Donaghy highlights annual Cougar Night

Photo: Adrian Shellard
Photo: Adrian Shellard

CALGARY - Another season has come and gone and the Mount Royal Cougars Athletics and Recreation department hosted their annual Cougar Night at the Bella Concert Hall to celebrate the successes of the latest U SPORTS season.

At the Cougars' annual celebration a number of major awards were handed out to student-athletes for their athletic abilities, leadership qualities, volunteering time in the community and more.  

The Cougars' female Al Bonohus Athlete of the Year and Brian Fleming Award winner is Alex Donaghy from women's volleyball. The fifth-year veteran graduated from the program this season as the team's leading scorer and team captain. She also earned a Canada West Second Team All-Star nod for the 2017-18 season. Donaghy's 408 regular season points ranked her second in the conference and fifth in the country. She served 52 aces on the season which put her in the top ten in U SPORTS at eighth overall and third in Canada West. Donaghy also ranked in the top ten in the following categories: points per set (4.5), kills (326), kills per set (3.58), and hitting percentage (.244).

Off the court, Donaghy organized a number of activities for the team like volunteering for Cougars on the Court, residence move-in, mentor training and HPED new student orientation. She currently holds a 3.96 cumulative GPA and has been a two-time U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian.

On the men's side, Jesse Lees was named the Al Bonohus Athlete of the Year. The second-year defenceman was the only Cougar to earn a Canada West First Team All-Star nod this season. The Calgary native was the highest scoring defenceman in the conference with 11 goals and 15 assists for 26 points, averaging a point per game. This ranked him third in the country in goals and sixth in the nation for points for a d-man. Lees added 76 shots, 2 power play goals, seven power play assists and played 26 games in 2017-18. His most impressive game came against Regina where he scored four goals, tying an MRU record for most goals in a single Canada West contest.

Men's basketball captain Noah Lewis was the male recipient of the 2017-18 Brian Fleming Award.  The Comox, British Columbia native displayed great leadership on and off the court, putting in countless volunteer hours in the community with organizations such as Catholic Family Services. In the classroom, Noah also excelled his and will be a five-time Academic All-Canadian. Noah was a starter all year for Coach Dobell's squad, scoring 159 points and earning 29 assists this season.

Tatum Amy from women's hockey won the female Rookie of the Year award for her outstanding play this season. The first-year forward played 26 games for the Cougars, scoring three goals and adding five assists for a total of eight points. Two of those goals were power play goals and Amy recorded 45 shots on goal. The Cougars women's hockey team made playoffs, but were eliminated in the first round in some tough overtime games in Vancouver.

Men's soccer's Josh Munoz was named the 2017-18 male Rookie of the Year for a successful season at Mount Royal. The center back earned a spot on the Canada West All-Rookie team in his first season with the Cougars. Starting and playing in all 14 games for Mount Royal, Munoz was a solid defender in the back field with a fearless attitude for the Cougars, willing to go for that last ditch tackle and go for headers against some of the league's best veterans. He scored two goals in his rookie season and recorded six shots. He tied for second on the team in scoring.

Cougar Night also celebrates the newest inductees into the Wall of Fame, honouring former student-athletes that went above and beyond at Mount Royal as players, coaches and builders. The Cougars inducted two athletes to the Wall of Fame on Wednesday night.

The first was Olympian Kent Greves, arguably the best setter to ever play for Canada. Starting for the Cougars in 1986-87 and 1987-88, the Brandon, MB native was named an ACAC First Team All-Star and a CCAA First Team All Tournament All-Star both seasons. In 1987, Kent led the Cougars to ACAC gold, and a CCAA silver medal. The following year, Kent and the Cougars men's volleyball team won an ACAC silver medal and finished fourth at CCAA Nationals.

After his time with the Cougars, Kent went directly to the national team and three years later, he was the starting setter for Team Canada. He played over 350 matches for Canada largely as the team's starting setter, including the Olympic Games in 1992, two world championships and a World Cup. Kent also had an eleven-year professional career playing in Europe, where he won an unmatched ten major titles with Paris Volley Team. This team was also the first in France to win a triple crown; winning the French Cup, the European Champions Cup, and the French Championship. In 2009, Kent was inducted into the Volleyball Alberta Hall of Fame.

The second induction in the Athlete category for the Cougars Wall of Fame was women's volleyball players Julia Pasieka. She was a team captain in her time with the Cougars who played in both the CCAA and U SPORTS in Mount Royal's transition to university athletics. Playing for a full eligibility of five years, Julia's first season in 2009-10 earned her ACAC Rookie of the Year honours as well as an ACAC First Team All-Star nod. She went on to win two more ACAC First Team All-Star awards and capped off her time in the college league by being named a CCAA First Team All-Canadian in 2011-12. The Cougars were ACAC Champions twice and CCAA Champions in 2010-11, Julia's second year. She was named Mount Royal's female Athlete of the Year in 2012-13 and 2013-14, her final years with the women's volleyball program.

Pasieka was also an outstanding student, earning Dean's Honour Roll all five years, and the President's Honour Roll for her final three. On top of that, she earned the Legacy Award for future alumni and was the first Rhodes Scholar nominee from Mount Royal.

Women's soccer's Hailey Lafave was named the Community Leadership Award winner for the second time in her career as a Cougar. She has gone above and beyond volunteering her time. With over 280 hours of service, she has exemplified what it means to be a true leader in the community. Lafave has spent 150 hours at the Alberta Children's Hospital, and over 100 hours as a research assistant. On the field, she was always willing to lend a helping hand to teammates and has garnered the respect of her team over her years as a Cougar.

Our Athletic Therapy program gave out two awards during the evening - one for a third-year student and one for a fourth-year student.

The third-year award was given to Laura Wood, who helped out our women's basketball team this season. While starting out a little timid at first, Wood's strong foundational knowledge, work ethic and warm and caring personality helped her earn the trust of our women's basketball team, athletes and coaches alike. She struck a great balance between professionalism and personability which led to her exponential growth as a therapist over the season.

The fourth-year award was given to Myles Coldwell, men's soccer student athletic therapist. Coldwell took his passion and strengths and honed them to provide excellent care for all the athletes he worked with. His dedication and commitment to the men's soccer team was unparalleled, while his eagerness to learn and strong work ethic helped him excel in the clinic.

Team MVP's were also handed out on Wednesday night. Josh Ross (Men's Basketball), Becky Nash (Women's Basketball), Cam Lanigan (Men's Hockey), Devonie Deschamps (Women's Hockey), and Jonathan Phillips (Men's Volleyball) all were selected by their respective teammates and coaches. Alex Donaghy (Women's Volleyball) also won MVP for her team and took home her third award of the night.

The Cougars also celebrated the department's U SPORTS Academic All-Canadians and Canada West award winners. A complete list of major award winners can be found below.\

Al Bonohus Athletes of the Year

Alex Donaghy - women's volleyball

Jesse Lees - men's hockey

Brian Fleming Award

Alex Donaghy - women's volleyball

Noah Lewis - men's basketball

Rookies of the Year

Tatum Amy - women's hockey

Josh Munoz - men's soccer

Cougars Wall of Fame Inductees

Kent Greves - men's volleyball

Julia Pasieka - women's volleyball

Community Leadership Award

Hailey Lafave - women's soccer

Athletic Therapist Award

Laura Wood - third year - women's basketball

Myles Coldwell - fourth year - men's soccer