Three Stars: Stayko, Kilbreath, O'Hearn earn honours

MacEwan Griffins goalkeeper Josh Stayko has been terrific for the 1-2-1 men's soccer team with 28 saves in four games so far (Robert Antoniuk photo).
MacEwan Griffins goalkeeper Josh Stayko has been terrific for the 1-2-1 men's soccer team with 28 saves in four games so far (Robert Antoniuk photo).

MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Men's soccer student-athlete Josh Stayko is the MacEwan Athletics' first star of the week after his performance in goal against the Saskatchewan Huskies over the weekend.

The rookie goalkeeper made a combined 15 saves in a pair of contests at Clarke Stadium as the Griffins earned a weekend split against the perennial Canada West contender.

Other athletes recognized this week include second star Noelle Kilbreath of women's basketball and third star Kallie O'Hearn of women's hockey.

It's the first honour of the season for all three student-athletes.

1st STAR: Josh Stayko, GK, men's soccer

Sherwood Park, AB, first-year, Commerce

As he has done regularly so far this season, Stayko made several diving stops that littered the highlight reels during a weekend split against Saskatchewan.

The rookie goalkeeper made nine saves in MacEwan's 1-0 victory over the Huskies on Saturday – the first win by the program against Sask. in 13 tries since entering Canada West in 2014. It was also the first shutout of his university career.

His best save on Saturday came in the 74th minute when Tobias Hyrich-Krueger split the defence and went in alone only to have Stayko charge out to cut the angle and deny him.

In Sunday's 4-0 loss, Stayko – who was forced to leave the game with an injury in the 64th minute after he was crashed into during Saskatchewan's third goal – made six stops before exiting, including two amazing diving saves on Saskatchewan's Nikolas Baikas in the first half.

On the season, Stayko has 28 saves – the second-most in Canada West.

The Griffins next head to Mount Royal University for a pair of games on Saturday and Sunday (both 3 p.m., Canada West TV presented by Co-op).

Noelle Kilbreath lines up for a free throw against UBC-Okanagan in preseason action over the weekend in Kelowna, B.C. (Dallas Hancox/UBCO Athletics).

2nd STAR: Noelle Kilbreath, G, women's basketball

Calgary, AB, second-year, Science

Kilbreath led the Griffins with 35 points combined in a pair of games against UBC-Okanagan as the team kicked off its 2021-22 preseason schedule in Kelowna.

In Friday's 87-82 defeat, the second-year guard posted a career-high 25 points.

In Saturday's 67-48 loss, she followed it up with 10 points.

The Griffins next will host three preseason games on the Oct. 15-17 weekend – UNBC (Friday, 8 p.m.), UBC-Okanagan (Saturday, 7 p.m.) and Regina (Sunday, 11 a.m., all David Atkinson Gym).

Their regular season opening weekend is set for Oct. 29-30 at Mount Royal University.

Kallie O'Hearn has scored three times in preseason action for the Griffins so far in 2021, including tallying the team's only goal against Saskatchewan in a 3-1 loss on Saturday (Jefferson Hagen photo).

3rd STAR: Kallie O'Hearn, D, women's hockey

Surrey, BC, first-year, Arts

Strong throughout the preseason for the Griffins both offensively and defensively, O'Hearn was the team's best player in a 3-1 non-conference loss to Saskatchewan on Saturday in Unity, Sask.

O'Hearn scored the squad's only goal in the contest, which is her third of the preseason after also scoring against the Calgary Dinos on Sept. 18 and against Saskatchewan on Sept. 24.

The Griffins will wrap up their exhibition schedule with their seventh non-conference match in five weekends when they visit Mount Royal University on Friday (6 p.m.).

Their Canada West regular season home opener is set for Oct. 15 vs. Regina (7 p.m., Downtown Community Arena, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).