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Cougars playoff preview

Jennilea Coppola rises above the Thunderbird’s defence./Arthur Ward
Jennilea Coppola rises above the Thunderbird’s defence./Arthur Ward

Who is in the playoffs, and who is going golfing?

With the U of R’s second season close at hand, it’s time to take a look at each playoff-bound team’s chances at success in 2015.

Sport: Women’s Basketball

Current Record: 21-10 (12-6 in conference)

Remaining Schedule: @ Winnipeg (Feb. 13/14)

Playoff Position: Currently sitting in fourth with two games to go and ranked number ten in the nation, if the season ended today, the Cougars would be facing UBC in a rematch of last weekend’s two game sweep where the U of R’s representative in the matchup lost by an average of 21.5 points to the country’s number two team.

Key moments: From Nov. 7 until Jan. 3, the team won nine games in a row. But the squad has been playing .500 ball since the Christmas break and will look to go into the playoffs on a winning note with their last two games of the season this weekend against Winnipeg.

Prognosis: The team is annually one of the University of Regina’s top performers, but they will have a tough go trying to get back to the national championships like they did two seasons ago. The teams above them in the standings – UBC, the U of S, and the University of Alberta – will all be worthy challengers when the so-called second season begins next week with the Canada West Play-In Series.

Conclusion: If the team can put together a few all-around games (like they did against the University of Alberta at the CKHS near the end of January), then they have a chance of making the national championship tournament. With the number of tough teams ahead of them, however, I think this team will have reached their potential if they reach the Canada West final four, taking place on Mar. 6 -7, 2015.

Our Sports Editor Matt Wincherauk made some predictions for the Cougars athletics seasons earlier this school year! Check them out and see if he was on point, or dead wrong!

Sport: Women’s Hockey

Current Record: 17-11-2 (14-10-2 in conference)

Remaining Schedule: A home-and-home series with our cross-province rivals, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, is all that stands between the team and another lengthy playoff run

Playoff Position: 6th

Key moments: Consistency has been the name of the game for this year’s squad. The team hasn’t gone on anything resembling a tear, but they have also escaped a lengthy losing streak. Kylie Gavelin has been solid and is the team’s top scorer with eighteen points while defender Triston Riemer leads the team in assists with eleven.

Prognosis: With the team already locked into a quarterfinal playoff series on Feb. 20 against one of UBC, Calgary, or Manitoba, all eyes are on the team’s final two games against a University of Saskatchewan team that is currently sitting one spot above the Cougars in the standings. Given the possible playoff matchups (the squad has won games against all three), there is an excellent chance that the team will at least emerge from their quarterfinal matchup unscathed.

Conclusion: It’s going to be tough for the club to repeat last season’s heroics when they made it all the way to the Canada West Final, but the team has the skill to do it. As with the destiny of many hockey campaigns, the Cougars’ hopes are largely tied to the play of their goaltenders. Jennifer Schmidt and Toni Ross have been splitting time thus far this year and it was Schmidt who backstopped the team to their latest triumph – a 3-2OT contest against the Mount Royal University Cougars.

Sport: Track and Field

Current Record: Ranked Number #10 in the CIS

Remaining Schedule: Indoor Games (Regina), Husky Classic (University of Washington), Canada West Championships (Winnipeg), and CIS National Championships (Windsor, Ontario)

Playoff Position: With plenty of time left in the season, four Cougars have already met the CIS standard in their respective events: Tevaughn Campbell (Men’s 60M), Merissa Margetts (Women’s 60M), Ahmed Alkabary (Men’s Long Jump), and Joy Becker (Women’s Long Jump).
Key Moments: Matt Johnson broke the school’s record in the 1500-metre race last weekend in Winnipeg and Elisabeth Fortier did the same in the women’s weight throw near the end of January with a mark of 16.04 meters, good enough for seventh in the country. Margetts has also written her name in the Cougars history books this season with a 60-metre sprint of 7.53 seconds.

Prognosis: With the Cougars already ranked at number ten nationally, both on the men’s and the women’s side of things, and the team’s indoor season only half over, there are lots of bright spots for the squad. Campbell is ranked number one in the country in the 60-metre dash and is one of only two CIS athletes to hit the national standard this season. Margetts is ranked fourth in the nation, Alkabary is second in his event, as is Becker in hers. All four will look to continue their excellence as the season continues, moving towards the national championships.

Sport: Men’s Basketball

Current Record: 7-18 (7-11 in conference)

Remaining Schedule: The Cougars round out their schedule with two games against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen over the next couple of days.

Playoff Position: The team currently sits out of the playoffs with a slim chance of making the field if they can conquer the University of Winnipeg’s team this weekend.

Key moments: The squad has had a tough time, dragging themselves to a seven and eleven record, but there have been a number of athletes who have had break out seasons on an individual level. Of those players who have competed in all eighteen conference games, four are averaging ten plus points. Will Tallman is leading the team in rebounds at 6.2 per game, Jonathan Tull is averaging an even twenty points per contest, and brother Brandon is spearheading the defensive attack with 39 steals.

Prognosis: If the team can make the playoffs, which is a giant “if,” the team will likely get bounced by their first round opponent, which would be the UBC Thunderbirds who the Cougars lost to last weekend in resounding fashion. With all that being said, even if the team loses their possible matchup, it would be excellent experience for a young team that hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2010-2011 and does not have any graduating players.

About John Loeppky

I am an athlete with a writing problem, or a writer with a sports problem, you decide. When I'm not editing, playing wheelchair sports, or advocating for the disabled, you can find me de-stressing with friends.