"Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory." Mahatma Gandhi
The AUS fall season saw great results from all five Acadia fall teams and included one AUS Championship title.
"It's all about how you finish, but it was incredible to have the success our five fall term sports had, combined with eight teams overall being ranked at some point in the national top ten. Football winning the Loney Bowl on Raymond Field was the highlight. We have an AUS power-ranking formula that compares all athletic programs statistically and analytically, and Acadia was number one by quite a margin for overall performance in the fall term so we're certainly pleased with the start we've had," pointed out Executive Director of Athletics Kevin Dickie.
Throughout the fall season, four out of five Acadia teams were ranked in their respective U SPORTS Top Ten rankings, and all of Acadia's fall sports teams participated in AUS championships. Axemen Football captured an AUS championship in an exciting contest against rival Saint Mary's, while Axewomen Soccer fell short in winning an AUS title in a 2-1 loss to the eventual U SPORTS silver medalist, Cape Breton.
"None of this matters, however, if success doesn't resonate academically and in the community. We celebrated 115 Academic All Canadians this fall, which is Acadia's highest number ever, and approximately 40 other student-athletes improved their grade point average between 65-80%. Finally, again in the fall term, our aggregate fan attendance was the highest in the conference for all sports combined. Obviously, lots to be proud of in Acadia Athletics," concluded Dickie.
The Axemen finished their regular season with a four-game winning streak and a 6-2 record. The Axemen capped their AUS season with a Championship title, defeating the Saint Mary's Huskies 45-38 in overtime, before hosting the U SPORTS Uteck Bowl less than five days later. Fatigue and the loss of several players to injury affected the Axemen leading into the national semi-final, and they came up short against the Western Mustangs, who were undefeated in their season and the eventual Vanier Cup Champions.
Eight Axemen received AUS All-Star recognition, which included four major AUS award winners. Dale Wright, who finished the season with 1030 yards as the top rusher this season, was named the AUS Most Valuable Player. Bailey Feltmate was honoured as the Defensive Player of the Year, while teammate Brandon Jennings was named the AUS Community Service Award winner. Head coach Jeff Cummins was honoured as the AUS and U SPORTS Coach of the Year. All-Stars included Wright, Feltmate, Keiler Cherry, Nathan Heide, Cordell Hastings, Jadin White-Frayne and Adam Melanson. Melanson was also named as a U SPORTS All-Canadian.
The Axewomen rugby team completed the season with a 4-2 record and defeated the UPEI Panthers in semi-final play to move on to the AUS championship against StFX. Acadia fell short in winning their second AUS championship but still earned the second AUS berth to advance to the U SPORTS Championship in Lethbridge, AB. At nationals, the Axewomen were defeated by Ottawa and Queen's.
"The National Championship tournament was a disappointment. We played below ourselves. We are no longer satisfied just being a top-10 team or an AUS champion. We want the big one, a U SPORTS title," noted Axewomen head coach Matthew Durant.
Four Axewomen were named AUS All-Stars including Lauren Melanson, Harley Tucker, Danielle Wisen and Natasha Johnson. Melanson, Tucker, and Wisen were named U SPORTS All-Canadians.
The Axewomen finished the regular season in third place with a 7-3-2 record. For the third year in a row, the Axewomen earned a spot in the AUS Championship final but fell short to the eventual U SPORTS silver medalist, the CBU Capers.
Emily Nickerson, Katie Ross, and Nicole Wambolt were named to the AUS All-Star team, and Nickerson was honoured as a second team U SPORTS All-Canadian defender for the third year in a row.
"We had a well-balanced team with a lot of great talent, leadership, and experience. Overall, the level of dedication to the team allowed us to push boundaries in terms of soccer tactics and energy for each game, and the players responded with another great playoff run. We've proved now for two years that we are able to compete with the best in Canada and I couldn't be prouder of how we finished," noted Axewomen soccer head coach Amit Batra.
The Axemen finished the regular season in fourth place with a 5-4-3 record. After a 3-1 quarterfinal win over UPEI in playoffs, the Axemen advanced to the semi-final where they met top-seeded Cape Breton and lost to the eventual AUS and U SPORT champions.
Zach Visser was named the AUS and U SPORTS Community Service Award winner. Ryan Parris was named AUS All-Star and was recognized as a U SPORTS second team All-Canadian.
Women's Cross Country:
The Cross Country team had a strong season, and the team did not rank less than second place in any regular season race.The Axewomen finished first in the second race of the season hosted by Dalhousie and Saint Mary's.
For the first time, Acadia hosted the AUS championship race at Hennigar's Farm Orchards, and the Axewomen finished third overall. Katie Robinson raced to a sixth-place finish and was named to the AUS All-Star squad. Robinson and teammates Madalyn Higgins, Ellen Taggart, Chrissy Smith and Mackenzie Seagram raced at the U SPORTS championship hosted by the University of Victoria.
2018 U SPORTS Women's Rugby Championship:
Acadia University will host of the 2018 U SPORTS Women's Rugby Championship. The announcement came a week prior to the 2017 national championship hosted by the University of Lethbridge. The national championship has only been hosted in Atlantic Canada twice before. STFX hosted in 2012 and the AUS Office hosted in 2008.
The 2018 season will mark the 16th year that the Acadia Axewomen rugby program has been a varsity sport and the 21st anniversary of the Women's Rugby National Championship.