By Carlos Verde, photo by Trevor Swann

The 2016 calendar year was another entertaining one across Carleton’s various sports teams.

Men’s basketball won yet another national championship, its sixth consecutive, while men’s hockey made an appearance at nationals for the second time in three seasons.

The story of the year, however, was Ravens football. Steve Sumarah’s fourth-year program went 6-2, upsetting Western and winning Panda for a third-straight year in the process. With two graduating players ranked on CFL draft boards in slotback Nate Behar and offensive lineman Kwabena Aware, it may not be long before we see a Carleton player make his professional debut.

This year’s list is more homogenous than the column I wrote last year, featuring fewer women’s games and tier-II sports. This is not to take anything away from those sports; women’s basketball, soccer, and men’s water polo simply had a worse calendar year than in 2015.

  1. Men’s hockey: OUA Bronze (03/12/16)

Marty Johnston’s squad raced out to a 3-0 lead and never looked back, beating the Guelph Gryphons 4-1 in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) bronze-medal game in front of more than 700 fans to secure the program’s second-ever nationals berth.

  1. Women’s hockey: Rise of the Raven (10/23/16)

Icing the youngest roster in Canada, Carleton shocked defending national champion Université de Montréal Carabins on the opening weekend of the 2016-17 season. Katelyn Steele made 47 saves, while captain Tawnya Guindon scored the game-winner late to steer the Ravens to the biggest upset in women’s hockey this season.

  1. Men’s soccer: Playoff win (10/26/16)

Under first-year head coach Kwesi Loney, the Ravens were expected to win their first-round playoff match against lowly Trent. But the fashion in which the win came—a three-goal overtime performance on their home pitch en route to a decidedly tricky 4-1 win—was impressive.

  1. Men’s basketball: Connor Wood goes off (11/26/16)

It may have been a mere regular-season game against an average Laurentian team, but fifth-year Carleton guard Connor Wood dropping 39 points in a game is not something to be taken lightly. Wood was 7-of-11 from beyond the arc, and is averaging an eye-popping 24.2 points-per-game this season.

  1. Football: Beating Western (9/4/16)

The Ravens turned heads around the country in week two, upsetting the powerhouse Western Mustangs 38-31 at MNP Park. Return man Tunde Adeleke ripped off a trademark touchdown return early to set the tone, and freshman running back Jayde Rowe announced his presence with a 161-yard, two-touchdown performance to lead Carleton to victory.

  1. Basketball: Capital Hoops (02/05/16)

While the men’s team fell 78-72 to the University of Ottawa (U of O) Gee-Gees for the first time since 2007, the women’s team beat the Gee-Gees by a score of 72-50. Attendance broke the 10,000 mark for the third time in the rivalry classic’s history, with Carleton’s ‘Red Zone’ making their presence felt. Carleton’s Heather Lindsay paced all players in points (18) and rebounds (15) en route to a double double.

  1. Football: Football flies to Second Round (10/29/16)

The Ravens asserted their dominance of the national capital gridiron in late October with a 45-9 dismantling of U of O in the first round of the OUA playoffs. Christian Battistelli and Jayde Rowe combined for more than 250 yards on the ground and a trio of rush touchdowns to power Carleton past the Gee-Gees for the second time in 2016.

  1. Men’s hockey: Overtime heartbreak (03/17/16)

Ravens men’s hockey pushed the Saskatchewan Huskies to the absolute brink in their national quarterfinal before falling 3-2 in quadruple overtime. Carleton goaltender Patrick Killeen made 68 saves in the loss, which many neutral pundits labeled the most entertaining game of the 2015-16 Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s hockey season.

  1. Men’s basketball: Basketball reigns supreme (again) (03/20/16)

Last year’s national final between Carleton and Calgary was close for roughly half a quarter before the Ravens pulled well in front of the Dinos for a comfortable 101-79 win. Connor Wood had a team-high 22 points at Carleton, which in annual fashion romped to another national title.

  1. Football: Thrice is nice (10/01/16)

While it held none of the suspense of the previous two years, the 2016 edition of  the Panda Game’s end result was the same: A win for Carleton, and plenty of rowdy, ecstatic Ravens fans. Carleton led by eight at halftime and ran away with a 43-23 decision in front of 23,329 energetic fans.

The Verdict

The national capital region most definitely belongs to Carleton in the realm of university athletics in 2016; aside from a split at Capital Hoops, the Ravens dominated on the hardwood and gridiron.

The 2017 calendar year has plenty of promise across the Ravens roster of teams. Men’s basketball and football are both set up to continue their strong play, while women’s basketball opened the season ranked number one in the country. Despite a challenging start, men’s hockey remains one of the most talented teams in Ontario, while women’s hockey has shown signs of progress in year three of head coach Pierre Alain’s rebuild.