In 2014, the NAIT Ooks women’s soccer team’s lone defeat was a 4-0 loss to Collège François-Xavier-Garneau Elan in the CCAA Championship match. Despite getting on the scoreboard this time, the deficit remained the same a year later.
After another undefeated ACAC campaign, the Ooks fell to the Elans 5-1 in Peterborough, Ontario on Saturday. Getting silver for the second straight year gives the women’s program its fifth national medal. FX Garneau has now won all four meetings in the gold medal game against NAIT and have eight national titles. Kayla Michaels, Kassy Jajczay and Kelsey Mitchell were named to the CCAA Tournament All-Star Team.
After surviving the first two rounds of the four-day championship event at Fleming College, in which NAIT won 6-0 in the Quarters and 2-1 in the Semis, the Ooks couldn’t hold off the onslaught of Garneau’s offence. 2015 Women’s Player of the Year Evelyne Viens had two goals to put the defending champs up 3-0 going into the second half. Jajczay gave the Ooks some life at the 56 minute mark, but an additional two Garneau goals, including one from Marie-Mychèle Métivie (who scored a Texas Hat trick last year against NAIT), put victory out of reach for NAIT.
The journey to the championship tilt began on Tuesday, Nov. 10, with the CCAA Women’s Soccer Awards Banquet, where Michaels was named a CCAA All-Canadian for the second straight season. Kayla was the 2014 CCAA Player of the Year as well as the ACAC Player of the Year in both 2014 and 2015. The following morning saw a 6-0 NAIT victory over MSVU from Halifax. Michaels and Jajczay each scored twice, the latter named Player of the Game.
In the Semi-Final against PACWEST Champion Douglas College, Michaels struck first for the Ooks just short of 30 minutes into the game before the Royals responded just before the end of the half. 65 minutes in, a free kick from Mitchell led to a goal from Jajczay to put the squad up for good. Goal Keeper Kailey Harder was the POG, making several spectacular saves to preserve her team’s lead and berth into the championship match two days later.
While the loss will sting for the ladies, it caps another incredible season for the women’s team. Starting the season opener in September, the Ooks went 14-1, dominating the ACAC for the second straight season. Fifth year players Sabrina Jhamandas, Mitchell, Michaels, Jenna Kleebaum are all gone next year, along with fourth year Wendy Abramenko, but the Ooks return with plenty of talent and heart once again. If the Ooks can make that return to the National Championship, it will take them to Montreal, QC, Nov. 9-12 next year, hosted by the Collège Ahuntsic Indiens.