By Jack MacCool & Gavin Axelrod
The 2022-23 Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) athletic season came and went in the blink of an eye. Here at The Eyeopener sports section, we subjected ourselves to watching every single Bold game the entire year across every sport—literally every single one. So we think we’re more than qualified to hand out some incredibly important and prestigious hardware to the athletes, coaches and staff that made our coverage possible. Here are The Eye’s 2022-23 Unofficial Sports Awards.
Game of the year: Women’s volleyball senior night
If you were present in the gym for this game, you’d know why it won our ‘Game of the Year’ award. TMU took a quick two-sets-to-none lead, with the second of the two being just a three-point game. Then, a McMaster team on the ropes bounced back and took the third and fourth to tie the match, sending it to a deciding fifth set. This fifth and final set needed extra points to decide and the anticipation with each swing of the ball was suffocating. One serve hung on the net for seconds before falling inches past the centre line for a point. Ultimately, it was the Bold who came out on top, sending their seniors home happy in their final regular season games.
Team of the Year: Men’s soccer
The Bold men’s soccer team had a banner season, settling for an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) silver medal and earning fifth place at nationals. It was a historic finish for the program in Kamloops, B.C., as they won their first game ever at nationals and rebounded from an opening-day loss to defeat the Université du Québec à Trois Rivières Patriotes in the consolation final. It was a unanimous decision for the men’s soccer team to take home our ‘Team of the Year’ award, as they were the university’s lone varsity program to qualify for nationals this season.
Moment of the year: Men’s basketball’s 18-point comeback win vs. Carleton Ravens
It was an absolute scene at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC) when the Bold men’s basketball team pulled off an improbable 18-point comeback against the Ravens on Jan. 21. It wasn’t just the number of points they came back from but also how TMU got it done—emphatic play after emphatic play down the stretch against the reigning national champions and eventual OUA leaders. After the lead ballooned to 18 in the second quarter, TMU outscored the Ravens 46-29 in the second half led by some highlight reel slams and clutch shooting. The win was the first time TMU had won against Carleton at home since 2016.
The “WTF that actually happened?” Award: Men’s volleyball sweeps undefeated No. 2 McMaster
With an undefeated 18-0 record and the No. 2 ranking next to their name, the McMaster men’s volleyball team strolled into the MAC expecting a run-of-the-mill, business-like win. But the Bold had other plans.
With a 9-11 record entering the final game of the regular season, TMU needed to win to make certain they’d appear in the playoffs. The Bold came in and stifled the Marauders, winning in straight sets and never really breaking a sweat until a late third-set push by McMaster. The No. 2 ranked team’s undefeated record was no more and it was the first time the team had lost two sets in a single match since Dec. 3.
Athlete to Watch: Dechlan Papadopoulos
First-year geographic analysis student Dechlan Papadopoulos had a rookie season to remember. The wrestler took home a bronze medal in the 57kg division and then went on to the national stage to claim third place in the same weight category. Papadopoulos defeated McMaster’s Francesco Fortino—who won silver at the OUA championship—to earn the national bronze medal in the 57kg division. He is also a three-time Ontario Federation of School Athletics Association (OFSAA) champion and earns our ‘Athlete to Watch’ award as someone to keep an eye out for in the coming years as his trophy case expands.
Storyline of the Year: MHKY falters with nationals on the horizon
The TMU Bold men’s hockey team saw its chance at back-to-back national championship tournament appearances snapped by their crosstown rivals on Feb. 19. The team dropped a do-or-die Game 3 to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on home ice. The squad won 11 of 16 games in the fall semester but only five of their final 11 winter semester games. Head coach Johnny Duco described the campaign as “a tale of two hockey teams.” TMU’s men’s hockey squad will be perhaps the most interesting to watch in the upcoming year as they’re set to host the 2024 U Sports Men’s Hockey National Championship at the MAC and will receive an automatic entry into the tournament. But Duco told The Eye earlier this year that the team wants to earn its way into the event without relying on the automatic berth.
Celebration of the Year: Ivymae Perez
A little bit of rain didn’t stop the TMU women’s soccer team from vanquishing the Trent Excalibur 4-0 and it also gave us one of our favourite photos this year. Bold star Ivymae Perez—who went on to earn OUA All-Star honours—potted two goals in the match and celebrated by sliding across the slippery field. It’s a moment that became known as “The Ivy Slide” around our office and one we won’t forget anytime soon.
First Team All-Eyeopener Awards
Receiving first team honours within your sport is one of the great accomplishments an athlete can earn. Here at The Eyeopener, we like to tackle first team awards a little bit differently.
We value things like who gave the best post-game sound when we were writing a recap or which players looked coolest on the court when the long athletic season made games blend together.
We even picked out some players from teams that we thought were underrated despite their excellent performances this year.
Here are the 2022-23 First Team All-Eyeopener Awards.
First Team All-interview:
The athletes and their quotes are the backbone of what we do here at The Eye’s sports section. We need their thoughts to propel our stories. Here is who we thought gave some of the best interviews throughout the season.
First Team All-underrated:
There are so many athletes that play at TMU, of course not every single one is going to get all the shine all the time. Here’s who we thought were always contributing to wins and maybe didn’t get the credit they deserved this season, making them the most underrated.
First Team All-in-game style:
Look good, feel good, play good. It isn’t proper grammar but it sure is true. Whenever you’re engaging in sporting activity, looking cool is a big part of it. Whether it’s the all-white shoes, compression wear and jerseys or the sweet helmet designs—here are the athletes we thought always rocked the best drip on the field, ice or court.