Ultimate Canada Magazine – October 23

Laval Excellence came into the weekend as the number one seed and the reigning champions. Two days later, they were once again hosting the trophy.

Prior to the weekend, head coach Audrey St-Arnaud said that the team’s biggest challenge would be facing up against teams of similar strength to them after not facing much opposition in the Quebec series.

It soon became evident that Laval was on a mission as they took down Western, McGill and Carleton – with their closest game being a 12-5 victory over McGill.

Laval celebrates in their game against Ottawa. Photo/Daniel Ngai

Moving onto quarterfinals the following morning, Laval found themselves facing a fiery University of Ottawa team. In what became their hardest game of the weekend, Laval had to dig deep to come out on top with a 14-10 win.

Facing off against McMaster in semis, who put up big victories throughout the course of the weekend after having to qualify on the Friday, Laval secured their spot in the finals with a 15-3 win and set up a rematch of last year’s universe point semi-final game against Queen’s.

The Paper Bag Princesses also came in strong with an undefeated day one in pool play. Despite an early season loss to the Waterloo Warriors at Steeltown, Queen’s remained undefeated the rest of the season all the way to the finals.

Handler Wynne Gee was a key member of the Queen’s offense. Photo/Daniel Ngai

Queen’s came into the final with determination breaking quickly and taking Laval by surprise going up 3-1. However, the shaky start proved to be no trouble for the Excellence to recover from and they quickly broke back then went on a 7 to 1 point run to take half 8-4 over Queen’s.

From half-time onwards the momentum was all in the favour of Laval. With time running down Laval continued to break taking the game to 12-5. Queen’s found a late spurt and traded out the last couple point but the slump through the middle of the game coupled with Laval’s sheer desire to fight for every disc carried the Excellence to a back to back championship title ending the game at 13-7.

The repeat title was coupled with winning the spirit title for a second year in a row, an exclamation point on the season for the Laval Excellence.

Although Laval brought so much depth to their roster, some standouts still helped carry the team to the title. Elizabeth Turcotte, Sabrina Jean-Girard, Charlotte Latulippe, Geneviève Beaudoin and Sandrine Boucher had outstanding games to name a few.

Audrey Clothier receives the trophy for Laval. Photo/Daniel Ngai

MVP Audrey Clothier was the leading force for Laval. Clothier captained the team to their repeat title and simultaneously earned herself the back to back MVP title.

Laval will only be graduating a few players for next year, but losing two-time MVP Clothier is sure to have an impact.

Queen’s is losing some players including two of their captains, Laura Kinoshita and Tess Whitman, and will be regaining Kiera Lee-Pie who was unable to play this season.

“We are definitely excited to keep building all of our young talent since we did take many first years and younger players,” said returning captain Lana Ramic.

Rounding out the podium this year was the University of Waterloo, winning their first medal since a silver back in 2004. The Warriors put up an impressive season qualifying for division 1 early at Steeltown in a universe point victory over Queen’s. This victory brought them back to division 1 for the first time since 2014.

Waterloo lost a key game in pool play to McMaster which put them back into the same side of the bracket as Queen’s for the semi-finals, who they were unable to overcome despite a closer game in pool play the day before.

Alyssa Mason and Jessie Tsang celebrate a point for Waterloo. Photo/Daniel Ngai

Jessie Tsang was the heart of the team and helped regroup the Warriors to head into the bronze medal game. Facing off again against McMaster, Waterloo came away this time with a convincing victory for their first ever medal at university nationals.

With the development and strength of the top three programs in place, it will not be surprising to see them continue to push for top spots on the podium. However, they will have to be wary of other teams like McMaster and Carleton who continue to improve every year as well.