WATERLOO, Ont. (October 24, 2014) – The No. 5 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s soccer team kicks off another run at the OUA Championship this Sunday when they host the No. 8 York Lions in the OUA Quarter-finals at University Stadium.
The Hawks enter Sunday’s game coming off one of their best seasons in school history. Laurier posted an impressive 12-1-3 record, second best in the OUA West division, while scoring a remarkable 61 goals, shattering the previous team record of 36 set back in 2011.
Leading the way once again offensively for the purple and gold was forward Emily Brown of Waterloo, Ont. The fourth year striker set a new career-high with 21 goals during the regular season, three more than she scored a year ago. That left her tied for first place in the CIS in goal scoring with fellow OUA West division striker Amanda Boyle from the Western Mustangs.
However, Brown had plenty of goal scoring help around her in 2014. Forward Nicole Lyon of Kitchener, Ont., suiting up for her first year in the OUA after missing her rookie season due to injury, scored 13 goals, fifth most in the conference. Midfielder Maxine Murchie of Kitchener, Ont., was also a force offensively, scoring 12 times in 13 games. The three players combined to score more goals that all but three other teams in the OUA.
Defensively, the Hawks were just as strong, allowing only nine goals, their fewest given up since the OUA moved to a 16-game schedule back in 2012. Anchoring the backline all year has been fifth year defender Kelsey Tikka of Thunder Bay, Ont., along with impressive rookie Pauline McCordic of North Vancouver, B.C., who started in 15 games this year.
Behind the defenders, keeper Maggie Carmichael of Orono, Ont., has been a rock for Laurier, registering nine shutouts while compiling a 0.64 goals against average and a .847 save percentage.
A year after head coach BARRY MACLEAN said they were in a rebuilding phase, the Hawks head coach has ensured that his team would have plenty of depth as they looked to defend their OUA Championship title in 2014. 16 different players have started at least one game for Laurier this year and that flexibility has allowed the Hawks bench boss to throw a number of different looks at the opposition.
The opposition that will have to game plan for the purple and gold on Sunday will be the York Lions. A very good team in their own right, the Lions finished the year 12-2-2, just one point behind the Hawks in the West division standings. After missing the playoffs last year, York has come back with a year in which they scored 53 goals while only allowing five.
Laurier will need to be wary of Lions forward Nour Ghoneim of Aurora, Ont., who had a great year for York. The third year striker finished third in the conference in goals with 17 before scoring twice more in York’s 3-0 win over McMaster in the first round of the OUA playoffs on Wednesday.
While the two teams were only separated by one point in the standings this year, the Hawks took the season series thanks to a 1-0-1 record. The two teams played to a 0-0 draw at University Stadium in their first meeting before the Hawks came away with a 1-0 win on the road in their final matchup of 2014.
The winner of Sunday’s game will advance to the OUA Final Four championship tournament being hosted at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton, on the weekend of November 1-2.