Emily Burns and Victory Shumbusho are the Canada West first stars of the week after leading their teams to victory through heroics at opposite ends of the pitch.
Burns is the women’s first star after posting a pair of shutout wins for the MacEwan Griffins, while Shumbusho was electric offensively, netting four goals in two games to lead the UBC Thunderbirds to a pair of wins.
Also of note, this week is Jess Neilson, who helped usher in a new CW rugby 15s season in style, registering one try, six converts, and a penalty in an 82-0 win over Alberta on Sunday. The fourth-year Commerce student becomes the first non-soccer player to earn a CW star this season.
Both women’s and men’s soccer returns to the pitch this weekend across the conference, with select games streamed on Canada West TV.
Rugby fans can also watch this Thursday’s Calgary vs. Lethbridge match on Canada West TV. Kickoff for the game is slated for 7:30 p.m. MDT.
Women’s first star – Emily Burns
MacEwan Griffins soccer
Sherwood Park, Alta.
Game log: Friday, Sept. 15 – six-save shutout in 1-0 W vs. Alberta / Sunday, Sept. 17 – four-save shutout in 1-0 W vs. Mount Royal.
Emily Burns, who led Canada West in save percentage in 2016 and was named a second-team all-star, currently leads the conference in shutouts with three through the first four games of the 2017 season. Two of those came this past weekend as the undefeated Griffins knocked off two other teams who were previously unbeaten, including nationally-ranked cross-town rival Alberta. Burns was outstanding in the Friday night contest against the Pandas, including making a game-saving diving stop off Alberta’s Morgan Corbett in the 53rd minute. Against MRU on Sunday, she was equally stingy, tipping a long-range second-half dipping strike from Emily Sands over the crossbar.
For the season, Burns now has a .923 save percentage and 0.27 goals against average – both among the top marks in Canada West.
She will lead the Griffins (4-0-0) into another home weekend of action as they host Fraser Valley (1-2-1) on Friday (Noon, Clareview Community Centre) and Trinity Western (2-2-0) on Sunday (Noon, Jasper Place Bowl).
Men’s first star – Victory Shumbusho
UBC Thunderbirds soccer
Game log: Friday, Sept. 15 – game-winning goal in 1-0 W vs. Calgary / Saturday, Sept. 16 – three goals in 5-0 W vs. MacEwan.
First-year standout forward Victory Shumbisho led the way for the Thunderbirds this weekend, scoring the game-winner in a closely fought 1-0 battle over the visiting Calgary Dinos Friday, before adding his first career Canada West hat trick Saturday in a convincing 5-0 win in UBC’s first-ever meeting with MacEwan.
On Friday night, Shumbusho fired a shot from the left edge of penalty area about 10 yards out to the top right corner for a spectacular game-winner.
Then on Saturday night, he subbed into the game in the 63rd minute. A minute later, Shumbusho scored. He found the net twice more before the final whistle.
It has been a remarkable start to Shumbusho’s U SPORTS career, as he leads both the Thunderbirds and the entire Canada West with six goals through six games. A product of the Vancouver Whitecaps residency program, Shumbusho is also tied with two others, including teammate Kyle Sohi, for the Canada West lead in game-winning goals with two. Starting in five of UBC’s six games this season, Shumbusho boasts an impressive .429 shooting percentage and sits tied for third in shots on goal with 12.
Thanks in large part to Shumbusho’s efforts, UBC sits alone atop the Pacific Division with a 5-0-1 record. The T-Birds are set to face the conference’s only other undefeated team, the No. 1-ranked Alberta Golden Bears, this weekend in Edmonton.
Women’s second star – Jess Neilson
Victoria Vikes rugby
North Vancouver, B.C.
Game log: Sunday, Sept. 17 – one try, six converts, and a penalty in 82-0 W vs. Alberta.
Sunday was a dream start for the Vikes women’s rugby team, who blanked the visiting Alberta Pandas to open their season with a blazing 82-0 win – the largest margin of victory in program history. Ten different players crossed the try line for the Vikes and fourth-year fly half Jess Neilson was a big part of that success. The North Vancouver native scored one try, had six converts and added a penalty for the home side that was up 51-0 at half.
Victoria returns to action this weekend when they host UBC on Sunday, Sept. 24.
Men’s second star – Isaac Koch
Victoria Vikes soccer
West Kelowna, B.C.
Game log: Friday, Sept. 15 – seven shots, three shots on goal in 1-0 W vs. MacEwan / Sunday, Sept. 17 – two goals on four shots in 4-1 W vs. Mount Royal.
Following a slow start to the season, the Vikes men’s soccer team are now on a three-game win streak thanks to a pair of victories at home this weekend over MacEwan and Mount Royal.
Third-year Vikes midfielder Isaac Koch was pivotal to the team’s success, leading the team in shots in Friday’s 1-0 win over the Griffins and scoring two goals in 69 minutes played against Mount Royal on Sunday. Koch was easily the most lethal player on the field for the Vikes, utilizing his unmatched speed to help Victoria improve their record to a 3-4-1 to sit fourth in the Pacific Division of the Canada West standings.
Victoria returns to the pitch this Saturday with a road contest against the Saskatchewan Huskies.
Women’s third star – Kayla Blacquiere
Lethbridge Pronghorns soccer
Game log: Saturday, Sept. 16 – two goals and an assist in 5-0 W vs. Fraser Valley / Sunday, Sept. 17 – two shots on goal in 2-0 L vs. Trinity Western.
Fifth-year forward Kayla Blacquiere led the way for the Lethbridge women’s soccer team, as they earned a split in their two games this past weekend.
Saturday afternoon, in the 2017 home opener for the Pronghorns, the Lacombe, Alta. product scored twice and assisted on another goal as the Pronghorns picked up a convincing 5-0 win over the Fraser Valley Cascades. She also recorded four shots on goal.
During the Pronghorns 2-0 loss to the Trinity Western Spartans Sunday afternoon, Blacquiere led the ‘Horns with two shots on goal but was not able to re-create the offensive production for the day before.
On the season, Blacquiere is tied for the team lead in goals and points with two goals and an assist. She also leads the team in shot attempts with 15, and shots on goal with seven.
The Pronghorn women’s soccer team heads out on the road this weekend, traveling to Saskatchewan for games against the Saskatchewan Huskies and Regina Cougars.
Men’s third star – James Fraser
Thompson Rivers WolfPack soccer
Game log: Sunday, Sept. 17 – two goals and an assist in 3-1 W vs.Lethbridge.
After a number of strong efforts, James Fraser of the WolfPack finally made his way into the Canada West goal scoring parade. He had a pair of goals – both off set pieces – in the team’s 3-1 win over Lethbridge on Sunday.
Fraser’s first came in the 26th minute when he blasted it in off a corner, before adding another in the 61st minute.
He also set up the third WolfPack goal in the 81st minute when Anatoli Leveille scored his first Canada West career marker.
The WolfPack visit Mount Royal and Saskatchewan this coming weekend riding a five-game unbeaten streak
About Canada West:
Canada West (CW) is the leading university athletic conference in the country and is home to champion student-athletes that excel in the classroom and their communities. Canada West and our 17 members from across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba collectively carry on a legacy of competitive excellence, as our champions proudly go on to represent the conference at U SPORTS national championships.
Canada West – training leaders, building champions