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Watson named Rookie of the Year; Robinson an all-star

By Ontario University Athletics (OUA)

BURLINGTON, Ont. – Ontario University Athletics (OUA) is pleased to announce the 2017 OUA Women’s Soccer major award winners and All-Stars.

Most Valuable Player (East Division) – Laura Callender, Queen’s

In what was the final chapter of her Queen’s career, Gaels captain Laura Callender (Ottawa, Ont.) has earned MVP (East Division) honours. It was a standout season for the fifth-year player, who also earns the First-Team All-Star nod, something that was hard earned after a change in position this season.

Despite being a central midfielder for most of her Queen’s career, Callender was moved up to striker this season in a move that paid clear dividends for the Gaels, who notched 49 goals collectively. Callender topped her squad – and the entire OUA – with 13 goals in 16 games during the regular season as a go-to target for Queen’s up front.

For Callender, who also represented Team Canada at the 2017 Summer Universiade in Tapei City, Chinese Tapei, this is the first time in her five seasons with the school that she receives All-Star recognition, and she will be joined by teammates Lidia Bradau (First-Team All-Star) from Woodbridge, Ont. and Jenny Wolever (Second-Team All-Star) from Toronto, Ont.

Most Valuable Player (West Division) – Nicole Lyon, Laurier

Callender’s Most Valuable Player counterpart in the West Division is one from familiar territory when it comes to top player accolades. Laurier’s Nicole Lyon (Kitchener, Ont.) has earned MVP honours, and in doing so, becomes the fifth Golden Hawks MVP in the last eight years.

Lyon, who has strung together an impressive career with the Hawks, has added to her already impressive resume this season. The midfielder tallied four goals on the year, giving her 30 for her career, to go along with three assists. Her efforts go well beyond the scoresheet; however, as the fourth-year has been a key cog both offensively and defensively for Laurier all season. Lyon’s efforts helped the Hawks finish third in the West Division this season with 25 points.

Joining the West Division MVP as First-Team All-Stars, meanwhile, are teammates Maxine Murchie (Kitchener, Ont.), Pauline McCordic (North Vancouver, B.C.), and Ellie Reid (Richmond, B.C.).

Coach of the Year (East) – Peyvand Mossavat, UOIT

Coming off of an OUA gold medal season, the UOIT Ridgebacks followed it up with an undefeated season (14-0-2). It stands to reason, therefore, that the 2016 Coach of the Year (East) – Peyvand Mossavat – earns the award for a second consecutive year, and her fifth total.

Mossavat has been a key cog in UOIT’s successful run, and this year marks the first in which the school is hosting the OUA Final Four. The resume would suggest nothing less, however, as Mossavat, who also served as head coach for Team Canada at the FISU Games (2015, 2017), earned U SPORTS Coach of the Year honours in 2014 and 2016, and will be looking to lead the Ridgebacks to continued success on both the provincial and national stage.

A coach, however, cannot be as effective without a team that buys in, and the Ridgebacks proved to have one of the most talented teams across Canada. Some of the standouts from the squad are Katherine Koehler-Grassau (Greely, Ont.) and Taijah Henderson (Ajax, Ont.), who both earned OUA First-Team All-Star nods this year, as well as Alexis Kirton (Pickering, Ont.), who has made the Second-Team All-Star list.

Coach of the Year (West) – Martin Painter, Western

Similar to the East, the West Division’s coach of the year also comes from the first place squad. After guiding the Western Mustangs to a nearly undefeated record in 2017, Martin Painter has earned Coach of the Year (West) honours for his efforts. Painter was tasked with leading a young Mustangs team with only two fifth-year players, but still managed to come away with just a single loss on the season and an impressive goal differential of +31.

Painter, who is a now a two-time OUA Coach of the Year after taking home the honours back in 2013), led the Mustangs on a season-ending unbeaten streak of 14 games, which has since been extended to 15 after the team’s quarterfinal win, and something he’ll look to continue in the team’s Final Four presence this weekend.

Rookie of the Year (West) – Giulia Geraci, Western

As mentioned, Painter’s Mustangs were a young squad this year, but one youngster in particular shone brightly in her first season of OUA action. The Rookie of the Year (West) goes to Giulia Geraci (Bradford, Ont.), after her impressive regular season saw her tie for the team lead in goals with 11.

Geraci was a key presence in the Western midfield, which helped her to twice earn Mustangs Athlete of the Week honour, which has also continued into the postseason. Not shying away from the province’s biggest stage, Geraci netted a pair of goals in the team’s quarterfinal win against Waterloo, and will surely be a big factor in the team’s quest for an OUA championship.

In addition to her Rookie of the Year honours, Geraci also picks up a Second-Team All-Star nod along with teammate Sabrina De Nard (London, Ont.). Not to be outdone, however, the Mustangs also boast a trio of First-Team All-Stars, as Jenna White (Winnipeg, Man.), Grace Grafham (Burlington, Ont.), and Julia Crnjac (Mississauga, Ont.) all cracked the First-Team roster.

Rookie of the Year (East) – Victoria Watson, Ryerson

Another first-year star who stood out this season is Ryerson Rams’ Victoria Watson (Scarborough, Ont.), who is awarded the Rookie of the Year Award (East). Watson is the first Rams player to earn a major OUA award in 10 years, and represents the third Ryerson player all-time to come away with Rookie of the Year honours.

Watson ranked in the top-ten in OUA scoring during the regular season with nine goals, helping the Rams to a 7-6-3 record – a new team record for most wins in a season – and sending them back to the playoffs after a six-year absence. And despite bowing out in the first round, Watson was able to tally the lone Ryerson goal in that game.

Also being recognized from Ryerson is Savahnna Robinson (Scarborough, Ont.), who earned a spot on the Second-Team All-Stars.

Community Service Award (East) – Hannah Landry, Ottawa

For her impressive resume both on and off the pitch, the Community Service Award (East Division) goes to uOttawa’s Hannah Landry (Elmsdale, N.S.). The Gee-Gees’ senior has become increasingly involved in the advancement of mental health programs at the University, and along with her athletic endeavors (scoring two goals and one assist in her seven starts on defence this season), also maintains outstanding academic results.

Landry is the Co-President of the Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative, leading a successful program to introduce a mental health coordinator for Sport Services. She also serves on the board of for the uOttawa Standing Committee on Student Well Being and acts as VP Communications for the University of Ottawa Mental Health Awareness Society, along with additional volunteer involvement as well.

Beyond Landry’s recognition, a collection of additional Gee-Gees players are being recognized as All-Stars, with Kayla DaCosta-Pacheco (Gatineau, Que.), Cooper Lee (Toronto, Ont.), Katherine Bearne (Halifax, N.S.), and Miranda Smith (Ottawa, Ont.) on the First-Team, as well as Margot Shore (Ottawa, Ont.) and Katerin Delev (Chelsea, Ont.) on the Second-Team.

Community Service Award (West) – Sara Van Den Akker, Guelph

Also playing a key part in the community is Guelph’s Sara Van Den Akker (Welland, Ont.), and for her efforts, she receives the Community Service Award (West).

Similar to Landry, Van Den Akker is involved with work surrounding mental health, including serving as an executive member of a mental health awareness group on campus. Van Den Akker also branches out in her volunteer work with the St. Joseph’s Outreach Program, working with individuals who have cognitive impairments; Wellsprings, where she takes part in activities with people who are struggling with cancer; and the Guelph Humane Society, helping to walk, socialize, and clean lodging for the animals.

As much as Van Den Akker shines off the field, she also shines on it, as do several of her Gryphons teammates. Earning All-Star recognition this year for Guelph are Libby Brenneman (Baden, Ont.) and Nicole-Brown-Shaw (Dundas, Ont.), who are both First-Team All-Stars), and Andrea Cimino (London, Ont.) who is a Second-Team All-Star.

The complete list of major award winners and All-Stars is as follows:

Most Valuable Player (East) – Laura Callender, Queen’s
Most Valuable Player (West) – Nicole Lyon, Laurier
Coach of the Year (East) – Peyvand Mossavat, UOIT
Coach of the Year (West) – Martin Painter, Western
Rookie of the Year (East) – Victoria Watson, Ryerson
Rookie of the Year (West) – Giulia Geraci, Western
Community Service Award (East) – Hannah Landry, Ottawa
Community Service Award (West) – Sarah Van Den Akker, Guelph

First Team All-Stars (East)

Caitlin McNamara, Laurentian, Goalie
Katherine Koehler-Grassau, UOIT, Defence
Kayla DaCosta-Pacheco, Ottawa, Defence
Cooper Lee, Ottawa, Defence
Allison Pilon, Laurentian, Defence
Katherine Bearne, Ottawa, Midfielder
Lidia Bradau, Queen’s, Midfielder
Miranda Smith, Ottawa, Midfielder
Taijah Henderson, UOIT, Striker
Laura Callender, Queen’s, Striker

Second Team All-Stars (East)

Margot Shore, Ottawa, Goalie
Meat Cherent, Carleton, Defence
Alexis Kirton, UOIT, Defence
Savahnna Robinson, Ryerson, Defence
Delaney Borsato, Nipissing, Defence
Katerin Delev, Ottawa, Midfielder
Chelsea Cheung, Toronto, Midfielder
Emily Copeland, Carleton, Midfielder
Catherina Rocca, Laurentian, Midfielder
Jenny Wolever, Queen’s, Striker
Andrea Young, Nipissing, Striker

First Team All-Stars (West)

Libby Brenneman, Guelph, Goalie
Jenna White, Western, Defence
Tomika McIntosh, York, Defence
Ellie Reid, Laurier, Defence
Nicole Brown-Shaw, Guelph, Defence
Grace Grafham, Western, Midfielder
Maxine Murchie, Laurier, Midfielder
Jessie Faber, McMaster, Midfielder
Pauline McCordic, Laurier, Midfielder
Nicole Lyon, Laurier, Striker
Julia Crnjac, Western, Striker

Second Team All-Stars (West)

Marilena Spagnolo, Brock, Goalie
Mary Craig, McMaster, Defence
Andrea Cimino, Guelph, Defence
Keely Baggio, Windsor, Defence
Laura Kay, Waterloo, Defence
Giulia Geraci, Western, Midfielder
Christina Morelli, York, Midfielder
Cassidy Davis, McMaster, Midfielder
Hannah Rempel, Waterloo, Midfielder
Maila Carboni, McMaster, Striker
Sabrina Denard, Western, Striker


Mattamy Athletic Centre



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