Four conference standouts named OUA athletes of the week
Burlington, Ont. – Four student-athletes – Kali Pocrnic, Aiden Warnholtz, Céline Frappier, and Grace Pyatt – have been named OUA athletes of the week, fueled by Milk2Go Sport, for the period ending March 12, 2023.
Kali Pocrnic, Basketball, Carleton
After leading her team to a Critelli Cup title the week prior, Kali Pocrnic next turned her attention to the national stage, and once again, the bright lights of the big games were welcomed with open arms by the tournament’s most valuable player.
Entering the U SPORTS Final 8 as the top seed, all eyes were on Pocrnic and the Carleton Ravens. The team’s first test was in their quarterfinal bout with Cape Breton, but backed by 15 points, four assists, and three rebounds from the veteran guard, the black birds soared to the 56-51 win over the hosts.
Pocrnic would next lead her team into a semifinal tilt with Saskatchewan and she once again did not disappoint. The Oakville, Ont. product collected 17 points and seven assists en route to player of the game honours, setting up a Critelli Cup rematch with the Queen’s Gaels to determine the Bronze Baby winner.
A team-high 20 points from Pocrnic, including a 13-point outing in the second half of the championship game, helped her side collect the win therein. Trailing by five at the break, Pocrnic’s second-half spark was instrumental in helping Carleton defeat Queen’s for the second time in a week and earn the team’s second national title.
Aiden Warnholtz, Basketball, Carleton
The Carleton Ravens men’s basketball team battled their way to their 17th national title in the last 20 years as part of one of the greatest university basketball games to ever hit the hardwood, and at the centre of the team’s epic championship run was Aiden Warnholtz.
Before making their way to the finale, Warnholtz first helped Carleton conquer their quarterfinal foes to open the 2023 U SPORTS Men’s Basketball Championship. In the team’s 73-71 comeback win over UQAM, the fourth-year guard finished with 29 points and six rebounds for the black birds.
He would outdo himself in the team’s semifinal clash with Ottawa, a rematch of the OUA’s Wilson Cup Championship game, and with a well-rounded effort in tow, the Kanata, Ont. local would help the Ravens avenge last weekend’s loss. Pouring in 21 points, seven rebounds, and 10 assists, Warnholtz not only earned player of the game recognition, but led his team to a spot in the gold medal game against STFX.
In that finale, both sides put on quite a show. After falling behind by 23 in the opening half, the Ravens soared back to take the late lead, but with his team trailing by three in the dying seconds, Warnholtz delivered a clutch contested triple to tie the game and force overtime. The OUA first team all-star and U SPORTS all-Canadian continued to step up in the two extra frames, knocking down big shot after big shot, and when the final buzzer sounded, had anchored a thrilling 109-104 2OT win.
Warnholtz finished the game with 23 points and 11 rebounds, playing the final 14 minutes of the game – including both overtime periods – with four fouls, putting the cherry on top of his tournament MVP selection.
Céline Frappier, Hockey, Toronto
Bringing the home fans to their feet in the dying seconds of the McCaw Cup Women’s Hockey Championship, Céline Frappier was the hero for the Varsity Blues this weekend.
Locked in a defensive battle with the Nipissing Lakers on Saturday night in the OUA women’s hockey finale, the Toronto Varsity Blues were hard-pressed to find the back of the net against Chantelle Sandquist. The team, trailing 1-0 in the dying minutes of the game, got back on even ground with just under four minutes to go in regulation, and just when the championship seemed destined for overtime, Frappier found a moment of brilliance for the Blues.
With just 28 seconds left in the third period, the fifth-year forward from Tecumseh, Ont. received a centering pass from linemate Kaitlyn McKnight and made no mistake, one-timing the puck past the Lakers netminder to secure the thrilling victory.
Backed by the championship-winning goal, Frappier also earned player of the game honours.
Grace Pyatt, Volleyball, Brock
A determined comeback win on the Quigley Cup stage couldn’t happen without key players making key plays, and for the Brock Badgers this weekend, it was senior Grace Pyatt doing just that.
Pyatt, a fifth-year applied gerontology major, played a pivotal role in the Badgers come-from-behind victory over Queen’s this past Saturday in the OUA women’s volleyball finale. The veteran middle delivered a team-high 22 points for the Badgers, tallying 17 kills on an efficient .517 hitting percentage. Pyatt also added 10 block assists at the net and chipped in with four digs.
With her team leading by one and the pressure at its peak, meanwhile, the Thorold, Ont. local delivered her most crucial play of the match, coming up with a huge block off the Queen’s attack to claim the banner-clinching point for Brock in the fifth and final set.
Pyatt was honoured as an OUA all-star following the championship victory after being named to the first-team group earlier in the week, a designation she has earned for a second straight season.