York loads up on hardware at CIS soccer awards

York University has become the first school in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) history to sweep the coach of the year and rookie of the year awards in men’s and women’s soccer.

The York Lions’ Paul James and York student Stefania Morra won the 2007 women’s head coach and rookie awards. The awards were presented Wednesday evening at a celebration in Cape Breton, NS. Lions’ head coach Carmine Isacco and rookie Moreno Alberti picked up the same men’s team awards in Vancouver. Both Lions teams are competing in the CIS national championships in the respective cities.

Right: Stefania Morra

Morra was rewarded for an outstanding debut season in which she led the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) with 19 goals, becoming the first player in York history to earn CIS Rookie of the Year honors. The 5-foot-5-inch player recorded 11 goals in her first six regular season games as a Lion.

"I am proud of the award and what I’ve accomplished so far," Morra said, "but there is still room for me to improve and we still have work to do this weekend."

James led York to a 13-1 regular season record and the team’s second championship in the past three years. "We really had one of those special seasons that every team dreams of, and it’s a testament to the team chemistry, work ethic, and character that has been building over the past three years that we are currently enjoying such success," said James.

Left: Paul James

Isacco, who came to York this season after two years which included trips to the nationals at the University of Toronto, guided the Lions to a program-first No. 1 ranking in the CIS for two weeks earlier this season. York went on to win the OUA title for the first time since 1977.

"It’s very unexpected," Isacco said. "It’s nice to know a young coach earns respect from his peers."

Alberti caught fire early in his rookie campaign, tying for third in the CIS with 10 goals. He had four multi-goal games, including one hat trick. The business student, who attended an open tryout for Major League Soccer’s Toronto FC late last year, came to York from the Sons of Italy club program in Winnipeg, Man., where he competed in four national championships. Alberti transferred to York from the University of Manitoba, but did not play soccer for the Bisons.

Right: Moreno Alberti

"Moreno has adapted really well to the university game," Isacco said. "He has found the back of the net when we have needed it."

Morra and Lions goalie Aurelea Gumiela also received first-team all-Canadian honours on Thursday night. Alberti was named a second-team all-Canadian. Lions midfielder Francesco Bruno was given a first-team all-Canadian berth.

Story submitted to YFile by Mike Koreen, sport & recreation information officer in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health.