By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The UOIT women’s soccer team were the best of the best this season, and Ontario University Athletics (OUA) officially recognized that, naming them the girls’ OUA team of the year.
The honour follows a historic season of firsts that saw the team dominate the regular season with a 13-2-1 record, finishing atop the OUA’s east division for the first time in program history. The club carried the success over into the postseason, defeating the Laurentian Voyageurs 2-0 to advance to the OUA final four.
After a 3-1 victory in the semifinals over the Windsor Lancers, UOIT defeated the defending champion Queen’s Gales 1-0 to win their first OUA championship in school history.
At the 2016 U Sports championship, the Ridgebacks defeated the Trinity Western Spartans 1-0 before falling 2-1 in overtime to Laval. The Ridgebacks managed to bounce back in the bronze medal match, beating their OUA rival Gaels 1-0 for the second time in a week to win their first U Sports national championship medal in just their fifth season.
For head coach Peyvand Mossavat, who also took top honours as coach of the year, it’s an incredible accomplishment for the team, especially for a number of veteran players in their final seasons as Ridgebacks.
“I think they had a feeling that they wanted to do something special before they all leave,” Mossavat says. “And they did.”
Several Ridgebacks were also rewarded for their strong presence on the pitch this season, including UOIT defender Kylie Bordeleau who was named OUA East Division Player of the Year. Bordeleau, along with midfielder Katherine Koehler-Grassau were also recognized nationally as U Sports All-Canadians.
“I’m proud of the girls, words can’t explain,” Mossavat says of his team. “I’m just so thankful and grateful for the opportunity for having been able to help the girls achieve that and help UOIT achieve that. We’ve got such a great thing going on at UOIT, not many people know, but slowly, through these opportunities, through these platforms, we’re getting the name out.”