TORONTO, ONT – The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees are FISU Americas Champions in 2022.
On Sunday, the Gee-Gees defeated Brazil’s Universidade Paulista 2-1 in the latest chapter of one of the most unlikely rivalries, crowning them the gold medalists of the FISU Americas Games Merida 2022.
With the win, they set themselves up nicely for the OUA Playoffs, FISU World Cup, and potential U SPORTS Championships.
As the Gee-Gees took to yet another rugged, waterlogged, and certainly not flat pitch in Merida, Yucatan in Mexico, expectations were on a victory. Yet, it could have been a lofty goal after a draw in the group stage and the final being the fifth game in a short period for a small squad.
Ottawa even played two games with thin squads on Sunday, as a Canadian-based group earned a point with a 0-0 draw against RMC, their final OUA regular season match.
In Mexico, it didn’t take long for the Gee-Gees to settle into the game’s rhythm, with Kayla Kyle stepping in to halt Paulista’s attack six minutes in, only for the Canadian representatives to open the scoring less than 10 minutes later.
Katie Brzozowski and Nibo Dlamini linked up in midfield before feeding a steaking Soumaya Bouak, who made no mistake smoothly finishing Ottawa’s first chance of the evening past the Paulista goalkeeper.
After heading into halftime with the lead, the Gee-Gees kept control of the game in the opening moments of the second half and, through a well-worked team play, added a second goal as Olivia Allen poked a shot past the goalkeeper in the 57th minute.
The two-goal lead didn’t last long, as Paulista picked up their pace in the wake and grabbed a goal back in the 63rd. Yet, a wide-piercing pass and a mistimed slide from Adriane Devlin allowed a cross from the wing to be finished on a first-touch volley, leaving Ottawa goalkeeper Cassidy Joslin flat-footed to watch the ball hit the netting.
Joslin was sharp throughout the night, though, coming up with significant saves in the last 10 minutes, including scrambling and diving stops in the final moments to keep Ottawa’s lead intact and seal the FISU Americas title for the Canadians.
With the FISU gold medals in their back pockets, the Gee-Gees’ first team returns to Canada with an OUA and U SPORTS title on their minds. They’ve clinched a bye past the first round of the playoffs, giving them six days off before opening their OUA playoffs with a match against one of Toronto, Carleton, or Nipissing.
If the Gee-Gees advance to the OUA final, they will travel to Quebec City for the 2022 U SPORTS Women’s Soccer Championships. However, the season won’t end, as they look ahead to defending their FISU World Cup title in January in China.