The University of Manitoba Bisons soccer and football teams have impressed in the first half of the season. Below is a look at how both squads stack up in the standings, along with a brief analysis of each.
Manitoba is currently ranked eighth in the nation and is also fresh off of a come-from-behind 49-46 victory over the Regina Rams this past weekend. They have now won three straight games with their only two losses coming against UBC and Calgary, who are ranked ninth and first nationally.
Their offence has been electric all season long, and the statistics back up that statement.
Quarterback Theo Deezar leads the conference with 17 passing touchdowns and is also second in the Canada West in passing yards, with 2,227. Freshman running back Jamel Lyles has also been a terror for opposing defences and stands fourth in the conference with 544 rushing yards. His all-purpose stats are even more impressive, as he leads the conference with 1,271 combined rushing, receiving, and kick/punt return yards.
In terms of receiving, veteran Alex Vitt and rookie Jesse Walker have been Deezar’s favourite targets. Vitt is third in the conference with 685 yards, and Walker is sixth with 463. The two slotbacks offer a great complement for their pivot, as Vitt is a smart, physical player who runs crisp routes while Walker is more of a finesse player who’s difficult to bring down in space due to his speed.
Defensively, the Bisons have suffered a few setbacks due to injury, but are still capable of making big plays at any time. The one major stat that stands out, however, is passing yards per game, where the herd are second last in the conference, giving up an average of 370.2.
This is a bend-but-don’t-break unit, though, and a number of players have stepped up in 2015.
Halfback Jayden McKoy leads the team and is 11th in the conference with 34 tackles, while defensive tackle David Onyemata is fourth in the conference with 3.5 sacks along with 27 tackles. Defensive end Evan Foster has also been a dominant force, with 31.5 tackles and 1.5 sacks. For interceptions, cornerback Eric Plett leads the team with two.
The Bisons have just two regular season games left and have guaranteed themselves a playoff berth and at least a fourth-place finish. Depending what happens this weekend, they could finish as high as second in the conference standings.
The team has gotten great production from a number of players, which has shown on the scoreboard and in the standings.
Forward Bruna Mavignier leads the team with six goals and eight points. Right behind her are midfielder Megan Graca, with seven points, along with forward Alanna Shaw and midfielder Selina Speranza, who both have six points. Graca is also the team leader in assists, with five.
In terms of goalkeeping, rookie sensation Madison Wilford has recorded three shutouts, good for a tie for fourth in the conference. Her nine goals against are also fourth in the Canada West. Veteran Chloe Werle has also impressed. Her 48 saves were good for eighth in the conference.