Lions women’s soccer team loses to Victoria at national finals

The York Lions women’s soccer team’s hopes of a national title ended abruptly Thursday as they dropped a 1-0 decision to the Canada West finalist University of Victoria Vikes in opening round action at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport National Championship in Edmonton. With the victory, the Vikes advance to the semifinals, while the Lions will play in the consolation round where they can finish no higher than fifth.

Aurelea GumielaThe Lions best opportunity in the scoreless first half came in the 10th minute when leading-scorer Kyla Jones fired a mid-range shot just high. Victoria started to gain momentum near the end of the opening frame after striker Amelie Mercier had three solid opportunities. In the 31st minute, she escaped a York defender but was unable to beat keeper Aurelea Gumiela. In the 37th minute, Mercier’s header from inside the box went wide, while in the 41st minute, she sailed a mid-range shot over the net.

Right: Aurelea Gumiela, York player of the game

Victoria continued to press in the second half, but were unable to beat Gumiela, who was named York’s Player of the Game. The third-year keeper made several second half saves, the best coming in the 47th minute when she robbed Mercier of a sure goal. Mercier fired a hard shot from the top of the box, which Gumiela was able to deflect off the cross bar, keeping the contest tied, 0-0.

The Vikes would get on the board in the 69th minute when Janelle Smith’s header found the back of the net. The Lions began to press near the end of the half, however, Victoria was able to hold off the York attack. Kristy de Vries, Ontario University Athletics North/South Player of the Year, used her speed to beat a defender one-on-one in the 89th minute but had her crossing attempt blocked in the box.

“The girls have done well all season,” said York head coach Paul James. “They battled in every game and have shown great character – which they certainly did today. Unfortunately, Victoria was the better team today.”

The Lions will face the loser of the McGill/Alberta game today at Edmonton’s Clarke Park, while the Vikes take on the winner at Foote Field.