Half Term Report: The highs and lows for the T-Birds so far

Some teams were unstoppable, others could not stop losing. Through breakout performances and heartbreaks, here's a look at how some of the Thunderbirds teams have performed so far.

Women's Soccer: A-

The Thunderbirds women’s soccer team has had a stellar season so far, as they made it all the way to the Canada West final. The team was dominant all throughout the regular season, losing only two games in the process. Defence was the Thunderbirds’ calling card, as they had a whopping eight clean sheets in only 14 regular season games. A lot of praise should be given to fourth-year goalkeeper Emily Moore, as she was undoubtedly the backbone of the team by providing stability in net. Although the Thunderbirds ultimately lost to Calgary in the finals, the team will still travel to Victoria to play in the U Sports National Championships as the Canada West second seed.

MVP: Emily Moore

The women's team beat the Montreal Carabins in their first game at U Sports Nationals Thursday.
The women's team beat the Montreal Carabins in their first game at U Sports Nationals Thursday. File Salomon Micko Benrimoh

Men's Soccer: A+

It’s been a season to remember so far for the UBC men’s soccer team. The T-Birds’ high-tempo and direct attacking style propelled them to first place in the Pacific Division of Canada West, with a stunning record of 10–2–3. The team won their third consecutive Canada West championship, without conceding a goal during the final four weekend. Forward Victory Shumbusho made constant use of his bag of tricks and scored 11 goals, including the opening goal in the Canada West final against the University of Calgary. Veteran wingback Jordan Haynes’s crossing abilities spelled trouble for opponents too, as he registered eight assists. Head coach Mike Mosher can only be very proud of his collective.

MVP: Victory Shumbusho

The Thunderbirds season ended Thursday with a loss to the Trois-Rivières Patriotes at U Sports Nationals
The Thunderbirds season ended Thursday with a loss to the Trois-Rivières Patriotes at U Sports Nationals File Salomon Micko Benrimoh

Men's Hockey: C+

UBC did not pick up their first win of the season until October 19, a 4–1 win against the University of Regina. Compared to last season, where the T-Birds went 5–3–0 by the end of October, they’ve managed to remain competitive in Canada West. The Thunderbirds are only two points behind fourth place University of Manitoba and six points away from Mount Royal University in third. UBC has had a very balanced offence and will have to continue to do so if they stand any chance in clawing back up the standings. The first line of Tyler Sandhu, Austin Vetterl and Austin Glover have combined for 17 points through 8 games. They’ll be relied upon heavily as UBC seeks to rebound and make the postseason this year.

MVP: Tyler Sandhu

The T-Birds took on NCAA powerhouse Wisconsin at the beginning of September.
The T-Birds took on NCAA powerhouse Wisconsin at the beginning of September. File Salomon Micko Benrimoh

Women's Hockey: B+

The UBC women’s hockey team appears to be gaining momentum as they enter a challenging part of their schedule. Although the T-Birds are currently tied for third in the Canada West, they will face the top two teams in the conference on the road before returning home to play Mount Royal and Alberta to end November. UBC goaltender Tory Micklash has managed to recover after a rough opening weekend, allowing only one goal in regulation over the past six games. If UBC is to come out of the month with a winning record, it will largely depend on whether Micklash can continue to build on her solid play.

MVP: Tory Micklash

The T-Birds look to be on the way back up after suffering two big losses to Alberta at the start of the season.
The T-Birds look to be on the way back up after suffering two big losses to Alberta at the start of the season. File Salomon Micko Benrimoh

Football: C-

Through September, the men’s football team was historically bad. They started the season with five straight losses, getting outscored 210–56 by their opponents. And despite their late-season push, they still posted Canada West’s worst overall offence and defence. However, not all was lost for Coach Blake Nill, as his young team began to blossom towards the end. The obvious turning point was the mid-season quarterback change. Once he was named the starter, Gabe Olivares shined under centre and led his team to back-to-back wins in October, including a shocking upset against the Saskatchewan Huskies. You won’t see it in their record, but there were a lot of positives for the Thunderbirds football team at the end. Expect them to build on those positives and, hopefully, return to the playoffs next year.

MVP: Gabe Olivares

Here's to hoping the T-Birds can carry their momentum from the last few games of the season into next year.
Here's to hoping the T-Birds can carry their momentum from the last few games of the season into next year. File Salomon Micko Benrimoh

Women's Rugby: A-

UBC Thunderbirds started off the Canada West playoff poorly with two consecutive losses. However, after their win against the Alberta Pandas, UBC Thunderbirds was able to carry the momentum, winning five consecutive games including their first Canada West title in over a decade. In addition to the conference crown, the T-Birds booked a trip to the U Sports National Championships. Unfortunately, they finished off the championships with two losses. Nonetheless, the chemistry of the team was demonstrated by Shoshanah Seumanutafa, who was the dominant offensive force throughout the season and named 2019’s player of the year. In addition to improved defensive play, the T-Birds appear to be poised to turn the program around

MVP: Shoshanah Seumanutafa

It's taken a while but the T-Birds rugby squad look to be on their way to dominating Canada West for the next few years.
It's taken a while but the T-Birds rugby squad look to be on their way to dominating Canada West for the next few years. FIle Elizabeth Wang

Men's Rugby: A+

The men’s rugby team has had an amazing year so far. As of yet, they’ve posted a 6–1 record in the BC Premier League, their only loss coming in the season opener against Burnaby Lake Rugby Club. Their last two games saw the team outscore their opponents by a whopping 130–38. The team took their dominant play to the international level, competing in the World University Rugby Invitational Tournament, where the T-Birds came away with big wins against the Siberian Federal University of Russia and a conglomerate team of New Zealand universities. The T-Birds also beat rivals University of Victoria to take a 1–0 series lead for the annual Wightman Boot cup, with the second leg to be played in March.

MVP: John Jubenvill

The men's rugby squad has been on a roll since their first and only loss of the season at the Premier League opener.
The men's rugby squad has been on a roll since their first and only loss of the season at the Premier League opener. File Salomon Micko Benrimoh

Women's Field Hockey: B-

Realistically, finishing the regular season as Canada West runner-ups isn’t all bad. But with the UBC women’s field hockey squad, we’ve gotten used to expecting more. The team won seven straight U Sports National titles from 2011 to 2017 and posted an undefeated streak that stretched over two seasons. Their 2–1–5 Canada West record this year was just not enough to unseat fierce rivals University of Victoria for the Canada West title and the rights to host this year’s national championships. But the team is young, with most players still in their first or second seasons with the T-Birds. It means that if the team is going to rebuild, it shouldn’t take too long.

MVP: Sara Goodman

For a team that won seven national titles in a row, Canada West silver is a hard pill to swallow.
For a team that won seven national titles in a row, Canada West silver is a hard pill to swallow. File Patrick Gillin

A previous version of this article had women's field hockey in the place of women's rugby.