Three Stars: Gajic, Riddle, MacWilliam earn honours

Stefan Gajic battles against Mount Royal players on Saturday. He scored the game-winner in that contest and set up the game-winner in Sunday's game against Calgary (Chris Piggott photo).
Stefan Gajic battles against Mount Royal players on Saturday. He scored the game-winner in that contest and set up the game-winner in Sunday's game against Calgary (Chris Piggott photo).

MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Stefan Gajic is MacEwan Athletics' first star of the week after leading the Griffins men's soccer team to its first six-point weekend in Canada West play over the weekend.

The first-year midfielder scored the game-winner against Mount Royal University on Saturday before setting up the game-winner against Calgary on Sunday.

Other athletes recognized this week include second star Sarah Riddle of the women's soccer team and third star Jill MacWilliam of the women's hockey team.

It's the first three-stars nod for all three this season.

1st STAR: Stefan Gajic, M, men's soccer

Edmonton, AB, first-year, Commerce

Gajic's goal and an assist in a pair of weekend games helped the Griffins claim their first six-point weekend since joining Canada West in 2014.

In Saturday's 2-1 win over Mount Royal University, Gajic scored the game-winner when he took a great cross from Kapri (Marcus) Simmons and chipped it over the head of MRU goalkeeper Kyran Valley in the 58th minute.

A day later, he was in on the game-winner again when his perfect low cross from the right corner into the box was sent home by Joseph Abrahart in the 87th minute for the winner in a 1-0 victory over Calgary.

Despite starting just two of five games in this, his rookie Canada West season, Gajic leads the Griffins with three points and is second on the team with five shots on goal.

The Griffins host Trinity Western on Saturday (12 p.m.) and Victoria on Sunday (2:30 p.m., both games at Clarke Stadium).

2nd STAR: Sarah Riddle, D, women's soccer

Edmonton, AB, fourth-year, Commerce

With the Griffins trailing 1-0 to Thompson Rivers University on Saturday, despite dominating the run of play, it was Riddle who stepped up to be the clutch performer that the team needed.

Not only did the fullback perform her regular rock-solid defensive duties, but she netted a goal and an assist to engineer MacEwan's comeback in a 2-1 victory.

Riddle set up Meghan Oram for the game-tying goal in the 86th minute before ripping a rocket into the top corner in the 89th for the game-winner. It was the first regular season goal of her Canada West career.

Riddle also played the full 90 minutes in Sunday's 1-0 loss at UBC-Okanagan.

The Griffins host Saskatchewan on Friday for their home opener (6 p.m., Clarke Stadium) and also welcome Regina on Sunday (12 p.m., Clarke).

Sarah Riddle, seen during a game against UNBC last season, came up in the clutch on Saturday at TRU with a goal and an assist to secure MacEwan's first win of the season (Chris Piggott photo).

3rd STAR: Jill MacWilliam, F, women's hockey

Hay Lakes, AB, third-year, Arts

With the Griffins involved in an ACAC preseason tournament in Red Deer, MacWilliam stepped up big time in their opening game against Red Deer College – the first meeting between last season's ACAC Championship combatants.

The third-year forward scored twice on Friday against the Queens, including netting the game-tying goal with 7.4 seconds left. She also added an assist on MacEwan's other goal in a 3-3 tie.

On Saturday against Olds, she had a goal and an assist in a 2-0 win.

The Griffins will face two Canada West teams this weekend for their own MacEwan Invitational preseason tournament at the Downtown Community Arena. They'll face Alberta on Friday (4 p.m.) and Calgary on Saturday (7:30 p.m.).

Jill MacWilliam was a force in the opening weekend of preseason action, leading the Griffins to two wins and a tie in a tournament in Red Deer (Matthew Jacula photo).