OUA announces 2017 Women's Rugby award winners and All-stars

November 01, 2017

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With files from OUA Communications; Photo Credit to Seryan Mammadov

(BURLINGTON, ON) - Ontario University Athletics (OUA) is pleased to announce the 2017 OUA Women’s Rugby major award winners and All-Stars.

Shiels Division Player of the Year – Sara Svoboda, McMaster

For the second consecutive year, back row Sara Svoboda (Belleville, Ont.) from McMaster has been named the Shiels Division Player of the Year. It was another strong year for the Marauders and Svoboda in particular. The Belleville, Ont. native finished tied atop the division scoring ace with four tries and thirteen conversions (46 points).

Not only has the 4th year star been a leader from a productivity standpoint, but also in terms of her athletic and technical skills on both sides of the ball. Svoboda has led the Marauders, who will play for the OUA Bronze Medal this Friday against York, in carries across each game this season and has created and supported the most linebreaks as well. She has done extremely well to build on her award-winning 2016 campaign to make her accomplishments this year that much more remarkable.

Svoboda has also been named an OUA All-Star, along with three of her Marauders teammates, including Brit French (Hamilton, Ont.) for a second straight year, Selena Seguin (Brantford, Ont.), and Cassidy Calvert (London, Ont.).

Russell Division Player of the Year – Jordan Semark, Trent

The Russell Division’s Player of the Year, meanwhile, comes via the Excalibur, as Trent’s Jordan Semark (Shannonville, Ont.) has collected the division’s top honours for 2017. Semark has served as captain for the Excalibur, and as the starting prop, she represents the team’s leading try scorer. Semark has been a leader by example in her fourth year, as the Biology Major has made her mark on another dominant season.

Russell Division Coach of the Year – Pete Hercus, Trent

Joining Semark as OUA All-Stars are Kristy Metzger (Clinton, Ont.), Maddy Howells (Port Hope, Ont.), and Anna Pypker (Guelph-Eramosa, Ont.). But the accolades don’t stop there for the Russell Division’s 2nd place finisher, as Pete Hercus has been named the division’s Coach of the Year. Hercus helped the team to a 3-1 regular season, which featured hard-fought victories over Waterloo, Toronto, and Laurier.

Russell Division Rookie of the Year – Taylor Hurd, Brock

While Trent’s year was worthy of multiple award winners, the bounce back Badgers were also able to take home some individual hardware. Brock was able to undergo a significant turnaround from 2016, and one of the sparks behind that change was newcomer Taylor Hurd (Oakville, Ont.), who has been named the Russell Division Rookie of the Year.

A top recruit out of Oakville, the 1st year back immediately made an impact at the OUA level. She finished second in the conference in scoring (54 points) thanks to 10 tries and two conversions. Not only was Hurd able to score an average of two to three times per game, but she often did so with tries coming from a 50m-plus run. She showed off her elite speed and understanding of the game on both ends of the pitch, making it clear why she was a member of the U18 Canada 15s and U18 Canada 7s in 2016.

Also playing key roles for the Badgers to help them lead the conference in both points for and against are five OUA All-Stars – Meagan Hart (Brantford, Ont.) and Amarije Barnes (Brampton, Ont.), both of whom are named for a second straight season; Kaylah Moehling (Port Colborne, Ont.); Katelyn Heyens (La Salette, Ont.); and Jenna Rainville (Stoney Creek, Ont.)

Joining the Badgers with an OUA high five All-Star nods are the Guelph Gryphons, who will once again play for gold at this weekend’s OUA championships. As the lone undefeated squad in Ontario this season, the Gryphons used a total team effort to set themselves up for a successful season.

The All-Stars coming from Guelph’s Shiels Division leading squad are: Julia Schell (Uxbridge, Ont.), the second straight All-Star nod for the 2016 Shiels Division Player of the Year; Kylie Shaughnessy (Peterborough, Ont.), who also picks up her second straight selection; Madison Brattan (Guelph, Ont.); Emilie Nicholl (Toronto, Ont.); and Chloe Runge (Guelph, Ont.). 

Shiels Division Coach of the Year – Colette McAuley, Guelph

Helping to lead this talented crew is Coach Colette McAuley, and for her efforts in securing the Gryphons their 24 straight OUA medal and another trip to the National Championships, McAuley has been named the Shiels Division Coach of the Year. It has been another triumphant effort for McAuley in her 11th season leading the Gryphons, and the Guelph rugby alumna has made sure to pass along her dedication to learning and development, as well as winning, in order to keep the squad as one of the most well-rounded in all of Canada.

Shiels Division Rookie of the Year – Sophie de Goede, Queen’s

Joining Guelph in the championship game will be the Queen’s Gaels, who boast an All-Star laden roster as well. McKinley Hunt (King City, Ont.), Kara Gani (Toronto, Ont.), and Sophie de Goede (Victoria, B.C.) have all been tabbed for the Shiels Division accolade this season, and it is the latter – 1st year player de Goede – who will take home an additional piece of hardware as well.

The Commerce Major and two-sport athlete has earned recognition as the Shiels Division Rookie of the Year. de Goede collected eight tries and 10 conversions through four matches, along with a 70% tackle completion. A big reason for her success on the pitch – at a critical position (#8) – is her well-rounded skill in open play and set pieces. And despite missing one the Gaels’ fixtures this season, she has been a key cog in the Tricolour machine and is someone who boasts an unrelenting commitment to personal improvement.

Shiels Division Community Service Award – Arielle Dubissette-Borrice, Western

Turning to the Community Service Award, the honours in the Shiels Division goes to Western’s Arielle Dubissette-Borrice (Toronto, Ont.). For the past two years, Dubissette-Borrice has been working with the Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation, while also working with Rugby Alliance during the summer and a coach and intern. This spring, she will be heading to Nicaragua with the Dog River Howlers to reach and coach youth in a developing rugby nation. Rounding out her impressive involvement in the community and with the sport, Dubissette-Borrice has also served as guest coach at a high school’s rugby day and coached the Women’s 7s team attending the Magnificent Sevens last year.

Russell Division Community Service Award – Lori Musselman, Laurier

Also putting a significant amount of time and effort into the sport of rugby beyond her role on the pitch is Lori Musselman (Elora, Ont.), who is the Russell Division’s Community Service Award winner. Musselman, who serves as the captain for the Laurier Golden Hawks, truly puts her heart and soul into everything the team does. She has put a great deal of time and effort into the program, not only helping to support the rookies and younger players, but also in terms of organizing events. She is a true leader in every sense of the word, something that is reflected in her award-winning efforts.

Musselman has also earned OUA All-Star recognition for her on-field performance this season, along with her teammates Shannon Bellamy and Michaela Strong. Rounding out the Russell Division All-Stars are University of Toronto Varsity Blues’ Robyn Feraday (Toronto, Ont.) and Khadijat Dhako (Markham, Ont.), and Waterloo Warriors’ Kiera Mathers (Waterloo, Ont.).

Finishing off the Shiels Division All-Stars, meanwhile, are a pair of back-to-back All-Stars from the York Lions – Tobi Owotomo (Mississauga, Ont.) and Petra Woods (Brampton, Ont.), as well as the Western Mustangs’ 2016 OUA All-Star Nikki Case (Toronto, Ont.).

The complete list of 2017 Women’s Rugby All-Stars and Major Award winners is as follows:

Russell Division Major Award Winners

Player of the Year – Jordan Semark, Trent
Rookie of the Year – Taylor Hurd, Brock
Coach of the Year – Pete Hercus, Trent
Community Service Award – Lori Musselman, Laurier

Shiels Division Major Award Winners

Player of the Year – Sara Svoboda, McMaster
Rookie of the Year – Sophie de Goede, Queen’s
Coach of the Year – Colette McAuley, Guelph
Community Service Award – Arielle Dubissette-Borrice, Western

Russell Division All-Stars

Meagan Hart, Brock
Amarije Barnes, Brock
Kaylah Moehling, Brock
Katelyn Heyens, Brock
Jenna Rainville, Brock
Jordan Semark, Trent
Kristy Metzger, Trent
Maddy Howells, Trent
Anna Pypker, Trent
Lori Musselman, Laurier
Shannon Bellamy, Laurier
Michaela Strong, Laurier
Robyn Feraday, Toronto
Khadijat Dhako, Toronto
Kiera Mathers, Waterloo

Shiels Division All-Stars

Julia Schell, Guelph
Kylie Shaughnessy, Guelph
Madison Brattan, Guelph
Emilie Nicholl, Guelph
Chloe Runge, Guelph
Sara Svoboda, McMaster
Brit French, McMaster
Selena Seguin, McMaster
Cassidy Calvert, McMaster
McKinley Hunt, Queen’s
Kara Gani, Queen’s
Sophie de Goede, Queen’s
Tobi Owotomo, York
Petra Woods, York
Nikki Case, Western