As the inaugural season of LFL Canada draws to a close, the key element was excitement.
The inaugural season was not short of superstars. Every franchise had players (both American and Canadian) who were ready to emerge as possible building blocks for the future. Although the BC Angels and Saskatoon Sirens qualified for Lingerie Bowl Canada I, the numbers show that the quality of play in the league is very high.
The Regina Rage were an offensive juggernaut. While the Sirens had the dynamic duo of Furrler (the combination of Heather Furr and Anne Erler) propel them to the best record of the league, the Rage were a very tough opponent. Nikki Johnson and Kylie Rossler emerged as the stars on a Rage offense that played the Sirens in two very intense games.
A true East versus West clash occurred when the BC Angels and Toronto Triumph played each other twice. Although the Triumph beat the Angels in the final game of the season to claim their first franchise victory, they were equally tough in their first loss to BC. While Stephanie Manou is the face of the Angels franchise, the Triumph’s leading rusher, Petshauna Pinnock, was a bruising runner who was difficult for the Angels to contain.
Mary-Anne Hanson: 206 passing yards, six passing touchdowns
Mary-Anne Hanson is an inspiration to mothers everywhere. One of several mothers on the Angels, Hanson is at the helm of an Angels squad that qualified for Lingerie Bowl Canada I.
Her 206 passing yards led all LFL Canada passers, while her six passing touchdowns tied with Saskatoon’s Anne Erler for the league lead. In addition, she threw the first touchdown pass in the history of LFL Canada.
Stephanie Manou: 337 rushing yards
Known affectionately as the Locomotive, Stephanie Manou emerged as one of the first Canadian superstars of LFL Canada.
A former rugby player at the university level, and a one-time cheerleader for the British Columbia Lions of the CFL, Manou emerged as a gridiron hero. Her 337 yards led all rushers in LFL Canada, as she accounted for more than 80 percent of the Angels rushing offense.
Aleesa Garcia: seven receptions
Having ranked second in LFL Canada in receptions, Garcia has emerged as one of the weapons on the Angels offense. Garcia caught the first receiving touchdown in LFL Canada history, during a 44-18 win over Regina.
Jessica Hopkins, Aleesa Garcia, Ashley Petrie: one interception
Hopkins, the undisputed leader of the BC Angels defense made her 1 interception count by returning 50 yards for a touchdown. Aleesa Garcia, the Angels leading receiver logged 15 yards with her pick off. Ashley Petrie, who ranked third on the Angels in receiving and sixth in tackles, played with heart throughout the season. The 5'2 spitfire from Vancouver played Wide Receiver and Cornerback and logged an interception return yardage of 17 for the Angels.
Katie Marshall: three sacks
A prodigious athlete, the native of North Vancouver had a great impact on the gridiron. Leading the NC Angels sack attack, the Angels accumulated seven sacks, more than any club in LFL Canada.
As the captain of her high school rugby team, the remarkable Marshall also played soccer, basketball, volleyball and flag football. Her agility was evident on the defensive side of the game, and the guidance of Jessica Hopkins has helped to shape Marshall into one of the defensive stalwarts of the Angels.
Jessica Hopkins: 27 tackles
The winner of the 2011-12 LFL US Mortaza Award, Hopkins' enthusiasm for the game made her a key leader for the Angels. Through hard work and perseverance, Hopkins' contributions on defense made the Angels a difficult team to beat.
Stephanie Manou: five rushing touchdowns
Aleesa Garcia: two receiving touchdowns
Both players made LFL Canada history during the inaugural contest of the league on August 31. With less than two minutes remaining in the opening quarter, Manou would score the first rushing touchdown in LFL Canada history to give BC a 6-0 lead over Regina. In the second quarter, Mary-Anne Hanson would throw the first touchdown pass in LFL Canada history, with Garcia as the recipient. BC went on to win the contest by a commanding 44-18 final score.
Nikki Johnson, 197 passing yards, five touchdown passes
One of the elite quarterbacks of LFL: Canada, Johnson also contributed as offensive co-ordinator. Employing great acumen, the highly skilled Johnson always provided the Rage an opportunity to win. Not only did Johnson log the first touchdown pass in Regina Rage history (a 40 yard bomb to Whitney Meierotto), but she also ran for the first touchdown in Rage history (which was also the second touchdown ever in LFL Canada history).
Nikki Johnson: 292 yards
Kylie Rossler: 266 yards
While both hail from very different backgrounds, Johnson (an LFL US All-Star with the Las Vegas Sin) and Rossler (an NCAA women’s hockey player with the Mercyhurst Lakers) combined to give the Rage the league’s top rushing attack with an average of 144 yards per game.
Cydney Froelich and Whitney Meierotto: eight receptions
Teammates on the Minnesota Valkyrie in LFL US, Froelich and Meierotto were counted upon to provide guidance and leadership for the more inexperienced players on the Rage. Having caught the first receiving touchdown in Rage history, Meierotto was a great target for superlative quarterback Nikki Johnson.
Cydney Froelich, Nikki Johnson and Tessa Barrera: one interception
All three interception leaders have played in LFL US. Froelich was a member of the Minnesota Valkyrie, while Nikki Johnson competed with the Las Vegas Sin.
Tessa Barrera was a member of the Los Angeles Temptation and has a Lingerie Bowl US championship. With the Rage, Barrera contributed as the defensive coordinator. Barrera’s patience and defensive strategy were key factors in the Rage providing the Saskatoon Sirens with their only loss of the season.
Andrea Cecchini: two sacks
A heart and soul player, Cecchini’s enthusiasm for the game was a key reason the Rage defense improved throughout the season. A fan favorite, the native of Jacksonville, Florida was a charismatic leader.
Cydney Froelich: 20 tackles
An All-Star with LFL US, Froelich came to the Regina as one of the superstars of the Minnesota Valkyrie. Her presence was invaluable to the Rage as she made great contributions on offense and defense. She would rank in the top two in three different statistical categories for the Rage.
Nikki Johnson: nine rushing touchdowns
Kylie Rossler: four rushing touchdowns
Whitney Meierotto: four receiving touchdowns
Leading the charge with the best offense in LFL Canada (189.8 yards per game), this titanic trio led the way for a remarkable Regina squad that nearly qualified for Lingerie Bowl Canada I.
Their 18 team touchdowns led the entire league, and Johnson, Rossler and Meierotto accounted for 17 of the 18 touchdowns. The only other Rage player to log a touchdown was Tessa Barrera.
Anne Erler: 188 passing yards, six passing touchdowns, zero interceptions, 130.7 efficiency rating
Anne Erler had a banner year in LFL Canada. Nicknamed Showtime, Erler led the Sirens to the best record in LFL Canada. She was the only starting quarterback in LFL Canada that did not throw an interception.
Statistically, her season with Saskatoon was better than any she had with the Green Bay Chill in LFL US. The 27-year-old field general is poised for greater things on her return to LFL US after the banner year she had with Saskatoon.
Tamar Fennell: 272 rushing yards
Having established herself in LFL US with the Cleveland Crush, Fennell benefited greatly from her season in Saskatoon. The native of Cincinnati was a key contributor to the Sirens' remarkable offense. Her 272 rushing yards ranked third in LFL Canada.
Heather Furr: six receptions, 20.3 yards per game
Tamar Fennell: six receptions, 8.5 yards per game
Having played a position that she was not accustomed to, Furr flourished as a receiver for the Sirens. A tremendous team player, Furr’s 20.3 yards per game ranked first among LFL Canada receivers.
With the Cleveland Crush, Fennell only logged four receptions during the 2011-12 LFL US season. More impressive were her 34 total receiving yards with the Sirens, a 20-yard improvement on her past season in Cleveland.
Anne Erler: six interceptions
Heather Furr: one interception
Furrler was not just a great offensive weapon. On defense, the two both played safety and gave opposing offenses many problems. Their seven combined interceptions were more than any pair of teammates in the league.
Lindsay Berger: one sack
Despite only competing in two games this season, the 22-year-old Berger made a tremendous impact. Her one sack led all players on the Sirens, while she logged a remarkable seven tackles. A healthy Berger should have a tremendous impact for the Sirens defense in 2013.
Heather Furr: 23 tackles
One of the key reasons the Sirens qualified for Lingerie Bowl Canada I, Furr was a tremendous leader. A remarkable player on offense and on defense, her contributions as a safety made the Sirens defense one of the most formidable in the league.
Anne Erler: four rushing touchdowns
Tamar Fennell: four rushing touchdowns
Heather Furr: four receiving touchdowns
Furr exemplified great teamwork as she let fellow quarterback Anne Erler run the offense, while she contributed as a receiver. The result was a dynamic duo on offense that contributed eight touchdowns compared to seven for the rest of the Sirens. Fennell would also match the team lead with four touchdowns. During the 2011 Cleveland Crush season, Fennell did not log one touchdown.
Marife Villagonzalo: 56.3 passer rating
The 5’4" quarterback (known affectionately as Mousey) would post 187 passing yards on the season, while throwing for four touchdowns and eight interceptions. On the ground, she rushed for 77 yards and four touchdowns, while only fumbling the ball once.
Petshauna Pinnock: 150 yards
Having played valiantly in losses to Saskatoon and BC, Pinnock has proven to be a future superstar in LFL Canada. A very bruising and punishing runner, Pinnock presents challenges to the opposing defense. In the first half of a loss to BC, Pinnock amassed 49 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown run.
Crystal Hall: seven receptions
Hall’s finest hour would come in the final game of the season. In the hopes of preventing the Triumph from losing an eighth consecutive match, Hall would provide her best performance. In helping the Triumph defeat the BC Angels, she was named co-Player of the Game.
Jaleesa McCrary, Whitney Paronish and Alicia Bell: one interception
All three players were important leaders for an improving Triumph squad. McCrary led all Triumph players on the squad with 23 tackles. Whitney Paronish, an LFL US import played with Philadelphia in the Lingerie Bowl and brought guidance to the squad. Alicia Bell suffered a knee injury, but her determination made her a nominee for the Mortaza Award.
Davine Burton and Stephanie Busuttil: one sack
Heading into the final game of the season, only two players on the Triumph logged 0.5 sacks. As the Triumph claimed their first win in franchise history, Burton and Busuttil both sacked BC Angels quarterback Mary-Anne Hanson in a remarkable defensive performance.
Jaleesa McCrary: 23 tackles
A highly valued US import, Jaleesa McCrary was a solid performer for the Triumph. As an LFL US All-Star selection, McCrary was a key contributor to the Philadelphia Passion qualifying for the Lingerie Bowl. In four contests, McCrary registered 23 tackles, including two for loss. While McCrary only logged one interception during the season, the return yardage was an impressive 25 yards.
Marife Villagonzalo: four rushing touchdowns
Tiffany Russell: three receiving touchdowns
With six receptions and 101 receiving yards, Russell converted three of her receptions for touchdowns. Her longest reception of the season was 27 yards. In a hard fought 31-27 loss to the BC Angels, the remarkable Russell would grab two touchdown scores.