U SPORTS names Queen’s Gaels’ Sophie de Goede Women’s Rugby Player of the Year

Sophie de Goede was named U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Player of the Year. Image via Queen’s Athletics website.

Queen’s Women’s Rugby’s Sophie de Goede was named the U SPORTS Player of the Year for the 2021 season on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021.

According to a release from Queen’s University, de Goede (Victoria, B.C.), who was also named a First Team All-Canadian, took home the award at the Awards Banquet, hosted by in Kingston by the university on Thursday, as part of the U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship.

Along with de Goede, Carmen Izyk (Blackie, Alta.) was also named a First Team All-Canadian, while Maddy Kushner (Ottawa, Ont.), Bridget Peros (Oakville, Ont.), and Gill Reason (London, Ont.) were all named Second Team All-Canadians.

It was a very successful night for the Gaels, with one of the biggest applauses coming for de Goede when she was named Player of the Year, according to the release.

“It means the most to hear from (my teammates),” de Goede said, when asked how it felt to walk across the stage to accept her award to the loud cheers of her teammates in the stands. “They’ve been such a great support system for me this whole five years that I’ve been here. To have them recognize me, everything that I’ve accomplished would be because of them. It means the world to me.”

de Goede, who was named the OUA Player of the Year for the third straight season last week, finished the year with 52 points, bringing her career total at Queen’s up to 208 points, just 11 points behind Lauren McEwen, who is first all-time in points at 219. It was de Goede’s second-highest scoring season with the Gaels, behind only her 2019 season when she scored 76 points.

Queen’s Women’s Rugby Head Coach Dan Valley had some very high praise for de Goede after she won the Player of the Year award.

“It’s funny because it’s something that we’ve just grown accustomed to but it’s still unbelievable,” said Valley. “It’s a testament to Sophie as an athlete, it’s a testament to Sophie as a teammate, as a leader of people. I know the term generational talent gets thrown around but I think anybody that interacts with her would wholeheartedly agree that she is just that. I’m excited to see what the next couple of days has in store.”

The Gaels return to the Nixon Field pitch Friday after opening the U SPORTS Women’s Rugby Championship with a 33-26 win over the UBC Thunderbirds. Queen’s will take on the Laval Rouge et Or Friday at 7:30 p.m. with a spot in the championship game on the line, according to the release.

de Goede said the team will look to rely on some core values in the semifinal matchup.

“Hopefully we’ll endeavor to bring enterprising, quick, physical, rugby but also a tactical and smart component to it and try to outwit Laval. One of our core values is grit and family and I think those are two things that will really get us there [on Friday],” she said.

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