By Madison Gummow
The NAIT women’s soccer team will move on to nationals following their second straight ACAC championship on Oct. 27. The men’s team finished the tournament with a bronze medal, bringing an end to their season.
Both the NAIT men’s and women’s soccer teams have had record breaking seasons in 2019. The men finished the regular season undefeated with a 12-0 record and the women finished as the top seed in their division with a record of 11-1.
The women’s team set a new ACAC record in the regular season by scoring 78 goals and allowing only five against.
Both teams entered the provincial tournament as the first seed and received a bye to the semi-finals.
The women defeated their rivals, the Concordia Thunder, in a 3-2 victory securing the gold medal.
“We played great today. The girls did all of the basics well,” said head coach Carole Holt.
“We also executed on our set-pieces. To get all three goals on set-pieces speaks volumes.”
The men’s team suffered their first loss of the season in the semifinals to Lethbridge College. NAIT’s first goal came in the final moments of the second half from Matt Zima, but there wasn’t enough time for the team to catch up. They lost 2-1.
The men were able to shake off the loss and win bronze against SAIT. The game was action-packed with numerous pushing and shoving altercations as well as six goals in total. NAIT came out on top winning 4-2.
“The key to scoring goals is having a good team behind me. I can’t do everything alone,” says forward Matt Zima, who leads the ACAC with 20 goals.
“When I’m in front of the net don’t think about missing. I always think that the ball will go in the net for a goal.”
Head coach Charles O’ Toole said the team came out positive and ready to play.
“The boys responded well to a disappointing result yesterday,” says O’Toole.
Although the men didn’t end their season with a gold medal, both the mens and women’s teams had incredible seasons.
The Ooks soccer women’s team will compete in the CCAA, hosted in Edmonton November 6-9.