Gee-Gees Best Gaels for Ontario Title
In what had all the makings to be a relatively even affair, the University of Ottawa Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s soccer team needed only ninety mins to assert their dominance over the rest of their OUA competition, namely the seconded-seeded Queen’s Gaels.
Both sides claimed their berths to the finals earlier in the week as the Gee-Gees defeated the McMaster Marauders 2-1 while Queen’s decided to keep it interesting with a win over the Western Mustang’s that needed to be decided by penalties.
Having met only once before this season – which resulted in a tie – and having been even in the standings until the final week of regular season, it was expected that the final match-up between these two sides was to be a hard-fought game.
However a Gaels roster weakened by injury and travel fatigue would unfortunately bear the full force of an unrelenting Ottawa side.
Queen’s Gaels held their own for the first half-an-hour of play, forcing a physical game onto the normally more graceful Ottawa side. That is not to say that the teams did not demonstrate masterful skill, rather, both were able to put their opposing goalkeepers on edge with several close chances.
But ultimately, the Gee-Gees were the ones to break the deadlock.
An indirect free-kick for uOttawa was all that was needed as a quick feed to Nibo Dlamini would be slotted home around the defending wall and into the bottom left corner behind Gaels keeper Kirstin Tynan.
From there, it was all downhill for Kingston’s finest.
Alongside Dlamini’s impressive strike, Elianne Gervais would get her third goal of 2023 while former Gael-turned-Gee-Gee Jenna Matsukubo found the net twice herself. Dlamini would also earn herself a brace in the ’65, adding to the Gee-Gees’ dominant presence on the scoresheet.
In a effort to deny the uOttawa goalie tandem of Cassidy Joslin and Juliann Lacasse a clean sheet, the Tricolour would find the back of uOttawa’s net in the ’64 as Seema Sakran took advantage of a misplay by the Gee-Gees’ backline with a powerful strike over Joslin’s extended glove.
Speaking after the game, uOttawa gaffer Steve Johnson was elated with the result. “This team has really progressed since we started in August and I’m glad we got such a big win in front of such a great crowd.”
“Our players knew what to expect… the game earlier this year, both teams played really tight and so we had to play with confidence,” said Johnson, adding that the title battle they had with Queen’s this season has prepared them for next weekend’s Nationals. “We are playing the best in the country… so nothing but a good performance is adequate.”
When asked about said performance at the National Championship, uOttawa attacker Nibo Dlamini focused much on the team chemistry and its role in achieving results on the pitch.
“The team in general has really good chemistry and when you have the feeling that you want to work for each other, it pushes you to reach new limits… We came in to today with a lot of team energy and support and we pushed each other further”, said Dlamini,
The uOttawa Gee-Gees now have four days off before travelling to Kingston for the 2023 USPORTS Women’s Soccer Championship. The first round of the tournament takes place on Thursday, November 9th as the OUA champs take on the UBC Thunderbirds.
Other seeded participants include the Laval Rouge et Or (RSEQ – 1st), StFX X-Women (AUS – 1st), Trinity Western Spartans (Canada West – 1st), Queen’s Gaels (hosts), Montréal Carabins (RSEQ – 2nd), and the Western Mustangs (OUA – 3rd/additional berth).
Fans can purchase tournament passes for the Championship, hosted at Kingston’s Richardson Stadium, here.