The Ottawa TFC U21 women’s team successfully defended their Ontario Cup title last month by downing the Woodbridge Strikers 2-0 at the Vaughan Sports Centre near Toronto on July 23.
In doing so they became only the second U21 women’s team to repeat as champions since the inception of U21 division in 2004. The only other team was the Burlington Bayhawks who won in 2012, 2014 and 2015. The U21 title was not contested in 2013.
|Top Row (l to r): Lina Ducharme, Liana Farrell, Lauren Curran, Zoe Lortie, Mackenzie Curran, Victoria Ufholtz and Jordan Lundin. Bottom Row (l to r): Jenea Knight, Katie Brzozowski, Chanelle Chaput, Hailey Jones, Nora Ghie, Veronique Bolduc and Kylie Laframboise.
Both Ottawa TFC and Woodbridge went into the title game having not given up a goal in their two previous games.
Severe weather threatened to postpone the final. In fact, Ottawa TFC were forced to do their warm up as the storm raged around them.
Fortunately for both teams the kickoff was only delayed by 15 minutes. When the action did start both teams appeared to be extremely tight.
Play went on for just 11 minutes when a nearby lighning strike forced a suspension in the action. Ordinarily, a game cannot resume until 30 minutes after the last lightning was seen.
In the case of the Vaughan Sports Centre, they also have an indoor soccer facility and so the decision was made to move the game indoors – parents and fans included – which made for a very intimate (and loud) environment.
When the action resumed after a half hour break, both teams seemd to be more at ease, especially Ottawa TFC.
“I think it helped us calm down,” says veteran Ottawa TFC defender Lauren Curran. “We had a few nerves at the start, but the break helped put them past us and we were able to start playing the way we have been all season.”
Ottawa TFC’s attack was especially strong at the start of the second half and they eventually scored the game’s first goal midway through the half on a strike from Zoe Lortie. It would turn out to be the only goal of the game as Ottawa TFC was able to make the one goal lead stand up until the end, giving them their third clean sheet in as many games.
For several of the girls on the team, it was their third Ontario Cup win in four years. They won the U17 championship in 2017.
Curran, Katie Brzozowski, Jenea Knight, Veronique Bolduc Chanelle Chaput, Nora Ghie and Kylie Laframboise were all on last year’s Ontario Cup winning team. And for many of them, it is the end of the road as they will no longer be age eligible for the U21 team. The only other option is to join the senior women’s team.
Ottawa TFC qualified for the Final Four by first defeating East York 2-0 in a play in game on July 8. They then beat North York FC 2-0 in the semi-finals on July 22 to earn a berh in the final against Woodbridge..