Sports Previews: What You Need to Know About the Concordia Stingers

Photo Elysia-Marie Campbell

Men’s Basketball

Head coach Rastko Popovic’s team finished second in their division last year—behind a McGill team they played to a 2-2 season series split. They made it to the conference semi-finals but lost to UQAM.

Optimism is high for the 2016-17 team and that’s because their roster got bigger, healthier and most crucially, deeper in the offseason.

“We recruited well and added a couple key guys,” said Popovic. “We knew we had to deal with our lack of depth in the offseason, and we brought in some young guys that are going to play as well as some veterans, that will be able to contribute over the course of the long season.”

Their regular season tips off on their home court against the Bishop’s Gaiters on Nov. 10.

Women’s Basketball

Head coach Tenicha Gittens and her team will look to bounce back from finishing second to last in the Réseau de Sport Étudiant du Québec regular season standings.

To do so, Gittens brought on new recruits—including Vanier College player of the year Caroline Task. The team will once again rely on forward Richelle Gregoire in order to kick-start their campaign. She averaged 15.1 points per game last season—second place in the RSEQ individual scoring leaders category.

After three preseason tournaments at Nipissing, Concordia, and Carleton, the team will start their season at home against the Bishop‘s Gaiters on Nov. 10.

*Men’s Rugby *

The Stingers men’s rugby squad ended their 2015 season with a disappointing loss to Réseau de Sport Étudiant du Québec newcomers, the École de Technologie Supérieure Piranhas in the quarterfinals. This season, they intend to return to the RSEQ finals, and recapture the title they won in 2014.

“Totally new season,” said Stingers men’s rugby captain Andreas Krawcyzk. “We’re not worrying about our loss last year, not worrying about our championship two years ago, [or] about any other team in the league except for us.”

With head coach Clive Gibson retiring, the team will have a new head coach for the first time in 21 years: Craig Beemer, who has been with the team since 2014 as an assistant.

These guys are really a positive group of rugby players,” Beemer said. “We had our first practice of the year, and it was moving, it was fast paced. There were no repercussions from last year.”

Their first game is on Sept. 11 against the McGill Redmen.

Women’s Rugby

After six wins during the regular season, the only team that managed to beat the Stingers women’s rugby team was the Ottawa Gee-Gees. Once in the RSEQ finals, the Gee-Gees once again got the better of the Stingers.

This season, Concordia is back with a vengeance. It is expected that Concordia will be lead by the two-headed monster, composed of centres Alexandra Tessier and Frederique Rajotte.

Fresh from being selected to represent Canada at the Women’s Rugby Super Series in Salt Lake City, Utah this summer, Rajotte and Tessier were respectively ranked third and fourth in the 2015 RSEQ leading scorer rankings.

It is also worth mentioning that Francois Ratier, head coach of Canada’s national rugby team, will serve as an assistant coach under head coach Graeme McGravie this season.

Men’s Hockey

The Stingers men’s hockey team finished last season with a losing record and an early playoff exit against their arch rivals, the McGill Redmen. While the statistics paint a negative image, the now-official head coach Marc-Andre Element viewed last season from a positive light.

“We were really young last year and I think we had a really good season,” said Element. “All the young kids they’ve been working hard, they’ve been battling hard and I know they’ve been training during the summer so that’s exciting for this season.”

Once again, the Stingers will be welcoming a young team with the departures of veterans Jessyko Bernard, Frederick Roy and Luca Ciampini. Luckily, captain Olivier Hinse will don the maroon and gold jersey for one last season.

New recruits will be expected to fill those offensive gaps. Anthony Deluca and Philippe Sanche who both played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League are exciting additions to the Stingers roster.

The Stingers have a month to prepare for the upcoming season as they play their first game on Oct. 7 away against Nipissing.

Women’s Hockey

The Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team struggled last season, winning only six games, but newly appointed head coach Julie Chu, who currently plays for the Montreal Canadiennes in the CWHL, has already cultivated a winning philosophy centered around team leadership from veterans and recruits.

After losing in the first round of the playoffs, the team lost captain Erica Porter and veteran Marie-Pier Cloutier. Their departures signified a shift in leadership on the team but Chu didn’t seem rushed to choose their next captain.

“We’ll again go through the captain nomination process that we go through and see who emerges as the leaders,” said Chu. “But beyond that we have a lot of great veterans who understand what it means to be successful.”

Veteran netminder Katherine Purchase, who finished last season with a 2.21 GAA and a .914 save percentage, trained hard during the off-season.
The Stingers women’s team will begin their quest to capture the RSEQ title on Oct. 14 as the season opens at home versus the Ottawa Gee-Gees.

Women’s Soccer

The Concordia Stingers women’s soccer team is looking to make an impression on the league come this fall.

Despite a handful of departures from the team, including star forward Katelyn Fournier, Sanchez wasted no time integrating new players to help boost his team.

“We added some CIS-ready players right away,” said head coach Jorge Sanchez. “We’re deeper, we have a lot more options and variety in the way we’re going to play.”

The Stingers started their season off on a positive note, grabbing a point away from home with a 1-1 draw over rivals the McGill Martlets.

The Stingers will look to seal all three points on Friday, Sept. 9 as they face the Université de Montréal Carabins in their home opener.

Men’s Soccer

It’s been somewhat of a transitional period for the Stingers men’s soccer team under head coach Greg Sutton.

The goal is simple this season for Sutton and the Stingers—make the playoffs.

“If I’m being realistic, I think for us it’d be important to make the playoffs,” said Sutton. “You know once you do that, anything can happen.”

In this summer’s recruitment, Sutton made sure to bring in players to give him more options on the attacking front.

“In this off season we’ve added some key players in some key positions and you know I think it’s shown early here in our preseason,” said Sutton.

With the season already started, the Stingers will be looking to bounce in their home opener versus Montreal, after suffering a dismal 5-2 defeat at the hands of the McGill Redmen.