OTTAWA (U SPORTS) – Miranda Smith scored the winning goal to complete the fairytale season for the Ottawa Gee-Gees, who won the U SPORTS Women's Soccer Championship with a 2-1 win over the Trinity Western Spartans.
Mikayla Morton also found the net for Ottawa, while U SPORTS Player of the Year Seina Kashima scored for the Spartans.
It was the second national title for the Gee-Gees, and their first since 1996.
A dipping free kick from Kashima was an early warning, but Ottawa keeper Margot Shore was up to the task, as she was throughout the game. A corner kick moments later was directed on goal by the Spartans' Rachel Hutchinson, but it was cleared off the line by Katherine Bearne.
Shore was tested again moments later. A long shot by Amy Gartke was easy pickings for the netminder. The tension was palpable at Gee-Gees Field early on, as both teams had boisterous fan contingents.
Ottawa sent the crowd into a frenzy in the 19th minute when Morton's shot from a tight angle went through goalkeeper Rachel Sydor for the opening goal. Trinity Western had defended well, but found themselves having to play from behind.
The Spartans pulled one back in the 26th minute with an absolute screamer. Trinity Western worked the ball across the box, and Kashima's one-time shot was world class into the top corner. Shore was left with no chance, and the match was equalized.
Shore was on her toes throughout the first half. On a secondary ball in after a corner, she made a diving intervention, pulling the ball off the head of a rushing Spartan attacker. The first half ended knotted at one.
The first chance of the second half went to the Gee-Gees in the 53rd minute, when the ball skipped through to Delaney Rickert-Hall, who sliced a shot over the bar.
Ottawa retook the lead in the 64th minute with a screamer of their own. Smith controlled the ball and fired a perfect shot off the crossbar and down from 30 yards out.
The game was tight right to the end, but the Gee-Gees hunkered down and turned in a great defensive performance to clinch the win.
"It was a great season, I am so proud of these girls," said Ottawa head coach Steve Johnson. "A very tough opponent today. It was tough in the first half battling the wind and the sun, and in the second half we just found another gear and kept pushing forward.
The victory caps off a remarkable season for the University of Ottawa, who lost one game all year, before running the table in the playoffs to capture the OUA and U SPORTS titles, the latter on their home field.
Players of the Game:
Trinity Western: Seina Kashima
Ottawa: Miranda Smith
Championship MVP (Gunn Baldursson Memorial Award): Miranda Smith, Ottawa
Championship All-Star Team Representatives:
Margot Shore, Ottawa
Thea Abdul Nour, Ottawa
Katherine Bearne, Ottawa
Emma Lefebvre, Ottawa
R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award: Cape Breton Capers