Laurier: 1 Western - Final: 0
LONDON, Ont. (November 3, 2013) - For the second time in four years, the No. 10 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women's soccer team won the OUA Championship as they defeated the No. 1 Western Mustangs 0-0 (3-1 penalty kicks) on Sunday afternoon at Huron Flats East on the campus of Western University.
After 120 minutes of hard fought soccer between the top two teams in the OUA West division, the Golden Hawks emerged victorious in penalty kicks on the strength of strong goalkeeping from Katrina Ward
of Surrey, B.C., and excellent finishing from Kelsey Tikka
of Thunder Bay, Ont., Jacqueline Lence
of Mississauga, Ont., and Sarah Farano
of Oakville, Ont.
"It's awesome to get the championship," commented Emily Brown
of Waterloo, Ont., this year's leading scorer in the conference. "While I've been here, two other times it's been an unfortunate outcome. It's a great feeling to have the red ribbon around our neck and to finally have the trophy."
"Honestly, I'm just so proud of the team," added Ward. "We fought through double overtime for the second time in a row and it just feels fantastic."
For the Hawks, the win gives them their eighth OUA Championship banner in team history and their first since 2010 when they defeated the Queen's Gaels 1-0.
Deemed by Head Coach BARRY MACLEAN
to be in a "rebuilding phase", the purple and gold demonstrated on Sunday that they are still a force to be reckoned with in the OUA. Just three weeks removed from a 4-2 defeat at Huron Flats East to the same Mustangs squad, Laurier put together a game plan that looked to limit a talented Western front.
"The biggest thing was to keep their forwards in front of us and not let them get in behind us which hurt us last time," commented MacLean on the team's strategy coming into the game. "We were dropped a little bit deeper and we were quite comfortable with them playing in front of our defence and not behind."
The strategy worked for most of the afternoon as the Hawks kept the Mustangs in front of their backline and challenged them early and often. While Western was able to generate offensive chances, many of them were from the wide side of the field and allowed the Hawks central defenders to clear opportunities.
On the other side of the ball, Laurier countered well throughout the contest and nearly opened the scoring in the 22nd minute. Suzanne Boroumand
of Kitchener, Ont., was sent in all alone but her shot just grazed the outside of the far post and kept the two teams tied at zeroes at half time.
The scoreless stalemate continued in the second half but just before the final whistle, the Mustangs were given a glorious opportunity in the box that was sent wide of the post. The miss kept the Hawks alive and sent the game to extra time.
During the final 30 minutes of play, both Brown and Western's Aoi Ichiyama of Amaranth, Ont., had opportunities to end the game but neither could find the back of the net.
With both teams having won their semifinal match in penalties, the Hawks and Mustangs had confidence heading into kicks. However, the veteran experience of Ward came through as she stopped two Mustangs and got help from her post on another. Up 2-1 in the fourth round, Farano stepped to the spot and deposited her shot past Mustangs keeper Tori Edgar of Oakville, Ont., to give the purple and gold the title of OUA Champions.
Laurier will now have three days to prepare for the CIS Championship as play in Toronto gets underway on Thursday, November 7. For the second straight year, the Golden Hawks will meet the Trinity Western Spartans, this year's Canada West Silver Medalists as well as the defending national champions. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. at Varsity Stadium.
"Right now we'll enjoy tonight," said MacLean when asked about looking ahead to the national championship. "We're going to get ourselves regrouped. We'll have a look at the tape of Trinity Western. We know them, we played them last year, their exceptional. We might have our hands full but we'll get after it."
Stay tuned to laurierathletics.com for a complete championship preview as well as exciting ways to follow the Golden Hawks in their run to a CIS gold medal.