With autumn sports having wrapped for another season, Canadian Interuniversity Sport recognized two female athletes from Quebec with significant awards. McGill’s Brianna Miller and Sherbrooke’s Marie-Eve Jacques earned the highest honor one can receive in their respective sport.
As the recipient of the CIS Player of the Year in Rugby, Miller beat out other candidates such as fly half Emilie Chiasson (Acadia), fullback Caitlin McNally (Guelph) and back row Miranda Monty (Alberta). In years past, the Player of the Year Award has served as a springboard towards the Canadian National Rugby Team.
Winning the Chantal Navert Memorial Award, it was an emotional moment for Marie-Eve Jacques. As a striker for the University of Sherbrooke, the award had an even greater meaning for Jacques. Of note, Chantal Navert was a former soccer official who was a strong supporter for women’s soccer in Sherbrooke. As the first player for the Sherbrooke Vert & Or to win the award, the historic connection to Navert and her impact in the community is one that will only add to the prestige of the award.
Since rugby became a CIS sport in 1998, Miller is the first player from the RSEQ Conference to garner the award. Majoring in physical education, Miller finished the 2013 season as the leading scorer. Of note, it was the third consecutive season that she obtained the scoring title. Serving as the Martlets team captain, her sparkling 100 point campaign was complemented by a conference-leading 34 conversions (earning a 73.9 percent success rate), four penalty goals and four tries in merely seven games.
Such remarkable productivity represented an astounding 32.3 percent of the McGill Martlets offense. Her efforts paid dividends for the Martlets as they enjoyed a 6-1 record, their finest since 2005. The only RSEQ club that fared better was Concordia (finishing at 7-0) and they were upset by the Martlets in the conference finals.
During the 2013 season, she would also establish herself as the Martlets all-time leading scorer. Setting the new benchmark with 370 points in 26 career regular season tilts, she has one more season of eligibility to add to this impressive number.
Prior to the beginning of the season, she competed with the Canadian team that captured the bronze medal in rugby sevens at the 2013 Summer Universiade. Also earning nods as a CIS All-Canadian, perhaps her most impressive feature is the fact that she is ambidextrous. Able to kick and throw on the right and left, it is very possible that she may be part of the Canadian
contingent when rugby makes its Summer Games debut at Rio 2016.
Having earned the award over fellow nominees Karolyne Blain (PEI), Emily Brown (Wilfrid Laurier) and Julia Ignacio (Alberta), sophomore Marie-Eve Jacques holds the potential to earn the Chantal Navert Memorial Award once again in her CIS career. After a remarkable freshman campaign that saw her lead the Vert & Or to their first CIS National Championship tournament appearance in two decades, there was no sophomore slump in 2013.
Recognized as the 2012 RSEQ Rookie of the Year, she was also named a First-Team RSEQ All-Star in 2013 (her second straight nod). Complemented by a CIS First-Team All-Star selection in 2013, Jacques is clearly the most prodigious soccer in all of CIS play.
During 14 conference matches, Jacques accumulated an astounding 21 goals. Emerging as the conference leader in goals scored, the second-leading scorer only had 10 goals on the season. Having added 11 assists to her numbers, Jacques emerged as the conference scoring champion by a whopping 12 points.
Although the Vert & Or finished second in the RSEQ with a 10-3-1 mark, they were also the highest scoring team in the entire CIS, averaging 3.5 goals per contest. While they could not gain the 2013 CIS National Title, Jacques has a remarkable presence that assures another chance in 2014 or 2015 is highly possible.
Prior to competing at the CIS level, Jacques was a member of the Quebec Provincial Under-16 and Under-18 teams. Competing in the Quebec AAA Senior League in 2011, she captured the Ballon d’Or, awarded to the league leader in goals scored. With such a prolific background, a spot on the Canadian National Team would fulfill more than just great promise, but add a new chapter to a player whose soccer career may be the greatest in the history of Quebec.