By Yoos, Cam on April 8, 2020.
It’s the time of the year when the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns athletics hosts its annual Blue and Gold Banquet.
But with the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down the banquet portion of the yearly awards, the Horns have moved their 53rd annual festivities online to their Twitter account.
The award winners are being announced throughout the week.
With a roster boasting 11 new players, the Pronghorns were one of the youngest teams in the conference. Yet they had 12 games decided in the 2019 Canada West season by one goal or less.
With veteran Jesse Dueck returning after a season away for her final year of eligibility and teaming up with captain Ellie Kabayama, the two veterans lead a strong backline that enabled the Pronghorns to finish the season with seven ties and a playoff position.
Newcomers Anneke De Klerk, Lucy Mundy, and Tory Clements pushed the team into a more offensive-minded style of play while Georgia Walkus, Claire Linder and Erin Gill helped to solidify the defensive end.
In Saskatoon for the opening round of the playoffs, the Pronghorns played a strong and disciplined game, but ultimately fell 1-0 to the eventual national champion UBC Thunderbirds.
De Klerk’s ability to step in during her first Canada West season as one of three Pronghorns to start all 13 regular season games – and playing every minute – earned her the Coaches Award.
The MVP award is a shared one with Dueck and Kabayama getting the nod.
Both veterans started every game last season and were key to the Pronghorns allowing two goals or less goals against 11 times this past season.
Dueck also scored three goals to tie for the team lead.
The 2019 Canada West season was a challenging one for the Pronghorns men’s soccer team as the team lost over 105 man games to injury. First-year Pronghorns played over a combined 4,000 minutes during the season.
With 24 players eligible to return for next season, the attitudes and work the players have put in will lay a fantastic foundation for the program moving forward.
Winning the ET Team Award is graduating defender James Braid, who overcame several serious injuries during his time with the Pronghorns. Despite that, Braid’s positive attitude and hard work allowed him to return to the field.
This year’s winner of the MK 4 Award – named in honour of the honesty, loyalty and hard work that Marcus Karpati demonstrated as a player and coach with the men’s soccer program – goes to Marcus Menzies.
Goaltender Matt Vandervoort is this year’s Pronghorns MVP.
The product of Calgary started every game in the Pronghorn net this past season.
Vandervoort’s leadership, accountability, positive attitude and resiliency were showcased throughout the year and resonated with every member of the team.