Laurier’s women’s soccer ended their season at the CIS Championships in Vancouver on Friday.
A 1-0 loss to Laval University in the quarterfinals on Thursday sent the Hawks to the consolation round for their second game. The tournament ended their season after they lost 2-0 to Cape Breton in the consolation semi-finals at Thunderbirds Stadium.
With three main offensive players injured — Nicole Lyon, Maxine Murchie and team captain Emily Brown — the team struggled to finish. Even with a few good chances, Cape Breton keeper Lysianne Trottier put up a fight.
Although the team was eliminated sooner than they would have liked, they still finished eighth in the country.
“Passion and determination has led our team to where we are now,” said Brown. “From the very beginning of our season our goals have been clear and I believe we’ve had a united front in taking on those goals.”
The roster went through a lot of adjustments at the beginning of the season. The team lost six key players, including defender Kelsey Tikka, midfielder Julie Maheau and keeper Maggie Carmichael. Head coach Barrie MacLean took on 10 rookies to fill in the empty spaces on the roster, with starting forward Gagan Parhar and starting keeper Ashley Almeida among that group.
But the adjustments did not have any negative effects. Laurier finished their regular season with a 12-2-2 record, giving them a bye to the OUA quarterfinals. Laurier won 1-0 against Windsor, the lone goal scored by Brown. The win led them to the OUA Final Four showdown in Ottawa.
The Hawks earned another victory in the semi-final game against the University of Ottawa. Ottawa was leading 1-0 at the end of the first half, but defender Pauline McCordic tied the game three minutes into the second after a run down the wing. Nicole Lyon sent the team to the finals when she later scored the game winner off a corner kick.
The Hawks lost 1-0 to Queen’s in the gold medal match but that was enough to get them to nationals.
“Everything we’ve worked for has led up to the [CIS] Championship tournament,” said Brown. “As the season has progressed I think our team has grown over time and I believe that our team peaked during the OUA semi-final game against Ottawa.”
The CIS Championships also mark the permanent end to the Laurier legend’s soccer career as a Golden Hawk.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to end my career than to be at nationals with my team,” Brown said.
The fifth year Business major has been a CIS first team All-Canadian twice, OUA first-team for four consecutive years, two-time OUA West MVP and OUA Rookie of the Year in 2011. Brown is also the current scoring leader in the OUA with a career total of seventy-six goals.
Alongside Brown and the Golden Hawks’ successes as a team, Laurier had many individual achievements this season. First year forward Gagan Parhar was named OUA West Rookie of the Year. She was the third leading scorer on the team and tied for fourteenth in the OUA this season with seven goals.
Five Hawks were recognized as OUA West all-stars. Brown and Lyon, both tied as leading scorers for Laurier with thirteen goals each, were first team all-stars. In addition to being a league all-star, Lyon was recognized as a CIS second team all-star. Jacky Normandeau, Julie Karn and Katie Bishop were recognized as West conference second team all-stars.
Brown said the group is capable of improving its talent and skill for upcoming seasons. “We have a very talented group that is capable and determined to win,” she said.