HALIFAX - After falling in their first match, the Algonquin Thunder won three straight games to take the bronze medal at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Women's Soccer National Championship.
It marks the first-ever national medal for Algonquin in women's soccer, and the best finish for an OCAA team since Seneca won bronze in 2014.
BRONZE MEDAL GAME: Algonquin Thunder 3, NAIT Ooks 1
From the moment the first whistle was blown, the game was an intense, speedy and high tempo affair. Algonquin's Melissa Gilligan was the first to break through, taking on multiple defenders and scoring the first goal of the game. NAIT was not fazed, bouncing back quickly with a good scoring opportunity for Kaily Mohn. However the score at half-time was 1-0.
The second half started with much of the first half's energy. NAIT's Mohn was able to tie the match up for NAIT but Algonquin answered only moments later with a strike from Darby Perry, giving the Thunder a 2-1 advantage. The Ooks continued to push but a penalty kick by Maddie Kelly put Algonquin up 3-1 score. That would prove to be the final score, resulting in a bronze medal win for the Algonquin Thunder.
Players of the Game were Perry of the Algonquin Thunder and Mohn of the NAIT Ooks.
BRONZE MEDAL SEMI-FINAL: Algonquin Thunder 2, Douglas Royals 0
Game 10 began with a sluggish start due to the cold weather. However, that was no match for Algonquin as they took over the field. Algonquin's Mallory McQueen shot down the field into the six yard box and a goal resulted off a corner kick. Two minutes later, Melissa Gilligan followed her teammate's lead and scored a second goal.
Two delays occurred, as players were tended to due to a possible injuries. It seemed as though Douglas could not get past Algonquin at all. Suddenly, Douglas' Sneha Sandu took control of the ball and escaped to Algonquin's side of the field. Five minutes were added before regulation. The score at half-time was 2-0.
The action in the second half was immediate. The teams shot out for possession of the field. The second half had much of the same action from the first half. An entertaining effort by Algonquin's Darby Perry against two Douglas defenders erupted the field in cheers. Douglas continued to fight against Algonquin's control throughout. Five minutes of time was added before regulation. No news goals were made before the game ended. The final score was 2-0.
Players of the Game were Sonali Dholliwar of the Algonquin Thunder and Michelle Wilson of the Douglas Royals.
BRONZE MEDAL QUARTER-FINAL: Algonquin Thunder 4, St. Thomas Tommies 0
The game started with high energy with both teams running on field with something to prove. Algonquin took control of the field with three very close attempted goals in the first five minutes of the first half. St. Thomas was resilient defensively and continued to force Algonquin back from their side. However, this was no match for Algonquin's Melissa Gilligan scored the first goal of the game. The score at half-time finished at 1-0.
Algonquin's Darby Perry started the second half strong by scoring their second goal in the first 10 minutes of play. Algonquin continued their domination of the field with Mallory McQueen excellent ball-skill leading the team. The Tommies were able to keep the Thunder from scoring in 15 seconds of an intense scramble save. However, the Thunder continued their persistence to score their third and forth goal of the game by Gilligan and Perry. STU continued to fight on to prevent any new goals. The action continued with one extra minute added before regulation. The game ended with no new goals.
Players of the Game were Phoebe van der Muelen of STU and Shalene Denovan of Algonquin.
GOLD MEDAL QUARTER-FINAL: Champlain Saint-Lambert Cavaliers 1*, Algonquin Thunder 0 (*5-4 PKs)
The game was evenly played throughout the first half with a slight edge from Saint-Lambert. Attempted goals were shut down as both teams were quite strong. Olga Massombo, Adrianna Dmulchalsky and Georgia Illiopoulos lead their teams with a defence-first mentality.
Algonquin's Jenna King started off the second half with a spectacular by-the-fingertips save to keep the score at 0-0. Karima Lemiere and Olivia Mazerello were the power players to watch. The second half was much of the same back and forth with action ramping up by Algonquin's Melissa Gilligan who took on two defenders in an entertaining effort to fight for a goal.
The game went on to penalty kicks with Algonquin and Saint-Lambert neck and neck. Cavaliers captain Marie-Phillipe Beauvais buried the tie-breaking kick with a final score of 5-4.
Players of the Game were Saint Lambert's Noemie Longpre and Algonquin Maddie Kelly.
Champlain Saint-Lambert went on to lose the CCAA gold medal match 1-0 to four-time champions Élans de Garneau.
Source: The University of King's College and Dalhousie University Agricultural Campus with files from OCAA Communications