Three Stars: Bereziuk, Ayre, Abel earn honours

Three Stars: Bereziuk, Ayre, Abel earn honours

MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Women's volleyball student-athlete Mariah Bereziuk is the MacEwan Athletics first star for a second-straight week after leading the Griffins in kills and reaching a huge career milestone against Regina last weekend.

Bereziuk reached 500 career kills on Saturday against the Cougars, finishing with 27 kills in just six sets as the Griffins earned the weekend sweep.

Women's hockey forward Maria Ayre and men's hockey goaltender Ashton Abel and are the second and third stars, respectively.

This is the third time Bereziuk has made the Three Stars list this season after earning first-star honours on Oct. 31 and Nov. 21. Ayre is making the list for the first time, while Abel is appearing for the second time in 2023-24 after being named third star Sept. 5.

Mariah Bereziuk reached 500 career kills against Regina on Saturday and led the Griffins with 27 kills in just six sets of weekend action (Eduardo Perez photo).

1st STAR: Mariah Bereziuk, OH, women's volleyball

Boyle, AB, fourth-year, Commerce

In the midst of an incredible season for the Griffins, the talented outside hitter reached 500 career kills on Saturday with her fifth kill of the match.

In leading the Griffins to a weekend sweep with a 3-0 win Saturday, Bereziuk finished with 14 kills on a sizzling .429 hitting percentage, adding one service ace, 10 digs and a block, while accounting for a match-high 16.0 points.

In Friday's 3-0 win, Bereziuk also led the Griffins with 13 kills on a .370 hitting percentage, adding one ace, eight digs and a block, while accounting for a match-high 15.0 points.

Bereziuk is now up to 509 career kills, which moves her past Hailey Cornelis (501) into fifth all-time in MacEwan's Canada West history.

For the season, the fourth-year standout is second in Canada West in kills/set (4.06), fourth in kills (130), third in points/set (4.8) and fourth in points (153.5).

The Griffins (7-3) finish off the first semester with a visit to Mount Royal (2-8) on Friday (8 p.m.) and Saturday (5 p.m., both Canada West TV).

Maria Ayre's third period goal on Saturday not only tied the game and allowed the Griffins to rally back for a 3-2 shootout win, it broke a program record for most goals by a rookie in a Canada West season (Derek Harback photo).

2nd STAR: Maria Ayre, F, women's hockey

Fort St. John, BC, first-year, Arts

The rookie forward made a huge difference for the Griffins in a weekend split with Regina, scoring goals in both games to break the program's single Canada West season rookie goals record.

Ayre scored the tying goal on Saturday with 4:38 left to force overtime before Allee Isley scored in the sixth round of the shootout to give the Griffins a 3-2 win over the Cougars.

Her fourth goal of the season broke the rookie record, set by Aryn Chambers and Hailey Maurice, who both had three goals in 2021-22. And we're just halfway through the 2023-24 campaign. 

Ayre also scored in Friday's 5-1 loss to Regina when her sharp-angle third period shot deflected off a defender's skate and in.

For the season, Ayre is up to four goals and five points in 14 games, which is fifth on the team.

The Griffins (3-13-0) close out the first semester with a home-and-home series against cross-town rival Alberta (12-2-2) on Friday (7 p.m., Downtown Community Arena) and Saturday (7 p.m., Clare Drake, both Canada West TV).

Ashton Abel had a 32-save shutout in Friday's 2-0 win over Regina (Derek Harback photo).

3rd STAR: Ashton Abel, G, men's hockey

Fort McMurray, AB, fifth-year, Commerce

The reigning MacEwan Male Athlete of the Year was unbeatable with a clutch shutout performance in the Griffins' opening game of their weekend series at Regina.

In Friday's 2-0 win, Abel stopped all 32 shots he faced to earn his second shutout of the 2023-24 season. He was fantastic in a game the Griffins were outshot in (32-24), giving them a huge result against the team chasing them for the final playoff spot in Canada West.

Abel was also in net for Saturday's 4-2 loss, stopping 21 of 25 shots. He also picked up an assist in the contest on Kadyn Chabot's second goal.

For the season, Abel leads the Griffins with a 3.11 GAA and .906 save percentage in 540 minutes of action.

The Griffins (6-9-1) face cross-town rival Alberta (10-4-2) in a home-and-home series to conclude the first semester this weekend (Friday, 7 p.m., Clare Drake and Saturday, 5 p.m., Downtown Community Arena, both Canada West TV).