Blue Devils round-up

As December approaches, sports are coming to an end for the term (if seasons haven’t ended already). This year there has been a tighter knit athletic community, which fantastic to see. It makes being a King’s athlete more fun when you feel like you’re part of a family.

At King’s, there are several women’s and men’s sports teams that bleed blue and represent the rest of you blue devils.

Here’s an update on each team thus far.

Women’s Rugby

The women’s rugby team, sadly, went winless again this season. But one positive this season was the number of players on the team.

The increase in bodies is an optimistic sign for the program, as King’s rugby — the women’s team in particular — has struggled to fill their roster. Co-captain Cassie Hayward said that in her first year, the team finished the season with 13 players. This year’s squad had as many as 28 ladies on the roster.

Hayward said the spike was partially due to her coach’s recruiting efforts. But she added that the returning players have done recruiting of their own.

“The team also focused on trying to encourage other young women to try the sport,” Hayward said.

“It worked pretty well. Most of our players have never played rugby before university.”

She said this lack of experience is why they’re not a great team, “but we have a great team atmosphere.”

Men’s Rugby

The men’s team faired similarly to the women rugby Blue Devils, losing every game this year. Part of their issue, as has been the case in seasons past, was having enough players. The squad played few matches with 15 players — the max you’re allowed to have on the field at one time.

There was such a necessity that, after the season started, there were notices posted on UKC Blue Devils social media platforms looking for players and the head coach’s contact information.

Women’s Soccer

The lady soccer Blue Devils finished the season with a record of 4-6-2, but were edged out of the final playoff spot by the UNB Saint Jean Seawolves in the final game of the regular season.

But King’s’ athletic director Neil Hooper isn’t too concerned with the future of the program. In a past interview with The Watch, Hooper said the 2018-19 team had 14 first-years.

With few players graduating out, this could be dangerous for the rest of the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association in the near future, as these young players get to develop together and build chemistry. This team could mark the beginning of a women’s soccer dynasty at King’s.

Men’s Soccer

After beating Crandall University 3-1 in their final game of the season, the lads finished the regular season with a solid 7-4-1 record — good enough for the 3-seed in the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the men’s team were bitten by the injury bug down the stretch and were missing some key players going into their playoff game against St. Thomas University. The game was hard fought, but STU pulled out the 1-0 victory, dashing away the chance to not only compete for a conference title, but play in the nationals.

Historically, the men’s soccer team has been a consistently strong team in the ACAA. But some key veteran players may be moving on, so this offseason is huge for the squad, as they look to fill the holes in their lineup.

Badminton

King’s badminton won their first ACAA banner last year and this year they’re looking to repeat, led by returning players like all-Canadian women’s player Sam Lawther, Bryce Mason (2017-18 ACAA men’s rookie of the year), Sam White, who has consistently competed at nationals since playing for King’s, and 2017-18 ACAA coach of the year Ryan MacIntosh.

The 2018-19 badminton season is still in its infancy, with only one tournament being played thus far, with the second (and last) tournament of the fall term happening after The Watch goes to print.

Women’s Volleyball

The UKC women are off to a decent start thus far, sitting with a 3-4 record as we go to print. Despite currently being on a rough three-game losing skid, they’ll look to end the term on a high note against UNBSJ and Dal AC.

The squad is relatively even with a mix of veteran and young players, so expect this team to keep going strong in the new year as they push for another playoff berth.

Women’s Basketball

The lady basketball Blue Devils lost multi-time conference all-star Candace Reynolds to graduation this spring, but head coach Parker Regan put in work this summer and brought in a fine recruiting class.

The team is young, but they’re good.

They’re sitting 5th in the standings with a 2-3 record as we go to print. But they’ve held their own against the best league has to offer and have a great opportunity to improve their record going into the final two weekends of the term, as they play the three teams surrounding them in the standings.

Men’s Basketball

A new coach, many new faces and the development of a new culture are underway with the UKC men’s basketball program this season.

With only one fifth-year player on the roster, other players have had to step up to play major roles. Meanwhile, head coach Chad Wadden has the team being the most competitive it has been since 2015-16 when they last made the playoffs.

Sitting at 2-3 as we go to print, the squad has a huge weekend against STU and UNBSJ, then play their final game of the term on Dec. 1.

The Blue Devils will continue on with their seasons again near mid-January. Make sure you get out and support.

#BleedBlue