It’s gold again for York’s women’s soccer Lions

Above: Players and coaches of the York Lions women’s soccer team celebrate their shootout victory. Photo by Michael P. Hall.

The York University women’s soccer Lions are provincial gold medal champions again after dropping the Queen’s University Gaels in a thrilling penalty-kick finale to what became a goalkeeping showcase Sunday at York Stadium. It is the team’s third Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship in five years.

The Gaels picked up silver medals for their effort. Both teams will go on to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championships Nov. 12 to 15 at the University of Toronto.

It was the second shootout finish of the Final Four Championship’s last day, as the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees captured the bronze earlier in the day against the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks.

York all-star goalkeeper Sarah Fiorini was stellar in shutting out the Gaels and stopping two of four penalty kicks. Not to be outshone, Elena Corry of Queen’s was equally spectacular at the other end, but the Lions’ shooters proved too slick as they fired home all four shots taken in the penalty kick session.

Above: Close-up of the victorious Lions. Photo by Alex Pylyshyn.

Ami Otaki, Camille Pereira, Nicole Markowitz and Samantha Gauthier had shootout goals for the Lions.

The Gaels’ Summer Rybicki and Brienna Shaw beat Fiorini, but Angela Sullivan and Chantal McFetridge were denied.

Both teams traded chances all afternoon, but Fiorini and Corry were the stars of the game. Fiorini plucked corner kicks out of the air with ease, while Corry dove on rebounds and brought the Lions to the edge.

York’s Alicia Donaldson played some stingy defence against a Gaels team intent on keeping possession of the ball.

Otaki had some of the best chances to put the Lions ahead, but the ball often went too high, and the game remained knotted until the very end.

The game got rougher as it wore on. Corry collided with a York player early in the second overtime, but she shook it off to stay strong in net.

Gauthier banged heads with the Gaels’ Victoria Gonzalez-Milroy in the middle of the second frame. Gauthier appeared to be seeing stars for the next few minutes, but Gonzalez-Milroy got the worst of the collision. She had to be substituted out.

Rybicki took a dangerous head shot at Otaki in an attempt to get the star York player off her game late in the overtime. Rybicki leaped behind Otaki with an incoming pass high in the air and put an arm into the back of Otaki’s head. There was no card on the play.

Fiorini made a few critical stops late in regulation time. Queen’s went looking to end things in the last few minutes, but Fiorini simply would not allow it as she willed her team into overtime.

the Lions’ Alicia Brown made a clutch tackle in the penalty box to stop what seemed to be a sure goal in the 57th minute.

Queen’s Renee MacLellan and Jennifer Hutchinson were a dangerous duo in the late minutes of overtime. Their passing work forced Fiorini to make some desperate saves.

The Lions came into the game off a 1-0 win over the Gee-Gees, while the Gaels advanced after defeating the Laurier’s Golden Hawks, 3-2, in extra time on Saturday.

Submitted to YFile by Josh Elliott, sport information assistant in Sport York