When the final whistle sounded at the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) men’s soccer final in Sydney, NS, St. Francis Xavier University soccer coach Graham Kennedy couldn’t believe the day he had just experienced.
On October 29, the StFX X-Men and 1 in the women’s match and 2-0 victory in the men’s match.
For the Antigonish, N.S., school, it marked the first time both teams won in the same season, while the men captured their first title since 1994 and the women’s first since 2016.
“We’ve been close a few times. I’ve been a coach for 15 years here, and we’ve gotten to penalty kicks and overtime a few times,” Kennedy said of the men’s title. “We have had many disappointments and we have learned to live with disappointments, and that is why [winning] “I felt so good.”
With the conference titles, both teams earned berths to the U Sports Championship, and the women’s team traveled to Kingston, Ontario. for their tournament and the men return to Cape Breton for theirs. Both tournaments will be streamed live on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem, and will begin on November 9.
Led by fifth-year forward Amanda Smith’s 22 goals, the X-Women have been the best team in Atlantic Canada, playing to a 12-0-0 record in the regular season before winning both of their playoff games. This season he has scored 53 goals and conceded five.
“This season left me speechless at some points; we have 25 girls who are completely committed to this and we worked a lot together during the offseason, and when we got to training camp, Graham had a new system that we hadn’t played before and we all accepted “said Smith.
Qualification for the 2023 Women’s Football Championship is here ⚽️⬇️
The class for the Women’s Soccer Champion 2023 is here ⚽️⬇️
Although the X-Women come into the national tournament with an impeccable record, they are far from the favorites, and no AUS team has won the title since the Dalhousie University Tigers in 2000.
With the X-Women set to face the defending U Sports champion University of Montreal Carabins in the quarterfinals, they won’t get any favors in the draw either. If they win, they would face one of the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds or the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, two teams that consistently ranked 1 and 2 during the regular season.
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At the same time, the This season it has been reflected in his game.
“I think it’s really valuable because you have people bringing different ideas from different areas of the country,” said Smith, an Ottawa native. “Many come from different places with different experiences and, at the end of the day, it’s what lifts us up.”
Charlie Waters on familiar territory
While the women battle for U Sports supremacy in Kingston, the men’s team heads north to Sydney, where forward Charlie Waters seeks more national championship hardware.
Originally from Blackpool, England, he spent five years with the tournament host Cape Breton Capers, but only played three seasons, missing 2018 with a torn ACL and 2020 due to the COVID-19 cancellation.
It was a dominant era for CBU, however, as his offensive contributions helped the Capers win the 2017 U Sports Championship, a silver medal in 2018 and a bronze in 2019.
MSOC: Charlie Waters scores again for @gocapersgo. 2-0
He switched sides before the 2023 season after a year away and scored in the AUS final to win the conference title over his former team. Still, a national championship in his former home offers something completely different.
“It’s always nice for me personally to come back and see some familiar faces, and we’ve had success in that area this season,” said Waters, a former Valor FC selection in the Canadian Premier League Draft. “It’s different than going to nationals with a different university, but I’m going to try to bring that experience to the little things, in a sense, that I can pass on to my teammates.”
If they advance, they would face Carleton University or the Montreal Carabins in the semifinal, with the possibility of a clash with Cape Breton in the final, which would be a rematch of a chaotic AUS final in which red cards were given to three Capers players.
“Charlie is a quiet leader; he really lets his feet do the talking, but this year he’s added another dimension to the attack,” Kennedy said. “I like the StFX blue a lot better than the Cape Breton orange.”
Although some surprises will be needed, the StFX football programs have a chance to make history in both tournaments, as a victory in Kingston and Cape Breton would make them the first school to win both U Sports titles in the same season, but it is not like that. something they are thinking about.
“I have a lot of confidence in our plan, the staff and our players right now; it’s not like hockey or basketball where the coach has a lot of influence on the game,” Kennedy said. “At this stage, there simply isn’t much training left to do. And if there is, you haven’t done your job.”
Around U Sports
The first two U Sports Championships of the 2023-24 season concluded last weekend with Laval Rouge et Or winning the women’s rugby championship and Victoria Vikes winning the women’s field hockey title.
U Sports announced the coaching staff for the men’s all-star hockey team that will play two games against Canada’s World Junior Hockey Championship training camp in Oakville, Ontario, in December. Queen’s Gaels head coach Brett Gibson leads the team.
The Mount Royal University Cougars won their first Canada West men’s soccer championship, defeating UBC 1-0 in the final, ending UBC’s five-year streak of conference titles.
The regular basketball seasons have begun and some teams are already off to good starts. The Western Mustangs men’s basketball team is 3-0 to start the season, while the University of New Brunswick Reds women’s basketball team is 4-0.