Although the Algonquin Thunder seasons have come to an end without a provincial or national championship, the teams still were still able to produce successful league runs.
Ian Campbell, who’s responsible for athletics communication, was in attendance for all of the home games, and that allowed him to be a spectator during the high and low points of the seasons.
“They were the shining light of the indoor season,” said Campbell when speaking of the women’s volleyball team.
Coming into the season the women’s volleyball team had one goal to accomplish, and that was to make it to an Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) medal round. Unfortunately for the women they fell short at the provincials held by St. Clair College in Windsor, Ont., going 1-2.
Success almost came naturally to the women during the regular season as they finished second in the east division with a record of 15-3. Both Breanne Scheerhoorn and Julianna Johnson made the OCAA women’s volleyball east division first-team all-stars. While rookie, Rylee Leger made the east division second-team all-stars and OCAA all-rookie team.
The much improved men’s volleyball team was a different team by season’s end. Last year they finished with a record of 1-19 so the team looked to step away from being one of the league’s worst. Heading into the final month of this season the men were sitting near the bottom of the division but with an impressive four game win streak to finish the season, the Thunder finished with a respectable 8-10 record.
“Last year was a challenge for the coaches and players,” said Campbell. “It’s good for the program to go and get some wins because winning makes everything better.”
Jared McNaughton was one of the bright spots for the men’s volleyball team, capturing both the OCAA and east division men’s volleyball rookie of the year, which earned him a much-deserved spot on the all-rookie team. Josh Isaac also put together an impressive year, making the east division first-team all-stars.
Both men and women’s volleyball put in good seasons and look to build off their successes by bringing a more competitive team to the court next year.
When volleyball wasn’t being played you can count on the Thunder basketball teams to be putting on a show. Whether it was speed, strength or vision, all of the traits to be a good basketball team were on display for the men and women’s basketball teams this season.
“The men had a lot of depth at guard,” said Campbell. “Speed was something they had a lot of.”
The men’s basketball team had a huge roster this year but that’s only because there was so much talent to choose from. Out of all of the varsity sports, the men’s basketball tryouts always have the biggest turnout.
Finishing the season with a record of 11-9, the Thunder experienced a lot of ups and downs coming in the forms of winning streaks and losing streaks. The consistency factor was an issue but the overall play by the men’s basketball placed them in a do-or-die game deciding if they advance to the OCAA playoffs. On Feb. 25, Algonquin lost to the Redeemer Royals, 87-75, putting an end to the season.
The women on the other hand made it past the do or die game against Redeemer to advance to the OCAA playoffs.
With a record of 12-5 on the season, the women’s basketball team was one of the top teams in the east division. They played well throughout the entirety of the season but failed to bring their success to provincials at Seneca College in Toronto. The Thunder put up a good effort but weren’t able hold off the powerful west division finishing with a record of 1-2.
“When you never play a team in the other division (west) you don’t know anything about them,” said Campbell. “A fourth or fifth ranked team in one division can be a top two in the other.”
By the end of the season the women’s basketball team was struggling to just get a scrimmage together at practices. The roster was at a total of eight players and playing time was at an all season-high. Amoney Akabar took matters into her own hands putting together a remarkable season, earning her a spot on the OCAA women’s basketball east division first-team all-stars. Jessica Basquin had a notable season herself, earning a spot on the east division second-team all-stars.
Although none of the teams brought home medals from the OCAA, the teams have a lot to look forward to next season. They hope to transfer the momentum gained from this season into the new season, but first offseason awaits. Coaches alongside assistants will do their best to recruit and come up with a plan to win while players will train to be the best players possible.
While men and women’s volleyball and basketball will resume next year, first they need to step aside for the soccer and rugby teams to take the field, look for them to come out stronger than ever. The outdoor teams begin their seasons with games in early September 2017.