Provost Leads Charge As Gee-Gee’s Retake First
A busy weekend for the University of Ottawa women’s soccer team saw the squad take on the TMU Bold and Ontario Tech Ridgebacks in a doubleheader to close out their 2023 home season.
Under the auspices of graduating players Cassandra Provost and Captain Adriane Devlin, the Gee-Gee’s would make the most of the home stand and gain a valuable six points in their race against Queen’s for 1st place.
Bold But Uninspiring
Under a beautiful and sunny Fall afternoon, the TMU Bold took their place at Matt Anthony field and despite having lost 5-1 in their last meeting, the Bold’s aggressiveness resulted in a tense back and forth for the first 25 minutes. Consistent pressure by the Bold midfield and solid work by their defensive line to deny uOttawa chances in front of the penalty area kept the scoreboard level.
This would included a blocked penalty by visiting keeper Elisa Paolucci as a dive to the left would deny uOttawa’s Cassandra Provost her 17th goal.
Just 18 minutes later, a scramble in the box would lead to perfectly placed ball and goal for Provost, opening the floodgates for Ottawa. Only three minutes after that, playmaker Allana Oriente would mark one of her own with an Olympic worthy of a TSN highlight reel making it 2-0.
From here, Steve Johnson’s side would not hold back with Sabrina Mangiaracina netting her fourth this year, while Oriente and Provost brought home another four goals collectively to make it 7-nil by the time the referee blew her whistle for full time.
Speaking after the match about the changing pace of the game, uOttawa Captain Adriane Devlin spoke about the importance of their reoccurring chances.
“It came down to the chances. We knew as a team… we were in their half almost every second. We were hitting crossbars, we were hitting this [and that]. We were getting inch by inch closer to getting one in.” Teammate Jenna Matsukubo would add that recently the team has focused recently on maintaining constant pressure to force errors, a tactic on display against TMU.
Ontario Tech U: Lots of Bark, No Bite
Come Sunday, the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks were fighting for their playoff lives they took on the Gee-Gee’s for the first time this season. For OnTech, any points gained would allow for them to officially eliminate TMU and secure their own spot in the OUA playoffs.
Beyond this, the leading story going into this matchup was Cassandra Provost as the day before, she had broken uOttawa’s record for most goals in a single regular season – a record she had set the year prior – with 20 goals.
As a graduating student, Provost is not guaranteed to return for 2024, but even considering this, she remains content with her work on the field so far.
And done her job, she has.
With OnTech needing the win, they brought a level of ferocity to the match that uOttawa had not seen since their September 24th match versus Queens, but it would prove futile against the Grey and Garnet.
10 minutes in would see Maya Smith net her second goal of 2023. 14 minutes later, a broken and flustered Ridgebacks’ d-line would provide a wide-open door for Nibo Dlamini to walk the ball into the net. These would then be beautiful capped off by two more Provost goals, bringing her to 22 in 10 games.
Going into the final weekend of the regular season, both uOttawa and their Kingston rivals are taking the trek up Highway 17 as on alternating days, they face off with Laurentian and Nippising. Laurentian, having been eliminated from playoff contention a few weeks back, are looking to play spoiler for either of the league leaders who want to guarantee home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Closer to home, Provost sits only 11 goals away from uOttawa’s career goal scoring record, and given her track record she could match it with two stellar performances this road trip.