Women’s soccer final four hits Laurier

All four teams at this weekend’s Ontario University Athletics (OUA) women’s soccer finals will be able to share common motivations (besides winning): revenge.

It will be the exact same final four as last season vying for the OUA crown and when the Queen’s Gaels, Ottawa Gee-Gees and McMaster Marauders roll into Waterloo to join the host Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, each team will have some- thing to avenge from last season.

For the Gee-Gees and Marauders, it’s quite simple; they’ll be looking to gain some revenge for semi final losses in last year’s provincial finals to the Hawks and Gaels, respectively.

But the relationship between Laurier and Queen’s gets a little more complicated. Queen’s took home last year’s national title with a 1-0 extra time win, breaking the hearts of the silver medalist Golden Hawks in the process: clearly a loss that left a bad taste in their mouths. However, just a week prior, Laurier took home the OUA gold medal with a win on Queen’s home field: a fate the Gaels have the chance to put on the Hawks this weekend.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the teams (national rankings in parentheses):

Laurier Golden Hawks (No. 5)

–2010 CIS runner up, defending OUA champions

–This season: 11-1-2, first in OUA West, beat York 1-0 in OUA quarterfinal

Players to watch:

Fifth-year MF Alyssa Lagonia

-2011 OUA West MVP, five goals this season, extensive national team experience

Third-year F Krista Cellucci

-OUA West first team all-star, led team (tied for second in OUA) with ten goals

First-year F Emily Brown

-OUA West rookie of the year, her nine goals were fifth in the OUA, second on team

Not only does Laurier boast this year’s OUA West MVP and rookie of the year in Lagonia and Brown, they also have last year’s winners in midfielder Tania Pedron and defender Kelsey Tikka. A veteran team that only lost one player from last year’s CIS silver medal-winning season, they just have too much offensive firepower, not to mention defensive stability, only allowing eight goals all season, to not make a return to nationals.

McMaster Marauders (No. 10)

–2010 OUA fourth place

–This season: 8-5-1, second in OUA West, beat Windsor 3-0 in the OUA quarterfinal

Players to watch:

Fourth-year MF Melanie Van Der Hoop

-Team leader, good two-way presence in the middle, two- time OUA West first team all-star

Fourth-year D Cristina Leonardelli

-OUA West first team all-star, solid veteran defender

First-year F Natalie Brace

-OUA West first team all-star, led team with four goals

The Marauders are a solid defensive team, though they gave up 18 goals this season, six came in a blow out loss to Laurier Sept. 17. However, with only 17 goals for this season, it doesn’t seem like they have the ability to keep up with the likes of Queen’s (who scored 46), Laurier (36) and Ottawa (57).

Queen’s Gaels (No. 4)

–Defending CIS Champions, 2010 OUA runner up

–This season: 13-1-2, first in OUA East , beat Carleton 3-0 in OUA quarter-final

Players to watch:

Third-year MF Riley Filion

-2011 OUA East MVP, scored game-winning goal in CIS final last season

Third-year F Jackie Tessier

-12 goals led OUA in scoring, led the province last season with 18, former All-Canadian, OUA East first team all-star

Fourth year D Brienna Shaw

-OUA East first team all-star, sol- id veteran presence on back end

The Gaels didn’t lose a single
member of their CIS champion-
ship-winning squad from a year ago, so there’s no reason to think they won’t at least make the OUA final. Between Tessier, Filion, rookie Brienna Burton and veteran Kelli Chamberlain, their attack will be tough to stop.

Ottawa Gee-Gees (No. 6)

–2010 OUA bronze medalists

–This season: 12-3-1, second in OUA East, beat Toronto 2-1 in the OUA quarterfinal

Players to watch:

Second-year F Elisabeth Wong

-Tied for second in OUA with 10 goals, OUA East second team all-star

First year GK Cynthia Leblanc

-11 shutouts in 16 starts, OUA East second team all-star

Fourth-year D Gillian Baggot

-OUA East first team all-star, scored game-winning goal in quarter-final

With outstanding rookie ‘keeper Leblanc and a solid defence corps, the Gee-Gees are a tough team to score on. They led the OUA by only surrendering seven goals all season. In addition to Wong, forwards Sarah De Carufel and Christine Hardie also finished in the top ten in OUA scoring and the team led the OUA with 57 goals for. Could be a potential dark horse.

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