TORONTO, ONT – Records, playoff battles, national championships, oh my!
To say that this weekend was overwhelming in U SPORTS men’s and women’s soccer would be an understatement. From record-setting goals and points tallies for UBC and uOttawa forwards, a tight playoff race and Canada Soccer’s National Amateur Championships, the past weekend offered a tremendous amount of domestic football and too many takeaways to consider.
So while former U SPORTS players in the CPL take on the CPL playoffs and former Manitoba Bison Desiree Scott captains the Canadian Women’s National Team, 49 Sports looks at three of the biggest stories from the last week in Canadian university soccer.
WSOC: It’s Danielle Steer’s world, and we’re all living in it
Danielle Steer has done it. This past weekend, the UBC fifth-year forward scored a pair of goals, tying the record for all-time points scored in Canada West women’s soccer. Former Thunderbirds Jasmin Dhanda and here share the all-time top spot with 65 points.
As the UBC Thunderbirds continued their best-ever conference season under head coach Jesse Symons, Steer forged the way forward for the UBC program against a fickle Victoria Vikes side. Her goal in the 60th minute came from an assist by common attacking partner Katalin Tolnai before her record-tying goal rippled the netting off a blistering headed cross from the foot of Jaqueline Tyrer.
Although the Thunderbirds picked up their 11th win of the season, their first time achieving that mark under Symons, there were positives from the UVic performance, as the Vikes continued to prove to be a side that is difficult to play against.
However, the takeaway falls in UBC’s favour, as they showed their veteran players could push their way back into a match, despite falling 1-0 behind just five minutes after the halftime break.
“She’s [Steer] a big-time player, and when we’ve needed her to come up big, she’s delivered time after time,” Symons told UBC Athletics. “Her record-tying goal was a vintage Danielle Steer goal, and it was great for her to do it in Victoria in a place where she’s scored so many big goals over the course of her career. All of her teammates respect her so much, and she gives it right back.”
While they’ve only lost once, the Thunderbirds have yet to lock up top-spot in the Canada West pacific division. Still, they could do just that this coming weekend when they visit the second-place TWU Spartans in what is bound to be a precursor of an eventual playoff match in the coming weeks.
Either way, UBC is playoff bound, and Steer has two games left, against TWU and UFV, to ensure the all-time Canada West scoring record is all hers.
WSOC: Cassandra Provost takes over the national lead in goals
While Danielle Steer set a record on the west coast, second-year forward Cassandra Provost exploded this weekend, scoring four goals in uOttawa’s 6-0 rout of the Laurentian Voyageurs. With her tally, she overtook the U SPORTS goalscoring lead, regardless of gender, surpassing UNBC’s Michael Henman.
Now at 18 goals in 11 games, Provost is the all-time goals leader in a single season for the Gee-Gees, as they beat the as they pushed past the Toronto Varsity Blues for the top seed in the OUA East and clinched a home playoff matchup as one of the top three teams in the division.
With seven wins in a row, the Gee-Gees enter a difficult part of their season, taking on the FISU Americas tournament in Mexico and finishing their OUA campaign. Although head coach Steve Johnson can welcome back some former players for the FISU event, the number of games could prove a challenge for a team wanting to win every tournament they compete in.
uOttawa has been nothing short of exceptional this season, conceding just five times and outclassing their competition nearly every time they hit the pitch. Now, with the national goalscoring leader, they eye international championships and an OUA playoff run.
MSOC: RMC wins a game!
For the first time since Sept. 9, 2018, the RMC Paladins have won a soccer game. 0-41-3 over the three years since their last victory, the Paladins kept a clean sheet as they defeated the Trent Excalibur 3-0 in Kingston.
David Seo opened the scoring in the 22nd minute before Henry Gagnon notched his fourth goal of the OUA season to make it 2-0 for the home side before halftime. In the game’s latter stages, Gagnon sent a pass to Charbell Haddad, who made no mistake sliding the ball home for the 3-0 win.
The victory, albeit likely elementary, was a big blow to Trent’s playoff hopes, as they lost out on what could have been a surefire three points and now sit a point below the final playoff spot, held by Queen’s, with two matches to go. Meanwhile, RMC can technically still make the playoffs as they stare down the gauntlet of their final three games, which include a test from the high-flying Ontario Tech Ridgebacks.
However, the season plays out for the Paladins; the win against Trent showed their resilience to bounce back after an embarrassing 15-0 loss against the TMU Bold last weekend. With their fight, the Paladins are a unique and driven group, even though their skills lack behind most other OUA soccer programs.
MSOC: Race for top-2 AUS berths tighter than ever
Since the introduction of the Canadian Premier League in 2019, the Cape Breton Capers have seen several players sign on with domestic top-division professional clubs as head coach Denao Morley pushes his players to the next level.
In 2022, however, the battle for the best men’s soccer program in the AUS is much tighter. Sure, then Capers lead with 17 points, but that’s just two more than the fourth-place SMU Huskies — and they’re certainly still time for that to change.
With first and scond place teams receiving a bye through the first round of the AUS Championship Soccer Playoffs, the season’s final weeks bring added pressure for teams looking to rest players ahead of a potential U SPORTS championship.
This weekend offered an interesting twist in the AUS, as several players dispersed across Canada to play for their club teams in National Amateur Championship competitions.
Notably, the SMU Huskies found a 2-1 win against Moncton this weekend, while Ahmed Ibrahim played in Vaughan, Ontario, for his club side. At the same tie, New Brunswick didn’t send a team to the national tournament, with the Fredericton Picaroons, a largely UNB Reds-based side, opting out of the Canada Soccer event.
UNB beat Mount Allison 3-0 and Acadia 3-2 this week, with the latter featuring a late brace comeback from Luke Rosettani.
As it stands, the Huskies, Reds, Capers and StFX X-Men are in a tight battle for the top two spots, with the ones that reach that point finding a tremendous advantage come championship weekend.
Until then, we will keep looking on as Kenji Adeniyi, Sean Freeman, Samuel Barrowcliffe, among others, continue to tear up scoresheets and defenders in search of a top seed.
CANUCKS AT SCHOOL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:
CW M: Taylor Richardson (UFV Cascades)
CW W: Danielle Steer (UBC Thunderbirds)
OUA M: Henry Gagnon (RMC Paladins)
OUA W: Cassandra Provost (uOttawa Gee-Gees)
RSEQ M: Thierry Cote (Montreal Carabins)
RSEQ W: Mathilde Rousseau (Laval Rouge et Or
AUS M: Luke Rosettani (UNB Reds)
AUS W: Aurora Hughes-Goyette (UNB Reds)