 9-5 sudden-death win. For the first time since 2015, the Redbirds squad made it to the final of the Baggataway Cup after putting an end to a decades-old losing streak against Guelph University in the quarter-finals. The Redbirds defeated the Carleton Ravens in the semi-final but fell to the Western University Mustangs in the finals. With thirteen hat-tricks coming from four players this season, and several players honoured as CUFLA all-stars, the 2023 season was a definite success for the Redbirds’ lacrosse squad. 

Rowing: Redbirds B+ / Martlets B

Several Redbirds and Martlets rowers got on the podium throughout the season. Their first regatta, Head of the Rideau, saw McGill take home first place in the women’s lightweight four, second place in the men’s four and in both the men’s and the women’s single, and third place in the men’s lightweight double. The men’s lightweight double then went on to win second place in the following Head of the Trent regatta. Following successful bids from their two regular season regattas, twenty McGill athletes qualified for the Canadian University Rowing Association (CURA) championship showcase meet. McGill rowers got their first medal at the CURA meet since 2014, with the duo of Jacob Lofaro and Federico Sanchez earning silver in the men’s double sculls. 

Martlets Rugby (1–5): C-

After back-to-back winless seasons, the Martlets (1–5) rugby team claimed a lone victory in their season opener, defeating the Bishop’s Gaiters 22-13. Unfortunately, the remaining five games of the season looked much like those of 2022-23 and 2021-22, with the Martlets taking four straight shutout losses and only getting back on the scoreboard in their final game. While disappointing, the Martlets made strides this season with Lauren Minns leading the way. Not only did Minns take home RSEQ athlete of the week on Sept. 6 and achieve RSEQ all-star status at the end of the season, the Martlets’ back-row was awarded All-Canadian second-team honours at the U SPORTS women’s rugby awards. Despite the low C- grade, The Tribune is hopeful for greater success for the Martlets in 2024. 

Redbirds Rugby (4–3): B+ 

After a spectacular 2022-23 season, it was always going to be difficult for the Redbirds rugby team to outdo themselves. Nonetheless, the team still made fans roar in the stands all season long. They ended on three narrow wins, claiming third place in the RSEQ standings. The team faced UOttawa’s Gee-Gees in the semi-finals, one of the only two teams against whom the Redbirds lost in the regular season. After pocketing their first-ever playoff win against McGill, the Gee-Gees ultimately prevailed in the finals for the first time since 2008.

Individuals who had an outstanding season included outside-centre Martin Laval, who established the new single-game record by converting all nine tries of the game opener. Max Bernhart, Dominic Russell, Nicolas Laine, Roberto Frascione, and Elliot Descarreaux were all selected by Rugby Quebec to participate in the New York Rugby Sevens tournament. 

Redbirds Soccer (4–5–5): B- 

The Redbirds failed to make it to the playoffs once again, finishing sixth in the seven-team RSEQ league. Opening their regular season with a 1-0 loss to the UQTR Patriotes, the Redbirds oscillated between losses and ties with a few wins sprinkled in between. However, they saw some improvement from last year, doubling their win tally from the 2022-23 season’s two and losing three fewer games. At the close of the season, defender Matisse Chrétien and midfielder Nassim Kemel earned RSEQ first-team and second-team all-star honours, respectively, while Chrétien, forward Mathis Cyr, and midfielder Nathan Yee earned all-rookie honours. Chrétien was also later named to the U SPORTS all-rookie team. Despite another tough season, the Redbirds have a young team and a strong rookie base that they can hopefully build upon next season to make a bid for the playoffs.

Martlets Soccer (6–3–5): B+

With a third-place finish, the Martlets advanced to the RSEQ semi-finals against the second-place Université de Montréal Carabins, ultimately falling 2-1. Individually, midfielder Mara Bouchard and defender Stephanie Hill were awarded U SPORTS All-Canadian honours. Bouchard, Hill, and midfielder Chloé Renaud were named RSEQ conference all-stars, while goalkeeper Sophie Guilmette was named to the second squad and midfielder Amélie Beaudet-Gaudette was voted onto the all-rookie all-star team. Jose-Luis Valdes took home the RSEQ coach-of-the-year-award in his eleventh season as head coach of the team. Marginally improving from last year with three fewer losses, The Tribune remains hopeful that the Martlets will be able to boost their offense next season and secure wins in tight matches. 

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