Gee-Gees Take Sixth With Loss to Western
With the skill, the record, the all-stars, and the championship-abundant resume, the Gee-Gees had all the necessary pieces to make the most of their Consolation Final. But, much like what plagued them on Thursday against the UBC Thunderbirds, the University of Ottawa’s women’s soccer team once again fell to a high-intensity and pressuring opponent, leaving them goalless and eliminated.
The final two days of the U SPORTS National Championship in Kingston just so happened see the three finals divided up by province. The Consolation Final hosted the remaining two OUA sides, the Bronze Medal match boasts the strongest two RSEQ schools – UdM Carabins and ULaval Rouge et Or – while the Championship is between the best two rosters in Canada who just so happened to be from BC: Trinity Western Spartans and the UBC Thunderbirds.
The Mustangs entered Nationals as the Bronze Medalist from the OUA, beating McMaster earlier this month despite them having finish first in the OUA-West with a 10W-1L-1D record. And with only four goals-against during the regular season, it was known that Mustangs keeper Samantha St. Croix would be a tough one to beat.
Yet, no matter the intentions of Steve Johnson’s side, they would once again this tournament find themselves playing the majority of the match in their end with few chances and conceding a goal due to a misplay.
The first half would have little in the way of scoring but Western would force the uOttawa defence into several prickly situations, three of which would require Gees keeper Cassidy Joslin to make some massive saves on.
The pressure rested squarely on the shoulders of uOttawa as the side would not register a single shot the entire first half and would bear the majority of ball play in their own end. Their second half was not much better either.
Three minutes into the second half and a corner in by the Mustangs’ Reese Fowler would fly directly to the feet of Cassandra Provost. The OUA MVP would fail to clear it from the uO penalty area, leaving it to be easily picked up by Medina Birani. Birani’s quick feet work would leave the Gee-Gees defence quite literally spun around as she sent it into the top left corner of the net over keeper Juliann Lacasse.
Frustration, anger, and desperation overtook the Gee-Gees players as their play game to get sloppier with missed passes, offsides, and a total of eight fouls and three yellow cards in the second period of play.
The Mustangs would continue dominating possession and control of the match for the next 35 minutes, with uOttawa making an all-too late push for an equalizer in the last 10 minutes until the match official blew the game to a close.
The Gee-Gees end their 2023 season as OUA Champions but as sixth place out of eight at this year’s National Championship. They will return home as Coach Steve Johnson begins preparations for 2024 to compliment his plethora of the returning players including the confirmed fourth season of Cassandra Provost in the Grey and Garnet.