This past Thursday, March 7th, the UTM women’s varsity soccer team had their OCAA Regionals tournament at the OSA Centre in Woodbridge. The women were working hard all season at practices and training sessions in hopes of advancing to provincials this year.
The first game of the day was against their rival team, the Sheridan College Bruins. The entire game was dominated by UTM, but unfortunately the women could not seem to find the back of the net. With roughly two minutes left in the first half, Sheridan got their first goal of the game off a corner kick set play. The remainder of the game was filled with a lot of back and forth play, but the Eagles could not seem to score. Sheridan took the game 1-0.
Their second game was against the short-manned Lakehead-Orillia Thunderwolves. This game was a must win for UTM and in the first half co-captain, Azza Adhoum, and second year, Devon Nagle, both scored making the score 2-0 before halftime. Although the score line favoured UTM, there seemed to be a lack of urgency and tempo from the Eagles players. Sydney Miller and Breana Silva got two more goals for UTM in the second half, leading the score to end at 4-0.
UTM’s third game of the day was against the St. Clair College Saints. With a win, the women would potentially secure a spot at provincials. The women held their own for the majority of the first half, but a defensive lapse gave St. Clair a 1-0 lead going into halftime. UTM came out very strong in the second half, threatening to equal the score. Even after countless opportunities and strong play from all the women, the St. Clair defense held strong to preserve their 1-0 lead. The Eagles could not breakthrough, thus eliminating any hopes of advancing to provincials this year.
The final game of the day was against the Georgian College Grizzlies. Both teams had slim chances of advancing to provincials, however both also wanted to end their season with a win. After having played three previous games, fatigue was setting in for both teams. It wasn’t until 10 minutes left in the second half that co-captain, Kayla Rice, scored a penalty kick to give UTM their second and final win of the day.
Although the women’s season is officially over, head coach, Damian Yearwood, had a few words to say. “The dedication shown by our core group this year, from fighting back to fitness after injury to working hard in the gym to get stronger, has been incredible. A varsity program asks a lot from everyone, from the admin down to the athletic therapists, but it is especially true of our student athletes. The group that finished the season are head and shoulders better than the one that started it. I couldn’t have asked much more from the squad and although we missed out on our target to qualify for the Provincial Finals, we performed well and gave two top teams in Ontario a real battle.”
He continues, “Unfortunately, we say goodbye to three quality players this year, as they take the next step in their lives. Jayde, Vanessa, and Breana have been reliable, inspiring members of our soccer family. It’s always hard when players graduate. You’re happy for them and excited to see where they’ll go next, but when you spend four days a week with someone and it suddenly becomes four times a year, you really feel their absence. Working with these young women has been a wonderful privilege and I just hope that I have been able to impact these ladies as much as they have impacted me.”
Please note that this article was written by a member of the UTM women’s varsity soccer team.