Memorial Sea-Hawks soccer teams have the weekend off, but the university will still have plenty of representation in varsity competition in the coming days, including a couple of teams — the women’s basketball and volleyball entries — involved in exhibition play in Ontario.
Memorial’s cross-country athletes are also on the road, taking part in the Acadia Invitational meet.
The basketballers are facing a three-in-three weekend, taking on the University of Toronto Varsity Blues tonight, the York Lions on Saturday and the Guelph Gryphons on Sunday.
The three contests are part of an eight-game preseason schedule for Memorial, a schedule which began with a split of a pair of contests against the Saint Mary’s Huskies last weekend in Corner Brook.
Those eight games are two more than the Sea-Hawks normally play in the preseason. Head coach Mark English says that’s important top allow for his young team to gel as it prepares for a new Atlantic University Sport (AUS) campaign.
Of the 15 players on the roster, eight are in their first or second collegiate year.
“We saw a lot of positives in Corner Brook,” said English in a release from the team. “We were able to give a ton of opportunity to young players and see what they can do.”
The Sea-Hawks went all the way to the AUS final last season before losing to the Acadia Axewomen. But Memorial has since lost Sydney Stewart, Sydney Ezekiel, Brooklyn Wright and Rosie Stanoev to graduation. Stewart and Ezekiel were third and seventh, respectively, in conference scoring, while Wright also averaged in double figures. All three started every game for Memorial in 2018-19.
Stanoev, a top defensive player, started 12 of the 18 games she played in her final year.
Leading the way this season will be fifth-year guards Jane Baird, the team’s floor general, and Haille Nickerson, who was third in team scoring and 10th in the AUS with a 14 points-per-game average.
“We have a great leadership core in place with our senior players,” said English, whose team plays its first regular-season game on Nov. 2, when they host the University of New Brunswick Reds.
The Memorial women’s volleyballers are in the nation’s capital for University of Ottawa Gee-Gees Pre-Season Classic, a 10-team event.
The Sea-Hawks are competing in a five-team division that includes the Manitoba Bisons, UQAM Citadins, McMaster Marauders and host Gee-Gees
Memorial plays twice both today and Saturday. On Sunday, the Sea-Hawks ross over to take on the team from the other division that finishes in the same place in the standings.
Memorial head coach John Slauenwhite emphasizes the need for everyone on the roster to get playing time during this preseason, especially given the team’s youth. The volleyballers are even younger than their basketball counterparts; there are no fourth- or fifth-year players on the team, with 10 of the 14 on the roster in their first or second year of collegiate eligibility.
“Our young team is very eager to learn and makes changes that are necessary to compete at the highest level in the AUS,” said Slauenwhite. “The group competes and works hard on and off the court, which makes it a really fun group to work with on a daily basis.”
These will not be the first pre-season games for the Sea-Hawks. Memorial hosted the Brandon Bobcats for three exhibition matches last month in St. John’s.
The visitors swept the weekend (3-0, 3-1, 3-0), but Slauenwhite was only seeking out positives.
“We may have lost when it comes to the score, but we always learn from our mistakes and losses, which enables us to become better as individuals and ultimately as a team,” he said.
The Sea-Hawks open their AUS regular schedule Nov. 1 when they take on the Saint Mary’s Huskies in Halifax.
The roster for the 2019-20 Memorial Sea-Hawks women’s basketball team, with jersey numbers, position, year of collegiate eligibility, height and high school (all high schools are from St. John’s, except where noted):
4. Jane Baird; PG; fifth year; 5-7; Gonzaga
6. Emma Power; G; first year; 5-6; St. Kevin's
7. Alana Short; G; second year; 5-10; Innisdale, Barrie, Ont.
8. Ashley Collins; G. third year; 5-6; St. Kevin’s
10. Breena Power; G. third year; 5-9; St. Kevin's
11. Cameron Longley; F; third year; 6-1; Sir John A. MacDonald, Hubbards, N.S.
12. Carly Stevenson; F; first year; 5-10; Holy Heart
13. Erin Long; G; first year; 5-11; Holy Heart
14. Ines Salat Margarit; G; fourth year; 5-6; Barcelona, Spain
15. Hannah Green; F; first year; 6-2; Holy Trinity; Torbay
23. Haille Nickerson. G; fifth year; 5-7; Blessed Trinity, Grimsby, Ont.
24. Sammi Deakin-Sharpe; PG; fourth year; 5-9; Moreton Bay College, Brisbane, Australia
31. Kelli Linehan; G; first year; 5'7; St. Catherine’s, Mount Carmel
32. Gabrielle Roche; F; second year; 6-2; Waterford Valley
Grace Bennett (red shirt); F; second year; 6-1; St. Kevin's
The roster for the 2019-20 Memorial Sea-Hawks women’s volleyball team, with jersey numbers, position, year of collegiate eligibility, height and high school:
1. Amber Vardy; outside hitter; first year; 5-10; Clarenville
2. Alyssa Warford; outside hitter; first year; 5-9; Corner Brook
4. Katie Wagar; libero; third year; 5-6; Citadel, Halifax
5. Caroline Walsh; outside hitter; second year 5-9; Gonzaga, St. John’s
6. Hailey Oke; middle blocker; third year; 6-3; Corner Brook
7. Julia Bartlett; setter; second year; 5-7; Gonzaga; St. John’s
8. Kaitlyn Kuchinka; outside hitter; third year; 5-11; Jasper Place, Edmonton
9. Erin Grabka; outside hitter; second year; 5-8; Corner Brook
10. Margaret Henley; setter; second year; 5-8; Holy Heart, St. John’s
11. Erica Rafuse; setter; first year; 5-11; West Kings, Harmony, N.S.
12. Claire Whiffen; middle blocker; second year; 6-2; Mount Pearl
13. Emily Batt; outside hitter; first year; 5-11; Charles Spencer, Grande Prairie, Alta.
14. Catherine Smith; middle blocker; third year; 6-1; Mount Pearl
15. Cecilie Dumaresque; opposite; second year; 6-0; Holy Heart, St. John’s