Lions riding to Philly for SickKids fundraiser

Four members of the York University Lions women’s hockey team have joined forces with members of Toronto Police Services No. 31 Division to raise money for The Hospital for Sick Children through the Cops Cycle for Kids event.

York University's Cycle for Kids team. From left,
York University’s Cycle for Kids team. From left, Megan Finlay, Justine Treadwell, Megan Lee and Stephanie Dovaston

Beginning on Saturday, May 9, Stephanie Dovaston, Megan Finlay, Megan Lee and Justine Treadwell will be cycling from Toronto’s SickKids Hospital to the Philadelphia Children’s Hospital, a ride that will total 960 kilometres. The sixth annual event runs for five days and they will be riding for approximately eight hours per day.

Proceeds from the event will support the highest priority needs of the Paediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT) at The Hospital for Sick Children.

Show your support and donate!

To help fundraise for the event, the four hockey players are setting up a stationary bike outside the Tim Horton’s on Keele St. (just east of campus) on Friday, May 8 from 10am to 12pm. They will take turns riding beside the drive-thru, spreading awareness and rallying to raise money.

For more information on the ride, visit their Cops Cycle for Kids team page.

York Lions women’s volleyball dig for a cure for cancer Sunday

Volleyball players
The York Lions women’s volleyball team prior to a game.
Volleyball players
The York Lions women’s volleyball team prior to a game.

The York University Lions women’s volleyball team welcomes the Queen’s Gaels to the Tait McKenzie Centre on Sunday, Jan 26, for the squad’s inaugural Dig for a Cure charity game. The contest will begin at 2pm, and comes one day after the Lions also host the Royal Military College (RMC) Paladins on Saturday at the same time. Both games can also be seen live online on LionsTV.

Ticket sales from the match, as well as proceeds from an auction and prize draws, will be donated to the Canadian Cancer Society.

The Lions continue to be one of the top teams in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and remain the highest OUA team in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) rankings, this week at No. 7. Last weekend’s 3-1 win over the Brock University Badgers improved them to 11-2 on the season. They are still two points behind the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees for top spot in the OUA East standings, but have two games in hand and own the tiebreaker, should the teams finish with the same record at the end of the year. Their only losses of the year came against the nationally ranked Gee-Gees and to the Ryerson University Rams in their first game of 2014 two weeks ago.

The Lions have dropped only 10 sets in 13 matches, the lowest number in the OUA. They have just six games remaining on the schedule and only two left against opponents with winning records, including Sunday’s match against Queen’s University Gaels.

The Lions have been without their top two scorers – Brandie Wilkerson and Melissa Humana-Paredes  – for the last several matches but in that time have seen other members of the team step up. Middle blockers Brittney Hopley and Michelle Pierce are both among the OUA’s top 20 in scoring with 3.27 and 3.22 points per set, respectively, while libero Jennifer Black is sixth in the OUA with 3.88 digs per set, and setter Kirsten Dillon is fourth with 10.11 assists per set.

The Gaels have had a solid campaign and currently own a 7-6 record but are currently in danger of missing the playoffs with a fifth-place standing in the ultra-competitive OUA East standings, where only the top four teams will qualify. The squad is 2-2 since returning to action in 2014, with wins over the University of Waterloo and, most recently, Western University, as well as losses to Guelph University and the University of Windsor. The Gaels will need to win the majority of their games down the stretch if they hope to reach the post-season as they are currently four points out of the fourth and final spot.

Queen’s has been led in scoring this year by outside hitter Kelsey Bishop, who is tied for sixth in the OUA with 3.80 points per set.

RMC comes into the match this weekend with a 3-10 record, posting wins over Nipissing, Lakehead and Waterloo universities to surpass last year’s win total of two. With just six wins over their 13 matches, the RMC Paladins are one loss away from being eliminated from the playoffs. They will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak on Saturday, falling to Guelph, Western and Windsor over the last two weeks.

RMC’s leading scorer this year is middle blocker Chelsey Litjens , who ranks 11th in the OUA with 3.56 points per set.

After this weekend the Lions will be on the road for their next four matches, with long road trips to London, Ont., Windsor, Ont., and Thunder Bay, Ont., on the schedule. They begin with a game against the Western University Mustangs on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 6pm, and will play their final regular-season home game on Sunday, Feb. 9 against the Nipissing University Lakers at 2pm.

Lions football team positioned for a strong season

lions football player

The York University Lions football team is ready to make a statement in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) league.

The sense of optimism amocraneyng players is higher than it has been in years for the program, which has been trending upwards since the arrival of head coach Warren Craney.

Warren Craney

The Lions continued their upward movement in the OUA standings last year – finishing in seventh place with a 2-6 record – but many associated with the program remember the year more for what was missed than what was accomplished. The squad lost three games by a combined nine points.

“As much as we wanted to be 5-3 last year, we’ll be a better football team in 2013 from being 2-6. We learned a lot and it made our guys and our coaches a lot hungrier to come out and compete this year,” said Craney.

“In previous years we’ve set what we call achievable goals. You always want to reach for the stars but you also want the players to be able to attain something,” said Craney. “This season, with our first recruiting class going into its third year, it’s time to step up to the plate. We are shooting to become a playoff team, and I believe we have a football team that can compete with anyone in the OUA.”

At the conclusion of last year, Craney and his staff immediately got to work in recruiting and were rewarded for their efforts with the best class in his three years at York. Those players join a group of talented student-athletes who have learned a lot over the past two seasons, and the squad is now finally becoming more of a veteran one.

“Our offence will be very dynamic this year and we will be looking to build off the success the group had last season. Myles [Gibbon] is a tremendous quarterback, we are very excited about our receivers, we are going to be strong in the running game and I think it’s about time to say our offensive line is a top-four line in the OUA,” said Craney.

player_Gibbon, MylesMyles Gibbon

The offence will run through the capable hands Gibbon, a three-year National Collegiate Athletics Association veteran who is coming off a tremendous first season with the Lions last year, in which he finished third in the OUA in passing yardage (1992 yards). “Myles is the emotional leader of this team and, in my opinion, the best quarterback in the country. He is going to carry this football team on his back, and he is going to lead us,” said Craney.

He will have his choice of players to throw the ball to as York’s receiving corps is the team’s most talented unit. OUA all-star William Austin was the top wide out last year with 587 yards – the seventh-best total in the conference – while Devante Hobbs was third on the team with 317 yards, nearly triple the amount he put up in his rookie season.

The group will get an immediate boost of veteran talent with the addition of transfer Damone Williams, a dynamic receiver from St. Francis Xavier University who will be a wildcard for the team with his play-making abilities, both on offence and in the return game.

They are joined by a trio of young receivers who have the talent to make an immediate splash in the OUA. Ryan Dunaway was with the team last year and appeared in just one game, but he has blossomed into a deep threat with great hands. Topping six feet, he is a big target and his speed will make him difficult to guard. Jarrett Carson and Jason Charland both came to York from CEGEP programs in Quebec and, while still freshmen, bring a mature attitude to the position.

The young receivers weren’t the only players to impress early in training camp. Rookie offensive linemen Trevor King and Jon Ravn proved immediately why they were two of the most sought-after recruits this year, and they join a maturing line that includes third-year players Max Sullivan and Jordyn Moore.

The team’s biggest loss came in the backfield with the departure of Kyle Exume, but Craney and his staff feel they have filled the void with a tremendous talent in Connor Anderson. A transfer from West Virginia Wesleyan College, he enrolled at York in the winter semester to get an early start on preparations for this season, and turned plenty of heads at the team’s annual spring scrimmage with his aggressive style and tackle-breaking runs. He will be paired with Errol Brooks, a speed demon who provides the running game with a great change of pace.

While the offence is well positioned to be a juggernaut, the defence remains young and less experienced but still on the verge of a breakthrough. Last year, the Lions allowed 130 yards less per game than the previous season and they will be looking to lower that number even further this year.

At defensive back, the leaders will be Josh Small, a shutdown cornerback who tied for fifth in the OUA with three interceptions and was the team’s rookie of the year last season, and fourth-year player Cory Bellerdine. The depth of the unit has been enhanced with the addition of newcomers Connor Pritty and Samir Boulazreg.

On the defensive line, the coaching staff is expecting big things from Jamal Campbell, a strong second-year player who has worked hard on his body, and rookie Cole Austen, who walked onto campus and immediately into the starting lineup with his solid play.

The biggest surprise of last season was the play of defensive end James Tuck, who was moved to the position after two years as a linebacker. He took to his new spot immediately, finishing seventh in the OUA with 6.5 sacks and ranking second on the team with 33 tackles to earn the team’s defensive MVP trophy.

The linebackers are also a talented group, led by middle linebacker and defensive captain Hussein Hazime, Emerson Morassutti and Michael Runowski, who will be called upon to make all of the adjustments on defence.

Where the team has made the biggest strides is on special teams, with the addition of kickers Nick Naylor and Kevin Kitamura. Both of them will be called upon to improve the area in which the team struggled most last year.

“Our biggest weakness last year was our special teams, and we had a sense of urgency to upgrade in that area in the off season,” said Craney. “We recruited a lot and got the guys we wanted, and based on what I’ve seen in training camp our kicking game has gone from a weakness to strength.”

Above all else, the coaching staff are starting to see the fruits of their labour from the past few years and are looking forward to what lies ahead.

“It means a lot to York to have a strong football program,” said Craney. “The athletic department made a commitment to the team when they hired me and it is time. We’re going into our third real season with our players, and there is a sense of pride among our student-athletes. They know how important it is to the University and we want it as bad as anyone. This university has waited a long time for a successful program, and I can’t wait to bring it to them.”

Lions soccer player to represent Canada at international games in Russia

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York University Lions goalkeeper Sotiri Varlokostas was one of 20 student-athletes selected to represented Canada in men’s soccer at the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia (July 6-17). The Canadian roster is comprised of 18 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) standouts and a pair of NCAA all-stars. The Team Canada roster was selected following three open camps held this winter in Toronto (Feb. 22-24), Vancouver (March 1-3) and Edmonton (March 4-5). A total of 58 players attended the tryouts.

Varlokostas-storyimageYork University Lions goalkeeper Sotiri Varlokostas in action

Varlokostas, a fourth-year netminder from Toronto, is one of three players returning from the 2011 squad that finished the 16-team tournament in ninth position in Shenzhen, China. Also on the team again this year are Guelph striker Robbie Murphy and Niagara midfielder Carl Haworth.

Varlokostas is a two-time Ontario University Athletics (OUA) all-star, earning first-team honours this past season to go along with the second-team award he received the previous year. In 2012, he was the most dominant goalkeeper in the OUA West division, leading the Lions to their undefeated record while giving up a division-low eight goals allowed in 16 games. He made 62 saves and posted nine shutouts this season.

In Russia, Canada will compete in the preliminary round in Pool D against France (July 5), Peru (July 8) and reigning Universiade bronze medallist Brazil (July 10). The gold-medal final of the 16-team competition is scheduled for July 16.

The Canadians are coming off a ninth-place finish in 2011, the second best result in program history behind the fourth position from 2007. Team Canada finished fourth in their group in China after dropping their first two matches against Great Britain and Japan, the two countries which ended up meeting in the tournament final (Japan 2, Great Britain 0). They rebounded with three wins and a draw in their final four contests to end the tourney with a 3-2-1 overall record.

York Lions to host OUA Final Four Championships this weekend

York Lions Soccer Team

York Lions Soccer TeamThe 2012 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) men’s soccer champion will be decided this weekend as four teams battle on the pitch for provincial supremacy at the 2012 OUA Men’s Soccer Final Four Championships.

The four-team event will be hosted by the York University Lions, with the semifinals scheduled for Saturday and the gold- and bronze-medal games to be played on Sunday.

The provincial championship promises to be exciting, with the top two teams in each division qualifying for the two-day event. Joining the host Lions, the No. 1 team in the OUA West Division, are the Queen’s University Gaels (No. 1 in the East), McMaster University Marauders (No. 2 in the West) and the Carleton University Ravens (No. 2 in the East). York and Carleton will face off in the second semifinal at 2pm, while Queen’s and McMaster will meet in the first at 11am.

In addition to the OUA title, these four teams are competing for a berth in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Men’s Soccer Championship, which will be held Nov. 8 to 11 at Laval University in Quebec City. The winners of the two semifinals on Saturday will earn the spots at the national tournament.

Since Week 4, all four participating teams have been ranked among the Top 10 in the CIS, ensuring a fierce two days of soccer.

York Lions

The Lions won their sixth straight OUA West Division title with a sparkling 14-0-2 record and was the only team in the conference to go undefeated in the regular season. The squad has been ranked No. 1 in the CIS in each of the last five weeks and posted 11 shutouts in 17 games, including a 1-0 victory over the Wilfrid Laurier University in the quarter-finals last week. The Lions allowed more than one goal in a game only twice, giving up two to both the University Windsor and Brock University teams, and did not give up more than two goals in any contest. Throughout the regular season, the Lions were dominant on both offence and defence, scoring more goals than any other squad in the OUA (45) and allowing the fewest (eight).

Last OUA championship: 2007

No. of championships since 1965: 2

2012 goal scorers (regular season): Adrian Pena (17), Mark-Anthony Kaye (7), Joseph Cicchillo (3), Nicolas Mejia (3), Charlie Trafford (3), Tyrone Downes (2), Shaun MacDonald (2), Carlos Nogueira (2), Giancarlo Rella (2), Paramvir Sekhon (2), Martino Belligero, and Arthur Casupanan.

Carleton Ravens 

The Ravens are perennial contenders in the OUA and had another solid season this year, finishing with a 10-2-2 mark for second place in the East. The team was ranked nationally in every week but one, and reached a season high of No. 8 in Week 2. The Ravens scored more goals than any other team in the division this year (36), including a 10-goal outburst against Trent University in mid-October. They needed that offence in their quarter-final win over the upstart Ryerson Rams, as the game went into extra time tied at three before the Ravens scored three goals in the final 30 minutes for the 6-3 victory.

Last OUA championship: 2005

No. of championships since 1965: 2

2012 goal scorers (regular season): Andrew Latty (17), Joey Kewin (8), Mekonen Lovemore-White (3), Alexksandar Despotovic (2), Christophe Laberge-Perrault (2), Daud Dahir, Mintcho Mintchev, and Caki Simrooglu.

Queen’s Gaels 

The Gaels had their best season in years, putting together an 11-1-2 record in the regular season to finish in first place in the East. They entered the national rankings in Week 3 and reached a season-high of No. 5 in Week 4, which they are at again this week. The Gaels were dominant on both sides of the ball, boasting the stingiest defence in the division (eight goals allowed) and the second-most prolific offence (32 goals scored), and they did not allow more than one goal in any game this season. The squad escaped its quarter-final match against Toronto, scoring the tying goal in the final minute of extra time then winning on penalty kicks to advance to its first Final Four Championship since 2007.

Last OUA championship: 1995

No. of championships since 1965: 4

2012 goal scorers (regular season): Lucas Azeredo-Lobo (6), Chris Michael (5), Eric Koskins (4), Henry Bloemen (3), Patrick Zanetti (3), Nathan Klemencic (2), Andrew Martin (2), Adrian Rochford (2), Tommy Hong, Nick Pateras, David Tom, and Joseph Zupo.

McMaster Marauders 

The Marauders are the defending OUA champions after winning the title in Ottawa last year despite entering the tournament as the lowest-seeded of the four participating teams. The squad has been nationally ranked in each week of the season with a high of No. 3, which it rose to in the final rankings this week. The Marauders finished five points behind the Lions in the West with a 12-1-3 mark, with their only loss coming to York early in the season. Their 34 goals scored and 11 allowed were both the second-best marks in the division, behind the Lions, and they posted the most dominant quarter-final result last week with a 2-0 win over the University of Guelph.

Last OUA championship: 2011

No. of championships since 1965: 5

2012 goal scorers (regular season): Mark Reilly (11), Paterson Farrell (8), Gersi Xhuti (4), Ryan Garnett (3), Nathaniel Morris (2), Andrew Pastoric, Andrew Curci, Muntazir Fadhel, Ouajih Hamouda, Garret McConville and Daniel Niksic.

Lions sweep tennis singles titles

From left, Valerie Ushanova and Ahmed Shebl dressed in York pride

From left, Valerie Ushanova and Ahmed Shebl dressed in York prideYork University Lions tennis players Ahmed Shebl and Valerie Ushanova swept the men’s and women’s singles titles at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) tennis championships in Oshawa, Ont., this past weekend.

Shebl’s win helped the Lions claim the OUA silver medal in the men’s team standings, while the women finished in fourth place. The Western University Mustangs won both the men’s and women’s banners.

From left, Valerie Ushanova and Ahmed Shebl

Shebl recorded three straight three-set match wins at the championships. In the final against the University of Toronto’s Zain Manji, he won the first set in a tiebreak to take an early lead. Manji got the break he needed in the second set to take it 6-3 and even the match. In an exciting third set, Shebl pulled out the 6-3 victory to capture the gold medal.

He advanced to the final of the top flight after a stunning upset of Vincent Chan of the University of Waterloo Warriors, who won the individual championship last season, in the semifinals. He won that match by a score of 7-6, 4-6, 6-2 and also defeated Western’s Thomas Young 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 in the first round.

Ushanova, on the other hand, was dominant in her final against Marni Venter of the Mustangs. The Toronto native dropped only three games in the match en route to the gold medal, winning 6-2, 6-1. She had also posted a big upset in an earlier round, taking out the top seed from the University of Toronto, Aya Bara, in three sets in the semifinals.

She also won her first-round match over Alison Drainie of the Warriors, by a score of 6-2, 7-5.

Shebl was also competing in the doubles final alongside Lorent Kryeziu, but the two could not muster the same magic that saw Shebl win the singles title. They went down in the final by a score of 8-1 to Chan and Nachiket Yardi of the Waterloo Warriors.

Three other Lions were competing in individual finals on Sunday but all of them were defeated by their opponents. David Kishlyansky lost to Tomohiro Ono of the Mustangs in a 6-7, 6-4, 6-0 three-setter in the men’s second flight, Kryeziu was knocked off by Matthew Jaekel, also of the Mustangs, in the men’s third flight, and Kelsi Smith went down to Western’s Michelle Standescu by a score of 6-3, 6-3 in the women’s fourth flight.

Weekend wrap: Pena’s hat trick lifts men’s soccer Lions over Warriors

Adrian Pena earned his second hat-trick of the season and Sotiri Varlokostas was unbeatable in goal as the York University Lions men’s soccer team blanked the University of Waterloo Warriors 4-0 in an afternoon match Saturday, Oct. 1, at York Stadium.

Varlokostas only had to make two saves en route to his fifth shutout of the season, while Warriors goalkeeper Alberto Tinebra, who was much busier, made seven saves on the day.

With the win, the Lions (6-0-3) remain undefeated this season and retake sole possession of first place in the West with 21 points, while the Warriors drop to 2-7-0 on the season but remain in eighth place. More details on the York Lions website.

Number two Mustangs top football Lions 48-23

The York University Lions football team played a strong game against the number two nationally ranked University of Western Ontario Mustangs before falling by a 48-23 score on Saturday in front of 9,411 fans in London, Ont.

The Mustangs were heavily favoured in this game as the only undefeated team in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and playing in front of a packed house for their Homecoming game, but the Lions came flying out of the gates and no doubt surprised those in attendance.

With the win, the Mustangs improved to 5-0 on the year while the Lions dropped to 1-4 and are tied with Guelph for eighth place in the OUA standings.

The Lions got off to their best start of the season with two quick scoring drives in the first quarter. After getting the ball on Western’s 38-yard line after a three-and-out by the Mustangs, quarterback Dimitar Sevdin completed his first three passes, the third to William Austin in the end zone for a 21-yard opening touchdown. More details.

Warriors upset women’s soccer Lions in afternoon match-up

The York University Lions women’s soccer team had its six-game unbeaten streak come to an end on Saturday courtesy of a 1-0 loss to the University of Waterloo Warriors at York Stadium.

Warriors’ goalkeeper Lesia Bandura made 10 saves in the shutout. Sarah Fiorini made four saves in goal for the Lions.

With the loss, the Lions fall to 3-2-3 on the season and currently sit fourth in the West with 12 points. The Warriors improve to 1-5-2 but remain in last place with just five points. More details.

Field hockey Lions earn one point in weekend doubleheader

The York University Lions women’s field hockey team earned one point in a 0-0 tie against the University of Western Ontario Mustangs on Saturday.

The result marked the second straight game in which the Lions earned a point in the standings, following a 2-1 victory over Queen’s University last week.

Unfortunately, the Lions faced defeat the following day in a narrow 1-0 loss to the University of Waterloo Warriors. Stephanie Snyder scored the lone goal for Waterloo in the win. More details.

Women’s rugby Lions defeated by Trent Excalibur

The York University Lions women’s rugby team was defeated by the Trent University Excalibur by a 17-12 score on Friday, Sept. 30 in Peterborough, Ont.

Even though the Lions were unable to come back, they played a strong game. Another outstanding effort by two-time all-star Tiera Thomas-Reynolds helped the Lions stay in the game until the end. She earned 10 points on two tries.

Another notable performance came from Aisan Fazeli, who scored one conversion for two points. More details.

Weekend wrap: Pena’s late marker keeps soccer Lions undefeated

One week after leading the York University Lions men’s soccer team to a comeback win against the Guelph University Gryphons, fourth-year striker Adrian Pena was the catalyst in yet another comeback Sunday, scoring with less than one minute remaining in regulation to secure a 1-1 draw with the University of Windsor Lancers.

Adrian Pena in actionRight: Adrian Pena in action

Pena, a 2010 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) first-team all-Canadian and OUA first-team all-star, is currently tied for fourth in OUA league scoring with six goals in eight games. Teammate Alon Badat is tied for first with seven goals.

The Lions (5-0-3) outshot the Lancers (2-2-4) 15-7 in the game. Sotiri Varlokostas got the start in goal for the Lions and made six saves, while a busy Sam Atkin made 14 saves in goal for the Lancers.  More details on the York Lions website.

Earlier in the weekend the first-place nationally ranked Lions had another tie, this time with the No. 5 nationally-ranked University of Western Ontario Mustangs in a 1-1 game. More details.

Mattucci leads women’s soccer Lions to 1-0 win over Western

Alessia Mattucci scored the only goal of the game in the 90th minute to give the York University Lions women’s soccer team a 1-0 victory on the road against the University of Western Ontario Mustangs on Saturday.

The second-year midfielder scored her first of the season to lead the Lions to their third win of the season. More details.

The Lions followed up that performance with a scoreless draw with the University of Windsor Lancers. Lions goalkeeper Sarah Fiorini stopped all shots against for her fifth shutout of the season. Lancers goalkeeper Rebecca Singer was equal to the task, also stopping all shots against. More details.

Queen’s knocks off York in Homecoming game

One week after winning its first game of the season, the York University Lions football team returned home Saturday for its Homecoming game against the Queen’s University Gaels and was defeated by a score of 63-3.

The Lions had 1,355 fans in attendance for their annual Homecoming game. With the loss, the Lions fall to 1-3 on the season while the Gaels improved to 2-2. More details.

Men’s tennis Lions continue undefeated season

The York University Lions men’s tennis team kept its perfect record intact this past weekend with victories over the University of Waterloo and the University of Montreal.

The Lions are now 5-0 on the year thanks to a 4-3 win on the road in Waterloo and a dominating 6-1 victory at home over the defending Ontario University Athletics (OUA) champion the University of Montreal Carabins.

Mikhael Lew had the biggest individual win of the weekend with a dominating 6-3, 6-3 victory over Waterloo’s Vincent Chan, last year’s OUA individual singles champion. He also paired with Stan Faynberg to win their doubles match 8-5. More details.

Women’s tennis Lions hand Montreal first loss in four years

The York University Lions women’s tennis team went 3-0 in three close ties this past weekend, defeating the University of Western Ontario, the University of Waterloo and the University of Montreal on the second-to-last weekend of the regular season.

Their biggest result came on Sunday, when the Lions edged out a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Carabins, who have won the last three OUA championships and hadn’t lost a team result in the regular season or playoffs since 2007.

In that tie, the Lions earned the doubles point by taking two of the three matches and then held on to earn three singles victories and the overall win. More details.

Cross country Lions finish 12th at Western International

The York University Lions cross country team ran hard in the 5km/10km Western International Cross Country Meet in London, Ont., on Saturday.  Both teams put forth a strong effort and each finished 12th. More details.

Field hockey Lions emerge victorious in weekend doubleheader

The York University Lions women’s field hockey team faced an early setback on Saturday with a 2-0 loss against the University of Waterloo Warriors at Varsity Stadium, but rebounded the following day with a 2-1 win over the Queen’s University Gaels.

Jessica Rootes scored a goal, her first of the season, while Megan Connolly of Toronto also found the back of the net for the Lions’ two goals. More details.

Women’s rugby Lions fall to No. 10 Gaels

The York University Lions women’s rugby team was defeated 31-3 by the Queen’s University Gaels in their third game of the regular season on Friday night at York.

Despite valiant efforts made by the Lions, they could not stop the advancing offence of the No. 10 nationally-ranked Gaels that led to an early lead during the first half.

Winger Tiera Thomas-Reynolds, a two-time OUA all-star, put forth a strong effort as she barreled down the pitch like a bulldozer. She was a standout throughout the game on the pitch. More details.

Homecoming 2011 this Saturday at York Stadium

The York University Lions football team will play its annual Homecoming game on Saturday, Sept. 24 against the visiting Queen’s University Gaels.

Kick-off is set for 1pm at York Stadium and tickets can be purchased at the gate, with gates and concessions opening at 11:30am. Live streaming of the game is available.

Both teams own 1-2 records after three weeks of play and are tied with two other teams with four points, just two points behind four teams tied with six.

The Lions come into Saturday’s game flying high after last weekend’s thrilling 20-18 overtime victory over the University of Waterloo Warriors on the road. The win marked the team’s first since 2007 and gave head coach Warren Craney his first with the program.

After falling behind 17-0 at the half, the Lions came out flying in the second and were off to a quick start with an early touchdown from Dimitar Sevdin to William Austin, which cut the lead to 17-7. Heneri Dervishi added a field goal late in the quarter, and the Lions finally tied the game with 2:44 left on the clock when Sevdin completed a four-yard pass to rookie Skyler Hurst on third down.

Dervishi had a chance to win the game with a field goal but it went wide, setting up the extra frame. After a Warriors rouge, the Lions drove the ball down to the Waterloo 11-yard line and Dervishi hit the 18-yard field goal for the win.

The Lions are much improved overall this season and have a core group of rookies to thank for the upward trend, particularly on defence. They held the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks to 15 points through three quarters in their first contest and gave up just 10 points to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues two weeks ago. The offence is also starting to click, and the 20 points they scored against Waterloo was also a season-high.

York Football team
Above: The Lions will bring a strong defence to Saturday’s Homecoming game against the Queen’s Gaels

Queen’s also brings plenty of momentum into the game after also recording their first win of the season last weekend against Laurier. The Gaels offence finally came to life as the team exploded for 58 points on offence and came away with a 58-35 victory.

Billy McPhee set career highs with 362 yards passing and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a score of his own on a six-yard bootleg play in the first quarter.

Giovanni Aprile was the star of the afternoon on offence with 177 yards receiving and three touchdown reception in addition to 191 kick return yards and a 91-yard return touchdown on special teams.

Both teams also have defences capable of making big plays as the squads each forced four interceptions in their respective wins last week. The Lions also had a forced fumble and six sacks of the Warriors.

Tickets for York students are free. Other ticket prices include $8 for adults and $5 for non-York students and seniors, while children 12 and under are free.

After their Homecoming game, the Lions will be on the road for three straight weeks, beginning with a trip to London next weekend to face the No. 2 nationally ranked University of Western Ontario Mustangs. They will return home on Saturday, Oct. 22 for the season finale against the University of Windsor Lancers.

Second-half comeback gives football Lions first win

Heneri Dervishi’s field goal in overtime gave the York Lions football team a 20-18 victory over the University of Waterloo Warriors on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Warrior Field.

The win was the team’s first since 2007 and gave head coach Warren Craney his first with the Lions. His players soaked him with a Gatorade bath after the final whistle as the team celebrated at centre field.

 York Lions quarterback Dimitar Sevdin completes a long pass to William Austin in the end zone for a touchdown.
Above: York Lions quarterback Dimitar Sevdin completes a long pass to William Austin in the end zone for a touchdown. Photo by Trevor Mahoney

“It feels amazing,” said Craney after the game. “I’m speechless. I don’t even know what to say! We just had to do it the hard way, but I’m glad we pulled it out in the end. We have such a young team and this is just the beginning. I’m so proud of everyone.”

The first-year kicker from Toronto made good on an 18-yard field goal on York’s only possession in overtime after Waterloo missed a field goal on its attempt and scored a single point after the kick went through the end zone.

The field goal capped off a remarkable 17-point comeback by the Lions in the second half. The Warriors held a 17-0 advantage after two quarters but the Lions slowly chipped away at the lead.

They first got on the scoreboard just three minutes into the third quarter on the second play of the drive. Facing second-and-eight from the Waterloo 29, quarterback Dimitar Sevdin, who was starting his first Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) game, completed a long pass to William Austin in the end zone for the touchdown.

The score remained 17-7 until near the end of the third quarter, when the Lions scored on a 43-yard field goal by Dervishi to make it 17-10.

The Lions continued to press for the tying points and were finally rewarded at the end of the fourth quarter. Defensive back Cory Bellerdine intercepted Waterloo quarterback Luke Balch at the 50-yard line and returned the ball 34 yards to the Waterloo 16, giving the Lions tremendous field position. It was Bellerdine’s second interception of the day, to go along with one he had in the first half.

A four-yard rush by Blair Yachetti and an incomplete pass set up third down and the Lions converted, with Sevdin completing a four-yard pass to rookie Skyler Hurst in the end zone for the tying touchdown with just 2:44 left on the clock.

On Waterloo’s final drive in regulation, York cornerback Belah Small intercepted another Balch throw at midfield. Sevdin marched the team into field goal range and Dervishi had a chance to win it with six seconds left on the clock, but his 32-yard field goal attempt went wide.

In the end it didn’t matter, as he redeemed himself in extra time to give the Lions the win.

Sevdin finished 12-29 for 174 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Austin had seven completions for 79 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Nick Coutu checked into the game on several occasions and amassed a team-high 63 rushing yards on 10 carries, and Yachetti had 43 yards on 12 carries.

The Lions pestered Waterloo’s quarterbacks throughout the game and finished with six sacks. Veterans Patrick Russell and Steve Reading had 1.5 each and Zack Davis had one.

Rookie Denzel Philip led the way in tackles with a game-high eight.

Waterloo starting quarterback Evan Martin went 15-23 for 229 yards, with one touchdown and one interception in the first half before injuring himself on the first drive of the second and missing the rest of the game. Receiver Dustin Zender led all players with nine catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.

The Lions will be at home on Saturday, Sept. 24 to take on the Queen’s University Golden Gaels in their annual Homecoming game. Kickoff is set for 1pm at York Stadium.