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Page 20 | Thursday, April 18, 2013
Hawks ready to take to the rugby pitch NDSS Senior boys’ side raring to chase after the KASSAA title that eluded them last May
BY ADAM PRUDHOMME Beaver Sports
ager to avenge last season's early playoff exit, the NDSS Golden Hawks senior boys rugby team will begin their path to redemption this afternoon as they open the 2013 KASSAA season. They’ll take on the KCVI Blues at Queen's Nixon Field, their first game since a disappointing 17-13 loss at the hands of Regi in last May’s semifinals. They'll do so with a nice balance of returning players with a chip on their shoulder and first time seniors with a history of winning. “This is a very experienced group,” said Hawks head coach Jim McKinney. “There’s 12 starters from the junior team last year, and they went undefeated last year. The support is really strong. What really makes this exciting is there’s five returning grads.” The Grade 11s that are making the jump to senior have the added advantage of having played for McKinney when he coached the U-18 Napanee Outlaws last summer. The Outlaws, made up of mostly Hawk
players, play in the recreational Eastern Ontario Rugby Union, a league not associated with the high school. “They’ve already had a season of senior ball,” said McKinney. “They’re way ahead.” After this afternoon’s match their second game of the season is scheduled for Tuesday, at home against Sydenham. By opening against the Blues and Golden Eagles, traditionally two of the lower tier teams, they have a good chance to get off to a fast start. Given their perennial lofty expectations, a fast start could help the team relax a bit as they gear up for the grind of a short but physical season. “It puts a whole lot of pressure on them,” McKinney says of the school's reputation for fielding contending rugby teams year after year. “You can hear them in the hallways. There’s a significant amount of pressure they put on themselves. Sometimes I think it’s too bad. There’s certainly a target on us. As soon as we start the season off the Kingston teams are already gunning for us.” McKinney says the trick is to use that attitude
Members of the senior boys NDSS Golden Hawks rugby team work on passing and tackling drills on Monday in preparation for this afternoon’s season opener. to inspire confidence in themselves, not to put too much pressure on themselves if a play doesn’t go their way. If there is a group that can live up to the expectations, this one appears to be it. McKinney says he’s got two props, Brandon
United For Hockey In Napanee
Tucker and Christian Howes that could be among the league’s best. Unfortunately for the junior squad, the seniors’ gain is their loss. With 12 of their starters moving up to Grade 11, there’s a noticeably less experienced group of Grade 9s and 10s
left behind. Try out numbers were low this year, giving the coaching staff nearly half the bodies they usually have to work with. Those that have shown up, are a committed group. “They’re going to get lots of playing time,” said McKinney.
Last year the juniors were a perfect 6-0 in the regular season, knocking off Holy Cross in overtime to claim the KASSAA crown. Their season gets underway Tuesday when they host Sydenham at 5 p.m.
New look Hawks expect to win Girls rugby team looks to repeat
BY ADAM PRUDHOMME Staff Sports
ear after year the NDSS Golden Hawks girls rugby team manages to produce a competitive team while avoiding the dreaded ‘rebuilding’ word. This year figures to be no different, despite seeing six key players graduate and a couple more opting to focus on their studies this year instead of sports. There will be a definite different look when the KASSAA season kicks off this afternoon. That doesn’t mean this year will be a write-off while they develop for the future. Head coach Sean Dunleavy is quite pleased with the look of his squad and has every intention of repeating as KASSAA champions. “With the dedication
Tim Fawcett slides the puck under the goalie’s pad to score a goal during the fifth annual United Way hockey tournament, held Saturday at the Strathcona Paper Centre. A total of 12 teams took part, six of which were female, marking the first time the tournament has featured women’s teams. Entry fees paid by the teams, as well as money raised from raffle tickets, went in support of the United Way. Each team got three games but, in the spirit of playing for charity, no champion was declared.
After capturing the KASSAA title last year, the NDSS girls Hawks rugby team has visions of another deep run this season. and team sense that is always present, there are many returning athletes who have been championship mainstays as team leaders and players who know how to perform under pressure,” said Dunleavy.
He points to returnees SaraJane Pratt, Hailey Bender and Emily Kimmett to provide leadership that they’ve developed since playing at the junior level.
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