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UCC sports sweep at SAC

CISAA soccer champion

UCC’s varsity soccer team is the 2013 CISAA champion.

Upper Canada College’s varsity soccer and football teams travelled to St. Andrew’s College on Wednesday, Nov. 6 and both emerged with victories to claim Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association (CISAA) titles.

One of the biggest days for UCC sports in recent memory began with the 11 a.m. varsity soccer game at SAC’s Yuill Family Athletic Complex.

The first half was tightly contested as SAC took a 1-0 lead and could have extended it were it not for some fine goaltending on UCC’s part. The Blues came back to tie the game at one as both sides applied pressure at different times during the half.

The second half was also well-contested, with both teams exchanging scoring opportunities. SAC scored on a rebound off a free kick, but the referee called offside and the goal was waved off, giving UCC a reprieve. The visitors continued to press and, in the 84th minute, scored off a 35-yard free kick. SAC had a couple of corner kicks and a free kick late in the game, but couldn’t capitalize as UCC hung on to win 2-1 and claim the CISAA championship.

After a brief break, the Blues and Saints went at it again — this time in pads. This is the fourth straight year that these two teams have played for the CISAA varsity football championship, with SAC coming out on top for the past two years. A close game was expected between the two league powerhouses, and that’s exactly what it was.

UCC scored an early touchdown, but had the convert blocked, to take a 6-0 lead. After recovering a fumble by the SAC quarterback at the opponents’ 45-yard line, UCC marched down the field and scored on an eight-yard run to go up 13-0 at the end of the first quarter.

A UCC quick kick on second down and long caught SAC off guard and UCC almost recovered the ball. SAC also took a penalty and took over at its 15-yard line but was forced to concede a two-point safety after failing to generate much offence. Ill-timed penalties cost UCC throughout the game, and two of them helped SAC drive for a field goal. But UCC answered by utilizing both its running and throwing attacks on an impressive drive that resulted in a touchdown to give the Blues a 22-3 lead with 1:12 remaining in the first half. SAC returned that volley with a touchdown and convert of its own, to make the score 22-10 for UCC at halftime.

A revitalized SAC squad took the field in the second half and opened it with a long touchdown drive to narrow the margin to 22-17. UCC played a field position game by pinning the Saints deep in their territory and SAC elected to concede another safety, putting the Blues up by seven again at the end of the third quarter.

A long SAC punt gave it a single point. SAC then blocked a UCC punt, and UCC took a 15-yard penalty on top of that, to give SAC the ball at the 15-yard-line with nine minutes left. SAC took advantage and scored on a run to take a 25-24 lead after a successful convert.

UCC again fought back, as a big pass completion, a long run and then a five-yard touchdown run gave it a 30-25 lead. A two-point conversion attempt was stuffed, so SAC only had to score an unconverted touchdown to reclaim the lead.

A UCC drive after a SAC punt stalled after a fumble at the SAC five-yard line with less than two minutes left. There were some tense moments, but UCC’s defence held strong as SAC’s final comeback attempt was wiped out on a loss of downs and the game ended with the Blues on top by a five-point margin.

UCC now advances to the Metro Bowl playoffs to decide the best varsity football team in the Greater Toronto Area.

UCC’s junior varsity football team also fought its way to a CISAA final on Wednesday. The team played a road game at St. Michael’s College School and battled until the end when it came out on the short end of a 36-14 decision.

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UCC wins national soccer championship

Upper Canada College won its third consecutive Canadian Accredited Independent Schools’ U13 Boys’ National Soccer Tournament championship on Oct. 19 with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over West Vancouver’s Collingwood School.

UCC and Royal St. George’s College co-hosted the 16-team tournament, with all of the games played on four UCC fields. The UCC team, coached by Middle Division head Bernard Lecerf with assistance from the recently retired Johnny McGrath, went undefeated through six games through the preliminary rounds on Oct. 17 and 18. The team, which displayed excellent ball-control skills and sportsmanship throughout the tournament, defeated Vancouver’s St. George’s School 5-0 in a morning semi-final game to advance to the 12:30 p.m. final.

UCC had outscored its opponents 32-0 heading into the final, but it gave up the first goal off a Collingwood School corner kick midway through the first half. The team tied the game shortly before halftime to set the stage for an exciting finish. Rain fell throughout the first half and didn’t stop in the second as UCC pressed and had the better part of the play, but couldn’t put the ball in the Collingwood net. The squad’s defence and goaltending held strong, however, and UCC scored a second goal that proved to be the winner with a few minutes left in the game.

After the opponents shook hands and the UCC boys celebrated on the field, everyone moved into the Prep School’s Weston Hall for the closing ceremony. A slide show featuring tournament highlights was shown on a large screen, and then Prep athletics director Nigel White thanked everyone who contributed to the success of the tournament for all of their efforts.

Tournament co-host Royal St. George’s College defeated Toronto’s Sterling Hall School 1-0 to claim the Division 2 title, and both teams received medals. St. John’s Kilmarnock School from tiny Breslau, Ont. was presented with the newly inaugurated Johnny McGrath Trophy for being the most sportsmanlike team of the tournament. Collingwood players were then given their silver medals before the UCC 15 and their two coaches were presented with gold medals and the championship trophy. UCC has now won this national championship for three straight years and five out of the past six years.

“Having teams come from across the country makes it so special,” Lecerf said afterward. “The billeting is the big thing about this tournament because of the friendships that are formed from it.

“And of course the soccer was magnificent. I’m very proud of our kids. There was only one goal conceded in the entire tournament against very good opposition. It’s marvelous and we’re very proud of our boys and are very thankful to the people who made the tournament happen all the way around.”

Rogers High School Sports Zone was on hand to interview players, Lecerf and White, and the cable television show should air before the end of the month. The days and times will be posted on the UCC website and on the school’s Facebook and Twitter pages once they’re confirmed.

Here are some photos of UCC’s run through the tournament:

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Varsity volleyball tournament

The SMC/UCC Showcase Volleyball Tournament will be held at UCC on Oct. 18 and 19.

The tournament features many of the best high school volleyball teams in Ontario, all with Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations medals in their possession. The UCC varsity volleyball Blues play at 10:30 a.m., noon and 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18.

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Association Day draws rave reviews

It was a good omen when the sun was out and the temperature was in the high teens as folks started arriving for the new parent breakfast at Weston Hall at 8 a.m. on Sept. 28, and things only got better through the rest of Upper Canada College’s 35th annual Association Day.

The Blue Army led a parade of energetic Prep students up the avenue to the Upper School front steps for opening ceremonies and remarks from principal Jim Power, head of Prep and Upper Schools Don Kawasoe, Association Council president Jim Garner, A-Day chairs Jill Carmichael Adolphe, Johanne Dotsikas and Lucas Atkins, and head steward Andrew Callahan.

Activity was brisk at the booths and stalls lined up along the east-west road leading into the front of the Deer Park campus, as attendees purchased food from The Jon Wookey Market, the snack shack (which raised $2,035) and a handful of UCC clubs, as well as fresh produce grown in the Prep learning garden. They also scooped up free ice cream and popcorn from Greg’s and Kernels respectively. The Norval Outdoor Education Centre had a larger presence than normal, owing to the 100th anniversary celebration it will host on Sunday, Oct. 6. Three large Norval birthday cakes were cut up and served to anyone who wanted a slice.

The north-south avenue was full of interested people: getting information about the Think Ahead campaign and Upper School renovations while picking up free swag; learning about the Blues Booster Club, Prep Parents’ Organization and Parents’ Organization; watching and taking part in art demonstrations promoted by the Arts Booster Club; admiring the 1956 Chevrolet Deluxe 210 Handyman Wagon (which raised $24,100 for the Class of 1970 Scholarship Fund in an online auction); and purchasing books from Scholastic.

Bidding was hot and heavy for the array of items available in the silent auction, including gift certificates, flights, sports tickets, lessons, food and catering, books, wine, clothing, spa sessions and much more. All the winning bids added up to $21,000, which went towards offsetting the costs of A-Day.

Young ones who didn’t burn off all of their energy bouncing in the inflatable amusements and playing games in the expanded Kidzone used it to drench faculty and staff members in the ever-popular dunk tank, which raised almost $1,340 for the 2014 leaving class gift. Children could also launch balloon rockets and watch how far they travelled.

A-Tunes @ A-Day was a new addition this year, and it proved very popular with people as it showcased the musical talents of both UCC students and faculty members. The St. Jamestown YC Steel Orchestra was back again, and young Keith Moon wannabes could test their drumming speeds to round out A-Day’s music component.

Hundreds of hamburgers, hot dogs and sausages were sold as part of a barbecue lunch in a large tent in the Prep parking lot which raised $4,800, and another $1,845 came from a hospitality area on the Simon and Kit Leung Terrace that satisfied those desiring a beer or two while they talked with friends and watched the varsity soccer and football games.

A major announcement was made just prior to the varsity football game as it was revealed that, after a year of requested anonymity, Old Boy Stu Lang ’70 had stepped forward as the $11-million donor that represents the largest single gift in Canadian independent school history. The donation in support of financial assistance is the leadership gift in UCC’s $100-million Think Ahead campaign, which has now raised $80.8 million.

In honour of Lang’s gift, UCC will launch the Lang Scholar Program to ensure a legacy of furnishing current students with leadership and other character development opportunities.

Sports have always been a big part of A-Day, and that was certainly the case again this year. Prep Soccerfest pitted the various colour houses against each other in a morning tournament, while Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association competitions took place between UCC and other schools in various age groups in soccer, volleyball and football. The home teams came away with an impressive record of 11 wins, two ties and two losses.

Old Boys also got in on the action at the Michael Evan Jurist Memorial Tennis Tournament, Allan Harris Old Boys Soccer Tournament and a ball hockey game between the graduating classes of 1978 and 1983.

Separate receptions were held at noon for Old Boys from the leaving classes of 1963 and 1988, who received 50- and 25-year ties respectively. A reunion dinner was held in the evening for Old Boys from all graduating classes with years ending in three or eight, which capped off a full day on campus and brought another A-Day to a close.

Here are some photos that captured the enthusiasm of A-Day:

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Association Day pep rally

Upper Canada College’s annual Association Day is on Sept. 28, and the school’s students should be pumped up with spirit after a pep rally in Laidlaw Hall on Sept. 27.

The Blue Army generals and Cookie took the stage and then sat back with the rest of the Upper School boys to watch a series of motivational and promotional videos highlighting a number of A-Day events and sports teams that will be participating. The assembly ended with all of the varsity athletes coming on stage and linking arms while singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Here are some photos from Friday’s pep rally:

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CAIS U13 soccer

Soccer Tournament AnnouncementUCC and Royal St. George’s College will host the Canadian Accredited Independent Schools’ U13 Boys’ National Soccer Tournament from Oct. 17 to 19.

All of the games will be played on UCC’s four fields, beginning at 9 a.m. on Oct. 17 and ending two days later with the final match at 12:30 p.m. Sixteen teams from across Canada will compete for the championship, which UCC has won in four of the past five years.

More information is available here.

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Old Boy Drew Taylor had film at TIFF

Drew Taylor

Drew Taylor, when he’s not throwing a ball or making a documentary.

Upper Canada College Old Boy Drew Taylor ‘01 is a man of many talents.

The son of former Major League Baseball pitcher and Toronto Blue Jays physician Dr. Ron Taylor followed in his father’s footsteps by playing pro ball in the Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies organizations and has gone on to become a PhD candidate in biomedical engineering at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital.

Taylor, who still pitches for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the Intercounty Baseball League, can also put film director on his resume. Taylor and Larry Weinstein directed Our Man in Tehran, which premiered at the recent Toronto International Film Festival. The documentary offers an in-depth look at former Canadian ambassador to Iran Ken Taylor, who facilitated the 1980 escape of six United States embassy workers during the Iran hostage crisis.

Taylor and his girlfriend, actress and former Miss Universe Canada Elena Semikina, have a film and television production company called Film House Inc. that made Our Man in Tehran.

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Brandon Ng on golf and Wake Forest

Brandon Ng

Brandon Ng tees off.

UCC Old Boy Brandon Ng ’11 has started his third year as a student at North Carolina’s Wake Forest University and a member of its golf team, and he talked to the school’s newspaper about the experience on Sept. 19.

You can read his thoughts here.

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Colin Greening contract extension

Ottawa Senators forward and Old Boy Colin Greening ’05 has signed a three-year contract extension with an average value of $2.65 million per season that locks him up until the end of 2016-17.

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“Friday Night Lights” football games

Upper Canada College’s junior varsity and varsity football teams will take on their-arch rivals from St. Andrew’s College starting at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4.

The inaugural “Friday Night Lights” games were such a big success last year that the College has decided to start a new tradition and erect temporary lighting around the field to do it again.

The Blues Booster Club will ensure that there will be a variety of food and drink choices available to keep fans satiated.

Here’s a photo gallery from last year’s event:

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