Defending OUA champions advance to quarterfinals

York Lions women’s soccer team, the defending Ontario University Athletics (OUA) champion, continued its remarkable streak of shutout play after knocking off the University of Waterloo Warriors, 1-0, in the first round of the OUA playoffs Wednesday afternoon at York Stadium.

Second-year mid-fielder Stefani Vescio scored her second of the season, while goaltender Aurelea Gumiela made three saves to pick up her Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) 11th shutout. With the win, York extends its undefeated shutout streak to nine straight games. The Lions now advance to the OUA quarterfinals where they will meet the McMaster Marauders on Saturday, Oct. 28.

Left: The Lions advance to the OUA quarterfinals with a 1-0 victory over Waterloo on Wednesday at York Stadium. Photograph by Rita Abiog.

In the opening 10 minutes of play, the best chance to score went to York’s Nicole Burling. Fifth-year striker April Noga pressured Warriors net-minder Catherine Vanderburgh on a clearing attempt and the ball ricocheted off the Lions forward towards the front of the empty Waterloo goal. Burling headed the ball towards the open goal, but Vanderburgh recovered to make the save.

In the 22nd-minute, Waterloo’s Delta Pilote came within inches of opening the scoring for the Warriors when a corner kick skipped across the Lions goalmouth and just out of her reach.

The second half saw the Lions play with more intensity and they gradually took control of the game. Early on, Noga was a constant threat up front for the Lions, pressuring the Waterloo back four and keeper on several occasions. Despite her hard work, the Lions striker was not rewarded with a goal.

Vescio came close to giving the Lions a 1-0 lead in the 74th-minute when she tested Vanderburgh with a left footer from 10 yards out. Eight minutes later though, Vescio would not be denied when her low blast from 25 yards away curled into the left corner of the Waterloo goal.

During the final 10 minutes of play, the Lions played tight defensively, ensuring that their one-goal lead would stand up.

Up next for the Lions is a date with the McMaster Marauders on Saturday afternoon at 1pm. The Marauders limp into the post-season after going 1-2-2 over their final five regular season games. In two meetings between McMaster and York this season, the teams played to scoreless draws. The winner moves on to the OUA Final Four.