Get ready for your Stingers season kickoff
Grab your air horns and foam fingers and get ready to cheer on your Concordia Stingers this season. As the university’s football, soccer and rugby teams ramp up for their fall openers, here’s a snapshot of what to watch out for over the coming weeks.
The Stingers will kick-off their season at McGill’s Percival Molson Memorial Stadium this Friday when they face the Redmen in the historic 48th Shaughnessy Cup.
Concordia’s head coach Mickey Donovan is optimistic.
“The team's chemistry during training camp has been amazing,” he says. “McGill is a good team so we’ll need to bring our A-game to start the season off on the right foot, but we’ve really come along.”
Now in his third year at the helm, Donovan is looking to make big strides this season in order to improve upon last year. The team placed fourth overall in the Réseau de sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) Conference with a 4-4 record in 2015. However, with a fresh combination of new and returning talent, Donovan says the Stingers’ prospects are looking up.
“There’s promise in our class of recruits. Vince Alessandrini is a top receiver who is going to make a lot of noise on offense. Then we have defensive back Jersey Henry’s size and exceptional athletic ability.”
Quarterback Trenton Miller is another player to look out for, Donovan says. “He's back for his second year and is looking really sharp.”
Last year, led by Miller, the Stingers mounted a last-minute comeback to win the Shaughnessy Cup 43-41. Fans have been enjoying the annual match-up between the crosstown rivals since 1975, and as game day nears, Donovan is eager to continue that tradition.
“It’s a great rivalry that's been going on for decades so we'll be playing with purpose this week. This game means a lot to both programs.”
The Stingers face the McGill Redmen at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium (475 Ave. Des Pins) on Friday, September 2 at 4:30 p.m.
Concordia’s home opener is on Saturday, September 10 at 3 p.m. at Concordia Stadium on the Loyola Campus (7200 Sherbrooke W) against Université Laval.
Last year, the Stingers women’s rugby team came close to winning both the provincial and national titles. They lost in the RSEQ final to the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, and finished fourth at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Championships. It's unfinished business for a lot of the players.
“There's a will to win. We lost the last two finals in a row and some of the girls are reeling to be part of a winning team again,” says head coach Graeme McGravie, adding that for many of the student athletes, this will be their last chance at a championship.
“We’re a veteran team. I have a lot of fourth- and fifth-year players and their desire to leave a legacy is evident to me.”
They’ll be in good hands this season.
François Ratier, head coach of the Canadian women’s senior rugby team, will join the Stingers for the 2016 season as an assistant to McGravie.
The Stingers’ head coach says having Ratier on board this fall is going to have a big impact. “He will bring a new level of intensity to the team. He's very technical and very passionate, and he brings that to practices and team meetings.”
Two players to look out for this season are Fredérique Rajotte and Alex Tessier, who both represented Canada in the Women’s Rugby Super Series, in Salt Lake City this past July.
The Stingers’ home opener is this Monday, against Université Laval. “We feel confident, and we're all chomping at the bit to get out there and play,” says McGravie.
Watch Concordia take on the Laval Rouge et Or at 5 p.m. on Monday, September 5 at the Concordia Stadium.
“My favourite style of rugby is open and fast-paced,” says Beemer. “I like to move the ball and let it do the work for me. I like to play at a level that the other team can’t keep up with.”
But the new rugby coach is also realistic. Concordia’s approach will depend on its talent and the opposition.
“I always tell my players to play to our strengths and attack the other teams’ weaknesses,” he says.
Tryouts for the men’s rugby team began Friday, August 26, with the start of league play slated for 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 11 at McGill.
Catch the Concordia men's rugby team home opener at the Concordia Stadium, on Sunday, September 25 at 1 p.m. against ETS.
The women’s soccer team has bolstered its roster with a class of young, talented recruits.
The most recent acquisitions are midfielder Chama Sedki and defender Imane Chebel, who played AAA club soccer together in the Ligue de soccer élite du Québec.
“Chama is a slick, play-making midfielder with a great passing range, but also the willingness to go one-on-one at defence,” says Stingers head coach, Jorge Sanchez. “Imane is a very efficient and steady defender who should also be able to chip offensively from set pieces."
Both students came to Concordia from Cégep Édouard-Montpetit and round out a new set of accomplished players making their Stingers debut this fall.
“These athletes are experienced, with a proven record of achievement and commitment both on and off the field," says Sanchez.
The Stingers will meet the McGill Martlets this Saturday, September 3, at 6 p.m. at McGill. Their home opener is on Friday, September 9 at 8:30 p.m. at Concordia Stadium against Université de Montréal.
After a disappointing fall 2015 season, head coach Greg Sutton’s team is looking to make a comeback.
“We’ve got a bunch of new recruits to watch out for,” he says. “Abdullah Medouni is a playmaker and he'll bring some offensive strength. We’ve also got a new athletic goalkeeper by the name of Karl Gaoube who will provide some leadership in the back.”
Sutton says they have a more experienced, well-rounded team this year. A number of his key players are also set to return.
“We’re excited because of the depth we have on our roster. We’ve worked with this group for three seasons now and I think it's starting to pay off.”
Sutton expects that the combination of fresh talent and experienced players will mean Stingers fans get to see a more consistent, in-depth style of play from the men’s soccer team.
“We had a good pre-season so far; we haven't lost a game yet. We're competitive and looking forward to the official start.”
The Stingers will face the McGill Redmen in their first league game this Saturday, September 3, at 8 p.m. at McGill. Their home opener is on Friday, September 9, at 6:30 p.m. against Université de Montréal at Concordia Stadium.