Midterm assessments

JASON HILLS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:07 AM ET

HOCKEY

GOLDEN BEARS

Record: 15.4.2 (Overall), 11.3 (Conference)

Where they stand: The Bears are tied for first with Saskatchewan in the Canada West standings, but have played two less games. Alberta is ranked No.2 by CIS.

Grade: A

MVP(S): Forward Eric Hunter and goaltender Aaron Sorochan. Hunter is tied for second in the Canada West with 20 points in 17 games as a rookie. After splitting the duties with Blake Grenier last season, Sorochan has emerged as the Bears' No. 1 goaltender.

Biggest surprise: Derek Ryan. The Bears knew he'd be strong defensively, but has emerged as a great two-way player, scoring 13 points in 17 games.

Biggest win: Back-to-back home victories over the Saskatchewan Huskies helping the Bears catch Saskatchewan for first place in the standings.

Most disappointing loss: After losing to UBC in overtime in their season opener, they lost 6.2 to UBC the following game.

Player to watch: Ben Kilgour. Led the Bears in scoring last season, but with the emergence of Eric Hunter, the gritty forward hasn't had the totals of last year. Expect big things in the second half.

PANDAS

Record: 12-3 (overall), 11-3 (Conference)

Where they stand: Tied with Manitoba for top spot in the Canada West. Alberta is ranked No.2 in by CIS.

Grade: B+

MVP: Forward, Jennifer Newton. Led the team out of the gate strong and now her teammates are following their first-year captain. Newton has 27 points in 14 games.

Biggest surprise: Andrea Boras and Alana Cabana. Boras is leading the Canada West in scoring amongst defenceman and she is a rookie. Cabana has provided strong secondary scoring from the forward core with 12 points in 14 games.

Biggest win: Beat rival Manitoba 2-0, avenging an earlier loss in the season.

Most disappointing loss: Losing 5-3 at home against Saskatchewan marked their first loss at home since 2000.

Player to watch: Miranda Miller. The fourth-year forward is second on the team in goals with eight. She's recorded 14 points in 11 games and is getting stronger each game.

BASKETBALL

BEARS

Record: 12.4 (overall), 7.3 (conference)

Where they stand: Second place in the Central division behind Calgary. The Bears are ranked No.9 by the CIS.

Grade: B+

MVP: Guard, Alex Steele. Leads the Bears in scoring, averaging 19.4 points per game. Has also started all 16 games.

Biggest surprise: Guard, Andrew Parker and Centre, Richard Bates. Both Barker and Bates have combined to have a strong first half. Parker is averaging 13.8 points per game and he leads the team in three-pointers made. Bates leads the team in rebounds, with an average of 6.1 per game.

Biggest win: A 106-93 win handed Brandon their first and only loss to date.

Most disappointing loss: Back-to-back losses to the Calgary Dinos by a combined 46 points.

Player to watch: Guard, C.G. Morrison missed all 10 league games will be a big factor in the second half.

PANDAS

Record: 14-4 (Overall), 8.2 (Conference)

Where they stand: Ranked No. 1 in the Canada West's Central division and are also ranked No. 6 by the CIS.

MVP: Point guard, Ashley Wigg. Leads the team, averaging 10.2 points per game.

Biggest surprise: Guard, Emily Bolduc. A strong all-around presence.

Biggest win: Back-to-back wins over Calgary pushing them to the top of the Canada West's Central division.

Most disappointing loss: A 63-58 loss at home to Saskatchewan.

Player to watch: Forwards Kristin Jarock and Carly McLennan. Both have provided the Pandas with strong secondary scoring. Both will continue strong second half.

VOLLEYBALL

BEARS

Record: 18-2 (overall), 9-1 (conference)

Where they stand: First in the Canada West, two points ahead of UBC. No. 1 in CIS.

Grade: B.

MVP: Brock Peyar, setter. He's a big reason the Bears hitting percentage is up this season. Done a great job spreading the ball on a team that has many MVP candidates, including right-side hitter Joel Schmuland.

Biggest surprise: Middle, Justin Merta. The Bears' middle is one of the Canada West's leading blockers.

Biggest win: A big 3-1 win over Winnipeg after losing a tight game to them earlier.

Most disappointing loss: Their one and only loss in conference play to Winnipeg, losing in five games.

Players to watch: Middle, Adam Kaminski, libero Kevin Hatch and setter Brock Pehar. All three are in their final year - expect them to go out on a high note.

PANDAS

Record: 21.5 (Overall), 7.3 (Conference)

Where they stand: The Pandas are in fourth in the Canada West standings and are ranked No. 5 in CIS.

Grade: A

MVP: Outside hitter, Jocelyn Blair. Leads the team in kills with 183.

Biggest surprise: Outside hitter, Kaylan Berg. Tough shoes to fill in the absence of star outside hitter Tiffany Dodds. Earned 95 kills giving the Pandas a two pronged attack with Jocelyn Blair.

Biggest win: Five set victory over Trinity Western. Came back twice in the fifth set for the win.

Most disappointing loss: Back-to-back five-set losses to the Calgary Dinos last weekend.

Player to watch: Christine Biggs. Only fifth-year player, will want to go out on a high note.

SWIMMING

BEARS

Record (Dual meet): 0.2

Where they stand: The Bears swim team is ranked sixth out of 23 schools by CIS

Grade: B+

MVP: Jian Lok Chang. Won numerous races this season, big catalyst on the team and one of two finalists at CIS level.

Biggest surprise: Winston Yeap. Came out of nowhere to light up the pool and has made his CIS qualifying times.

Biggest win: Finished as the best university team at the Clan Cup at Simon Fraser. Won the final relay to clinch.

Most disappointing loss: Went to the Bell Grand Prix in Toronto and didn't finish in the top eight

Player to watch: Gavin D'Mico. Off to slow start and battled some health issues, but won two events at a recent meet in Richmond B.C.

PANDAS

Record (Dual meet): 1.1

Where they stand: Ranked fifth out of 23 schools by CIS.

Grade: B+

MVP: Kim Hirsch. Won a number of races and is a big contributor on the relay teams. Pandas' top breast stroker.

Biggest surprise: Mandy Bell. Retired a year-and-a-half ago, but after coaching last season, has come back into the pool and has put forth strong standards.

Biggest win: Beating U of T at a dual meet this season. U of T was ranked fourth last year at Nationals, while the Pandas were ranked 11th last season.

Most disappointing loss: Swam above their expectations all season long. Suffered their only loss in a dual meet to Calgary.

Player to watch: Katerina Symes. Started off with some injury problems, despite that she has made her CIS qualifying standards.

University of Alberta Athletics programs will resume on Dec. 28.

See www.bears.ualberta.ca


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