Gryphon soccer women claim their first OUA banner

OSHAWA – The Guelph Gryphons lived by penalty kicks on the weekend as they knocked off the first-place finishers in both the East and West Division to claim their first ever OUA women’s soccer championship.

The Gryphs won the title in penalty kicks Sunday as they edged the Western Mustangs 2-1 at Terry Kelly Stadium in the Oshawa Civic sports complex.

Western had finished first in the West with a 14-1-1 record while the Gryphs were second at 10-4-2. The Gryphs and Western had also split their regular-season meetings with Guelph winning 1-0 at Western Aug. 27 in the first weekend of the season and Western prevailing 5-2 at the Gryphon Soccer Complex Oct. 21 in the final weekend of the regular season.

The Gryphs came from behind to win the OUA gold-medal game as Julia Crnjac scored for Western in the 35th minute. Guelph pulled even in the 53rd minute on a goal by Hayley Howes as the Gryphs pressed in the second half, outshooting the Mustangs 7-1.

After 30 minutes of overtime didn’t break the deadlock, goalkeepers Libby Brenneman of the Gryphs and Megan Girardi of Western were put on the spot in the shootout. Brenneman had made five saves before the shootout and Girardi had made seven.

As was the case a day earlier when the Gryphs ousted the defending champion OUIT Ridgebacks, first in the East at 14-0-2, Guelph native Tori Hinchliffe kicked home the winner in penalty kicks.

Brenneman stopped the first two shots she faced in the shootout before Crnjac put a shot off a post. Kaylin Twardowski and Allison Clouse had scored on two of Guelph’s first three shots, Hinchliffe’s goal set off the on-field celebration as he goal gave Guelph the title.

The Gryphs and Mustangs both advance to this week’s U Sports national championship tournament at Winnipeg. They join the Laval Rouge et Or and Montreal Carabins from the Quebec conference, Cape Breton Capers from the Atlantic conference and Victoria Vikes, Trinity Western Spartans and Manitoba Bisons from the host Canada West conference.

The Gryphs are to play Montreal in Thursday’s quarter-finals at 4 p.m. In the other matches, Western is to battle Laval at 11 a.m., Cape Breton is to play Victoria at 1:30 p.m. and Trinity Western is to take on Manitoba at 7 p.m.

Quarter-final winners advance to Saturday’s semifinals while the losers drop into Friday’s consolation semifinals.

The Gryphs will play the team from the Trinity Western-Manitoba match that does the same as them either Friday or Saturday.

Sunday’s schedule starts with the consolation final at 11 a.m. while the bronze-medal match is slated for 1:30 p.m. and the gold-medal game is to go at 4 p.m.

Weather will not force the postponement of any games at the tournament. Games in the tournament will be played outside at the Ralph Cantafio Soccer Complex if weather permits. If the weather doesn’t cooperate and it takes away the option of playing outdoors, games will then be played at the Subway Indoor Soccer Complex on the host University of Manitoba campus.

  • Guelph Sports Journal