Campus Life

Patzer, Langevin earn national awards

Fifth-year University of Lethbridge fly-half/fullback Ashley Patzer was named player of the year in Canadian Interuniversity Sport women's rugby for the second time in her career, Thursday night.

The Lethbridge native, who was first honoured in 2006, became the third double MVP since women's rugby was added to the CIS program back in 1998. St. Francis Xavier's Ghislaine Landry earned back-to-back MVP nods in 2007 and 2008, while Alberta's Heather Denkhaus claimed the trophy in 1999 and was a co-recipient in 2000.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Ashley Patzer, Lethbridge

Patzer is one of the most decorated players in the short history of CIS women's rugby. The five-foot-two Pronghorns captain was named CIS rookie of the year in 2005, was chosen MVP of last year's CIS championship when she guided the Pronghorns to their second straight national title, and is now a two-time CIS player of the year (2009, 2006) and four-time all-Canadian (2009, 2007, 2006, 2005).

In her fifth and final university campaign, Patzer tallied a Canada West-best 40 points in four outings – four tries, seven converts, two penalty goals – as the Pronghorns cruised through the regular season outscoring their rivals by a 217-7 margin over four wins. In the playoffs, the 22-year-old was named game MVP of the conference final after she scored 15 points on a try, two drop goals and a pair of converts to lead Lethbridge to a 30-0 win over Alberta and a fourth straight Canada West banner.

A third-year kinesiology student at Lethbridge, Patzer is a member of Canada's senior and sevens national teams. In 2006, she captained the Canadian U19 squad to a win over England.

"Ashley has reinforced her reputation as an all-round phenom," said Lethbridge head coach Neil Langevin. "To call her dynamic would be an understatement. She has continued to be an inspirational leader for her teammates and has developed to be one of the top players in the world."

StFX's Ghislaine Landry, Laval's Claudiane Renaud and McMaster's Nina Bui were the other nominees for CIS MVP honours.

Other CIS major award winners announced during the All-Canadian Gala include Concordia's Hughanna Gaw of Elgin, Que., who was named the nation's top freshman, Bishop's Frances Bajdik-Bova of Ottawa, who received the Student-Athlete Community Service award, and Lethbridge's Neil Langevin, who was named coach of the year, an award presented by Coaches of Canada.

COACH OF THE YEAR: presented by Coaches of Canada: Neil Langevin, Lethbridge

Langevin became the first coach from a Canada West program to be named CIS coach of the year.

In his 10th campaign at the helm, Langevin guided the Pronghorns to a 4-0 regular season record, a 2-0 playoff mark including a 30-0 win over five-time national champion Alberta in the gold-medal final, and a fourth straight conference banner. In six Canada West meetings, Lethbridge outscored its opponents 333-7. On Sept. 12, the 'Horns also travelled to Antigonish, N.S., where they scored a 17-12 exhibition victory over the 12-time AUS champion StFX X-Women in a rematch of last year's CIS final, won 29-15 by Lethbridge.

The only head coach in Pronghorns history and a two-time Canada West coach of the year (2009, 2002), Langevin led his troops to the podium in each of their four previous CIS championship appearances including a bronze medal in 2003, silver in 2006 and back-to-back Monilex trophy triumphs in 2007 and 2008. A schoolteacher in the Lethbridge School District, he served as head coach of Canada's senior national team from 2004 to 2007 – including a fourth-place finish at the Rugby World Cup in 2006 – and was at the helm of the Canadian U23 squad in 2003.

"Neil has done a wonderful job building a program that we are very proud of," said Lethbridge executive director of sport and recreation Sandy Slavin. "Neil and his staff have worked tirelessly over the years, building a championship calibre team from scratch."

Saint Mary's Dawn MacDonald, Bishop's Eryn Hessian and McMaster's Sandro Fiorino were named coach of the year in the AUS, QSSF and OUA, respectively, in 2009.


The all-Canadian team was also announced on Thursday with both Ashley Patzer and teammate Ashley MacDonald being named from the Pronghorns. It is the second straight honour for MacDonald and fourth overall for Patzer.