By Alex Quevillon, Steven Smeall
The Algonquin women’s soccer team is heading to Nationals.
With a pair of wins at Sheridan College, the Thunder punch their ticket to B.C. to take on the best in the country.
“It’s definitely a good feeling,” said head coach Dom Oliveri. “Anytime you can win a championship and compete for a national title, it’s good for your program.”
Algonquin won Ontario Colleges Athletic Association team of the week, while a number of players brought home individual OCAA hardware as well.
Defender Jenna Baldree won player of the year, and was joined by midfielder Kelly Avalos as league all-stars. Jenna was also named an All-Canadian. Defender Breanna Humphreys was named OCAA player of the week.
The Thunder took on Humber College in the provincial semi-finals. Humber had placed first in the league four time in the past five years.
Two of those provincial championship wins came at the expense of Algonquin College, who placed second behind them in both cases.
This time, Algonquin would be looking to get some revenge.
From the very start of the matchup, these two teams were shown to be quite the even matchup. Humber finished first place in the West Division while the Thunder were second in the East Division.
While throughout the regular season, Algonquin frequently had high-scoring games, they struggled to show the same powerful offense in this game.
Luckily for them, their defence was fantastic as well throughout the match. The Thunder received one yellow card in the match, but kept their cool throughout the rest of the game.
Kwanzaa Robest-Prescod gave the Thunder the 1-0 lead in the game, and that would be enough for Algonquin to hold on to get the win.
The Thunder dethroned the three consecutive year provincial champions and secured their spot in the tournament’s finals.
A day later, Algonquin took to the field to compete for their first OCAA title in a decade.
Having allowed their first goal against since Sept. 27, the Thunder’s electrifying offence had to take center stage.
After drawing two yellow cards from Seneca, Jaymie Baldree and Ginny Cass, the team’s top two goalscorers throughout the season, tallied for Algonquin.
Keeper Jennifer Kelly held down the fort to preserve a 2-1 win and an Ontario championship.
“What got us through Provincials was not any one individual,” said Oliveri. “The whole team effort is what got us through the weekend.”
The last time Algonquin won an Ontario title also required a semi-final victory over Humber. They then went on to beat Durham for the 2002-03 championship.
Nationally, that year’s edition of the Thunder went to Dawson College, only to lose in the Bronze Medal Game to Southern Alberta.
This year’s Thunder head to Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey.
“We draw the defending national champion in our first game,” said Oliveri about playing on the national stage. “We just need to prepare and we play the way we can.”
They take on Cegep Ahuntsic in their first game on Wednesday, Nov. 6.