This story is part of a season-long partnership with WSoccer.CA, a social media platform connecting and collecting all there is to know about Canadian women’s soccer. Written by AC Lang, former Guelph Gryphon.
TORONTO, ONT – OUA women’s soccer never disappoints. Without fail, the two divisions produce great storylines, great players, and, most importantly, great soccer. The OUA’s talented players and coaches find themselves at the 30-40% mark of their season already. While it’s still too early to tell who will eventually come out on top, we’ve seen teams and players emerge to stand out above the rest, and you can read all about them here.
TABLE WATCH | Varsity Blues, Mustangs top the standings
We did not necessarily have U of T topping the OUA East division on the bingo card, especially considering they started their season with two games vs No. 4 nationally-ranked Ottawa. Their 1:0 win in Ottawa was even more impressive considering the 4:1 loss the Varsity Blues suffered in their home opener. Following their opening loss, they have pulled off four consecutive wins, scoring 12 goals. Two points below them sit the Gee-Gees in second place, closely followed by Queen’s, who are a game behind (U SPORTS #8).
In the West, we definitely had Western in first on the Bingo card. Westerns’ 5-game winning streak has them at 16 points, four points more than Guelph and six more than York, who are one and two games behind, respectively.
It’s going to be tight at the top of the West, but the #10 ranked Mustangs will once again be setting the pace. Their next test comes in the form of two back-to-back games against Brock on Thursday night at Mustang field and Sunday afternoon in St Catharines.
PROLIFIC GOALSCORERS | MVP Watch
No offence to all the defenders out there, but the best part about soccer is the goals, and a lot of them have been scored already, 79 in the East and 72 in the West, to be specific.
Between elite individual performers and dynamic duos, the OUA’s top players are once again firing from all cylinders. Leading the league in goals scored (6) and shots taken (24) is Ottawa’s Cassandra Provost, which should surprise absolutely no one. Fresh off her sensational PLSQ season, Provost is scoring with every fourth shot this Fall.
Brock’s Sabrina Bisante is right behind, with five goals, which have come clutch in securing the Badger’s 3 wins and fourth place in the standings. Similarly important to TMU is NCAA transfer Ivymae Perez, recently named OUA Athlete of the Week, who has four goals for the Bold.
While those are some impressive individual stats, there are also a few dynamic duos and trios tearing it up. In the West division, Western’s Hannah Vickers and Maddy Skinner have combined for 7 goals and 4 assists, with Natalie Abbate also contributing a goal and 2 assists. In the East, Cecilia Way leads the league in points (4G, 5A), finding her goalscoring form and also showing a keen eye for her teammates. She is supported by a stellar supporting cast in Jenna Matsukubo (1G, 2 A), Mattson Strickler (3G). U of T boasts a veteran attacking trio in graduate students Lindsay Bosveld (3G, 2A) and Karly Hellstrom (2G, 3A) are supplementing the quality of Captain Miranda Badovinac (2G). Last but not least, the Nipissing duo of Jennifer Milligan (3G, 4A) and Cassidy Brooks (3G, 3A) have been huge contributors to their team’s offense.
FEMALE COACHING SPOTLIGHT
Canadian sports coaching has a diversity problem; whether that’s gender, race, or otherwise, most of the coaches are white men.
Of the 19 OUA teams, only four are led by female coaches, representing just about 21%, which is below the national average of 25% across all sports. While there are many systemic factors and barriers excluding women from the profession, the ones who have made it to the OUA serve as role models for all women and deserve to be celebrated.
For example, Audra Sherman, Ontario Tech coach, was recently featured on OUA’s website, in a National Coaches Week Spotlight. She touched on the difficulty of being a woman in coaching and shared the source of inspiration that gets her through those tough times. The other female coach in the East, TMU’s Natalie Bukovec is currently on maternity leave; congratulations from us.
In the West division, Miranda Wiley’s second year in charge is the first traditional OUA season (they played in the Central division in 2021) she’ll encounter. The team has set a goal of being “tough competitors” this season, and their results have improved after a speech by their coach early in the season.
Wiley is joined in the OUA by first-time head coach Carli Tingstad, who moved to St. Catharines from UBCO Heat, where she had seven years of experience as an assistant. After three weeks, the Badgers are holding their own, earning 9 points in 5 games. It’s no surprise that all three teams led by women are holding their own amongst top competition. Make sure to keep an eye on these teams and coaches throughout the rest of the season, because I wouldn’t count any of them out as dark horse picks.
If you’re looking to follow along, make sure to keep an eye on the OUA website and socials. Many games are streamed live through OUA TV (www.oua.yaretv.com).
Next time: Halfway point summary, standout midfielders, Rookie of the Year Watch, and more.
Upcoming Must-Watch Games
Queen’s vs Nipissing, September 25th at 12:00pm
Guelph vs York, September 25th at 1:00pm
Carleton vs Ottawa, September 29th at 7:00pm
McMaster vs Brock, September 30th at 6:00pm
Queen’s vs U of T, October 1st at 1:00pm