VANCOUVER (CIS) – Fifth-year University of Lethbridge
fly-half / fullback Ashley Patzer was named player of the year in
Canadian Interuniversity Sport women’s rugby for the second
time in her career, Thursday night.
The Lethbridge, Alta., native, who was first honoured in 2006, became the third double MVP since women’s rugby was added to the CIS program back in 1998. St. Francis Xavier’s Ghislaine Landry earned back-to-back MVP nods in 2007 and 2008, while Alberta’s Heather Denkhaus claimed the trophy in 1999 and was a co-recipient in 2000.
Other CIS major award winners announced during the All-Canadian Gala include Concordia’s Hughanna Gaw of Elgin, Que., who was named the nation’s top freshman, Bishop’s Frances Bajdik-Bova of Ottawa, who received the Student-Athlete Community Service award, and Lethbridge’s Neil Langevin, who was named coach of the year, an award presented by Coaches of Canada.
The CIS championship, hosted for the first time by the University of British Columbia, gets under way Friday with six round-robin match-ups.
SSN Canada (www.cis-sic.ca / www.ssncanada.ca ) will have live webcasts of Saturday’s semi-finals at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Pacific Time, as well as Sunday’s bronze-medal game at 12 p.m. and national final at 2 p.m.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Ashley Patzer, Lethbridge
Patzer is one of the most decorated players in the short history of CIS women’s rugby. The 5-foot-2 Lethbridge captain was named CIS rookie of the year in 2005, was chosen MVP of last year’s CIS championship when she guided the Pronghorns to their second straight national title, and is now a two-time CIS player of the year (2009, 2006) and four-time all-Canadian (2009, 2007, 2006, 2005).
In her fifth and final university campaign, Patzer tallied a Canada West-best 40 points in four outings – four tries, seven converts, two penalty goals – as the Pronghorns cruised through the regular season outscoring their rivals by a 217-7 margin over four wins. In the playoffs, the 22-year-old was named game MVP of the conference final after she scored 15 points on a try, two drop goals and a pair of converts to lead Lethbridge to a 30-0 win over Alberta and a fourth straight Canada West banner.
A third-year kinesiology student at Lethbridge, Patzer is a member of Canada’s senior and sevens national teams. In 2006, she captained the Canadian U19 squad to a win over England.
“Ashley has reinforced her reputation as an all-round phenom,” said Lethbridge head coach Neil Langevin. “To call her dynamic would be an understatement. She has continued to be an inspirational leader for her teammates and has developed to be one of the top players in the world.”
StFX’s Ghislaine Landry, Laval’s Claudiane Renaud and McMaster’s Nina Bui were the other nominees for CIS MVP honours.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Hughanna Gaw, Concordia
Gaw became the first player from the Quebec Student Sports Federation to claim CIS rookie-of-the-year honours in women’s rugby.
The 21-year-old joined Concordia after an outstanding career at John Abbott College where she was a three-time team MVP. The leisure sciences student had an immediate impact in her university debut leading the Stingers in tackles while chipping in offensively with two tries and 10 points in six regular season outings, statistics that proved good enough for a spot on the QSSF all-star team. Following a 5-1 regular schedule, she helped the Stingers capture a second conference banner in three years and a CIS tournament berth with a 13-10 upset win in overtime over first-place Laval in the QSSF final.
Gaw, who also suits up for the 2009 Quebec club champion Ormstwon Saracens, has been a member of Canada’s U20 squad and of the Quebec provincial team.
“Hughanna’s play this year has been phenomenal for a rookie. More so as a forward at the No. 8 position. We’ve asked her to assume a lot of responsibility on the pitch, and she has embraced this role and excelled at it,” said Concordia head coach Graeme McGravie. “Defensively, she is a beast. I expect big things from her at this level. I think she has the ability to play for Team Canada.”
StFX’s Amanda Thornborough, Western’s Laurie Biewald and Lethbridge’s Kelsey Willoughby were also in the running for the CIS top-freshman award.
STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Frances Bajdik-Bova, Bishop’s
Bajdik-Bova, a native of Ottawa, has been a four-year starter for the Gaiters at the centre position, and has set an example for her teammates throughout her time at Bishop’s.
On the pitch, her greatest asset to the team is her tackling and she can be counted on to help slow down opponents in the middle of the field. She scored the first try of her career this fall, on Oct. 8 against Sherbrooke, in a game that saw the Gaiters end a nearly three-year winless streak.
In the classroom, Bajdik-Bova is studying Elementary Education, where she maintains an 80.23 per cent average. She was a CIS Academic All-Canadian in 2007-08.
On the community service front, Bajdik-Bova is involved in a plethora of activities that literally span the globe. She is the president of Big Buddies, an organization that matches Bishop’s students with Lennoxville youth. She is also involved with the Down Under Christian Group, where she helped organize a “Coats for Kids” program that collected and distributed snowsuits to needy children. She spent last winter on exchange in South Africa, where she taught children ranging in age from 7 to 18 at Amassango, a school for street children and children who are “intrinsically disadvantaged”. After her school term finished, Bajdik-Bova went to Uganda, where she worked at the Sabino Home Orphanage, and volunteer-taught eight classes at a rural school.
Upon her return, Bajdik-Bova dedicated herself to supporting the orphanage and the school in Uganda. She started a scholarship for the school, with the goal of raising enough money to pay for three children to complete Grade 8. Her first fundraiser, a prom dress rugby event on October 24, raised over $750 – enough to send one student to school for a year.
“Frances is a leader in the Bishop’s community,” said Gaiters head coach Eryn Hessian. “On the field and off she puts people first and challenges those around her to do the same. Her contributions have been, in short, exceptional.”
Saint Mary’s Elizabeth Mooney, Queen’s Shauna Geerts and Victoria’s Brittany Sims were also nominated.
COACH OF THE YEAR, presented by Coaches of Canada: Neil Langevin, Lethbridge
Langevin became the first coach from a Canada West program to be named CIS coach of the year.
In his tenth campaign at the helm, Langevin guided the Pronghorns to a 4-0 regular season record, a 2-0 playoff mark including a 30-0 win over five-time national champion Alberta in the gold-medal final, and a fourth straight conference banner. In six Canada West meetings, Lethbridge outscored its opponents 333-7. On Sept. 12, the ‘Horns also travelled to Antigonish, N.S., where they scored a 17-12 exhibition victory over the 12-time AUS champion StFX X-Women in a rematch of last year’s CIS final, won 29-15 by Lethbridge.
The only head coach in Pronghorns history and a two-time Canada West coach of the year (2009, 2002), Langevin led his troops to the podium in each of their four previous CIS championship appearances including a bronze medal in 2003, silver in 2006 and back-to-back Monilex trophy triumphs in 2007 and 2008. A school teacher in the Lethbridge School District, he served as head coach of Canada’s senior national team from 2004 to 2007 – including a fourth-place finish at the Rugby World Cup in 2006 – and was at the helm of the Canadian U23 squad in 2003.
“Neil has done a wonderful job building a program that we are very proud of,” said Lethbridge executive director of sport and recreation Sandy Slavin. “Neil and his staff have worked tirelessly over the years, building a championship calibre team from scratch.”
Saint Mary’s Dawn MacDonald, Bishop’s Eryn Hessian and McMaster’s Sandro Fiorino were named coach of the year in the AUS, QSSF and OUA, respectively, in 2009.
The all-Canadian team was also announced on Thursday.
Joining Patzer on the all-CIS squad were Laval fullback Claudiane Renaud of Trois-Rivières, Que., Laval centre Karen Paquin of Quebec City, Concordia centre Jackie Tittley of Kirkland, Que., StFX centre Lisa Gauthier of St. Bernadin, Ont., StFX fullback / winger Ghislaine Landry of Toronto, Saint Mary’s fullback / 8 Barbara MacDonald of Dartmouth, N.S., Guelph centre Brittany Benn of Napanee, Ont., Queen’s fullback / centre Andrea Wadsworth of Toronto, Guelph 8 Jacey Murphy of Alliston, Ont., McMaster centre Nina Bui of North York, Ont., Western fullback / 8 Laura Russell of Bolton, Ont., Alberta prop Allison Lamoureux of Winnipeg, UBC centre Radha Jain of Mississauga, Ont., as well as Lethbridge hooker Ashley MacDonald of Corran Ban, P.E.I.
Tittley, Landry, Benn, Russell, Jain and Ashley MacDonald all return from last year’s all-star team.
Landry is a four-time all-Canadian in four seasons at StFX. She was the CIS player of the year in both 2007 and 2008, and the nation’s top freshman in 2006.
MacDonald is a three-time CIS all-star. She was selected for the first time back in 2005 while at UPEI.
2009 CIS WOMEN'S RUGBY AWARDS & ALL-CANADIANS
Player of the year:
Ashley Patzer, Lethbridge
Rookie of the year:
Hughanna Gaw, Concordia
Student-Athlete Community Service Award:
Frances Bajdik-Bova, Bishop’s
Coach of the year:
Neil Langevin, Lethbridge
Position - Athlete - University - Year - Hometown - Faculty
Fullback Claudiane Renaud Laval 2 Trois-Rivières, Que. Leisure Studies
Centre Karen Paquin Laval 3 Quebec City, Que. Chemical Engineering
Centre Jackie Tittley Concordia 2 Kirkland, Que. Leisure Sciences
Centre Lisa Gauthier StFX 2 St. Bernadin, Ont. BA
Fullback / W Ghislaine Landry StFX 4 Toronto, Ont. Human Kinetics
Fullback / 8 Barbara MacDonald Saint Mary’s 5 Dartmouth, N.S. Arts
Centre Brittany Benn Guelph 2 Napanee, Ont. Criminology
Fullback / C Andrea Wadsworth Queen’s 2 Toronto, Ont. Mechanical & Materials Engineering
8 Jacey Murphy Guelph 3 Alliston, Ont. Agriculture
Centre Nina Bui McMaster 5 North York, Ont. Communication & Sociology
F/8/L/P Laura Russell Western 4 Bolton, Ont. Social Sciences
Fly-half / FB Ashley Patzer Lethbridge 5 Lethbridge, Alta. Kinesiology
Prop Allison Lamoureux Alberta 5 Winnipeg, Man. Education
Centre Radha Jain UBC 3 Mississauga, Ont. Human Kinetics
Hooker Ashley MacDonald Lethbridge 5 Corran Ban, P.E.I. Science