After successful seasons by the men’s and women’s NAIT soccer teams, both teams managed to make the national championships. The women played in Halifax while the men were in Nanaimo.
Unfortunately, the women just missed out on a medal, settling for fourth for the second straight year after a 3-1 defeat against Algonquin Thunder. The men lost to the Durham Lords in a rematch of their first round meeting for sixth place.
On Wednesday, Nov. 8, the men kicked off with a 4-0 win over No. 1 seed Durham. Ali Mussi scored a natural hat trick in the win. Minutes before the first half was over that captain Zach Kaiser scored the first goal of the game. The Ooks kept on rolling in the second half. Mussi, chosen player of the game, scored one of the goals on a penalty kick.
For the women, things did not start off so well. The ladies lost 1-0 to the Douglas College Royals. The first half wasn’t that great offensively for either team as it was 0-0 going into the second. Ook Alana Mawhinney made her presence known in the first, though, with strong positioning and quick movements. Early on in the second, Kayleigh Moan and Kassy Jajczay almost scored for the Ooks but couldn’t finish some great chances. Marissa Webb was named NAIT’s player of the game.
With the loss, the women were put into a bronze qualifier. NAIT registered a smashing 9-0 win over the Dalhousie AC Rams, providing more than enough confidence going forward. The
ladies booked a ticket to the bronze semifinal with the win.
The men, however, lost 6-1 to the VIU Mariners. Due to a bad case of food poisoning
for the Ooks, the players were not at their sharpest against the Mariners. Some players were not in the game at all.
On the final day of play, Nov. 11, the hometown VIU Mariners claimed the 2017
CCAA Men’s Soccer National Championship with a narrow 1-0 victory over the Douglas Royals. In the bronze medal game, the Holland Hurricanes downed the Keyano Huskies 1-0.
On the women’s side, the Élans de Garneau won a record fourth consecutive national
title with a 1-0 win over conference rivals, the Champlain Saint-Lambert Cavaliers. It also marks their 10th national title in women’s soccer, more than any other CCAA institution.
The bronze medal women’s game, between NAIT and Algonquin, was an intense, speedy and high tempo affair. Algonquin’s Melissa Gilligan scored the first goal of the
game but NAIT was not fazed, bouncing back quickly with a good scoring opportunity for Kaily Mohn. However the score at half-time remained 1-0.
In the second half, Mohn tied the match up for NAIT but Algonquin answered moments later with a strike from Darby Perry, giving the Thunder a 2-1 advantage. The Ooks continued to push but a penalty kick by Maddie Kelly put Algonquin up 3-1 for the win.
– Matthew Wozniak
Photo from NAIT Athletics