NEWS: Morton is OUA East MVP as Gee-Gees earn Major Awards

Gee-Gees celebrate a goal with a group hug, Mikayla Morton in the middle.

The Gee-Gees women's soccer team features three of the OUA East Major Award winners for 2019 as the conference announced the winners as well as the All-Star teams today. Mikayla Morton was named the OUA East MVP, and head coach Steve Johnson earned his sixth career Coach of the Year award. Katherine Bearne also finishes her OUA career as the winner of the OUA East Community Service Award, as well as a five-time all-star. 

Mikayla Morton powered the Gee-Gees offence this season, scoring a team record 17 goals in the regular season to lead the league. Her goal total also broke the team record for goals per game (1.21) and represents the highest individual contribution to the team's total goals; Morton scored 42.5 per cent of the team's 40 regular season goals.

Morton, who is from Courtice, Ont., and playing in her second season with the Garnet and Grey, showed her power and skill throughout the season: six of her goals were game-winners, she scored in 10 of the 14 games, and she registered at least one goal against all of the OUA East playoff teams.

"As one of our team captains Mikayla is a quiet leader on the field; she leads by example," says Johnson. "She formed a very good partnership with her other forwards and the midfielders and is more than just a finisher. She helps us build up play and is integral to our defending from the front."

Katherine Bearne was named the OUA East Community Service Award winner, recognizing her contributions to her academic community, and the soccer community both in Ottawa and abroad. The winner of the 2018-19 uOttawa President's Award was the Valedictorian for her graduating class in 2019, and she is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Physics while also helping lead uOttawa to another first place finish in the regular season standings.

The fifth-year midfielder from Halifax, N.S. finishes her Gee-Gees career with 34 points in regular season play (22 goals and 12 assists), with seven points coming in 2019. Bearne is an active youth soccer coach, and in 2018 she volunteered at orphanages in Panama with a local soccer group. She has run soccer clinics at First Nations reserves in the Ottawa area in the past. Her 2019 summer was spent partially with Team Canada at the 2019 Universiades. 

"This is another recognition of the all-around person that Katherine is," adds Johnson. "She is good in school good on the field, and good in the community. She's also made an impact coaching with the U17 championship team at Ottawa TFC – she worked a lot with them over the last few years helping their players develop."

Steve Johnson led the Gee-Gees to a first-place finish in the OUA East for the 13th time in his 26 seasons as head coach. 2019 also marked the seventh undefeated finish for Johnson, who wins the OUA Coach of the Year award for the sixth time overall but the first since 2013. This year, Ottawa led the entire OUA in goals scored with 40 and led the OUA East (second overall) in goals against with four. The goals against average of 0.29 ranks fourth in program history 

Both Morton and Bearne were also named to the OUA East First Team of All-Stars. Joining them on the First Team is fourth-year defender Cooper Lee. This is the third All-Star recognition for Lee, who hails from Toronto and studies Management Information Systems and Analytics and has been a shut-down player at centreback this season.

Bearne is just the second player in Gee-Gees history to be named to the OUA All-Star team in five seasons, following Cynthia Leblanc (GK, 2011-2015). 

Three members of the Gee-Gees were also named to the OUA East Second Team. Goalkeeper Margot Shore, defender Trinity Esprit, and striker Emma Lefebvre. Shore, in her fourth season with uOttawa, recorded a career high save percentage of .909 and also a career high in minutes played at 945. Her goals against average of 0.29 was tops in the OUA East. Esprit, a sociology student from Scarborough, Ont., was a Rookie of the Year candidate for the Gee-Gees making 11 starts on the back line and contributing two goals in the regular season. Lefebvre was second on the Gee-Gees with seven goals and thirteen points; her points total ranked third in OUA East. This is the second straight year of all-star recognition for Lefebvre, a fourth-year nursing student from Kingston, Ont.

"It's been an awesome season. The players are fantastic," sums up Johnson, who will also lead the Gee-Gees at the inaugural FISU World Cup following the U SPORTS National Championships.

The Gee-Gees host the OUA Final Four this Friday and Saturday, seeking to defend the 2018 title and earn the program's 10th conference championship. Ottawa plays York in semifinal action on Friday morning at 11 a.m., while Toronto and Western face off at 2 p.m. Saturday will see the bronze medal game at 11 a.m. and the OUA Championship Game at 2 p.m. All games are at Gee-Gees Field and will be webcast on OUA.tv