Gryphon soccer women take aim at OUA gold
OSHAWA – The Guelph Gryphons are to go for gold Sunday at the OUA women’s soccer championship tournament at Oshawa’s Terry Kelly Stadium.
The Gryphs gained their spot in the OUA championship game by edging the UOIT Ridgebacks, the defending OUA champions, 3-2 in penalty kicks in Saturday’s semifinals. It was UOIT’s first loss in OUA play this season.
Tori Hinchliffe scored twice for the Gryphs in regulation time as they came back twice for a 2-2 deadlock after 90 minutes. The Guelph native also scored the winning goal that put the Gryphs into the OUA final and the U Sports national championship tournament for the first time in 18 years.
Regulation time was scoreless except for a seven-minute span midway through the second half.
UOIT opened the scoring in the 73rd minute on a goal by Katherine Koehler-Grassau.
Hinchliffe pulled the Gryphs even two and a half minutes later.
UOIT went ahead again four minutes later as Taijah Henderson connected for the goal, assisted by Sarah Harvey.
It took Hinchliffe 31 seconds to square the score again with the goal that eventually led to 30 minutes of scoreless overtime and then penalty kicks.
Goalkeeper Libby Brenneman was again a standout for the Gryphs as she made 11 saves in the game while her counterpart in the UOIT net, Victoria Savage, made six.
Hinchliffe’s goal in the fifth round of penalty kicks touched off a wild celebration for the Gryphons who will be after their first ever OUA title in women’s soccer Sunday.
The Gryphs had finished second in the West Division at 10-4-2 then ousted the third-place Laurier Golden Hawks in the quarter-finals.
UOIT finished first in the East at 14-0-2.
The Gryphs will face another first-place team, the Western Mustangs, in an all-West Division final Sunday at 4 p.m. at Oshawa.
The Mustangs, who finished atop the West Division with a 14-1-1 record, defeated the Queen’s Gaels (2nd in the East at 12-3-1) 1-0 in overtime in Saturday’s other semifinal.
UOIT and Queen’s are to play in the bronze-medal game Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Gryphs and Western split their regular-season matches, the Gryphs winning 1-0 at London Aug. 27 and the Mustangs prevailing 5-2 at the Gryphon Soccer Complex Oct. 21.
- Guelph Sports Journal