Banner Season: Varsity Blues take down reigning champion Lions to set up final with Guelph

Photo by Gar FitzGerald
Photo by Gar FitzGerald

Guelph, Ont. (via Guelph Gryphons) – A new champion will be crowned tomorrow, as the two-time defending champs, the York Lions, were dealt a semifinal loss on Saturday. Handing them the defeat was the second-seeded Toronto Varsity Blues, who advance to Sunday’s gold medal game against the host and top-seeded Guelph Gryphons.

No. 3 York 1 vs. No. 2 Toronto 2

It was a tight match between the #2 Varsity Blues and the #3 York Lions to open up the 2nd day of the OUA Field Hockey Championship. Ultimately, it was the Varsity Blues who were able to walk away with the win and land a spot in the Gold medal game happening on Sunday.

The game started off with strong offensive pressure by the Varsity Blues, they were putting up a fight and wanted to win. The York Lions didn’t seem phased by the Varsity Blues attack and opened up the scoring in the 7th minute with a goal by forward Lexi Hannah. The Varsity Blues continued to play their game and were rewarded with a goal by Hilary Ziraldo in the 15th minute. Going into the 2nd period, the game was tied at 1-1, and it was the Varsity Blues who found the back of the net first with a goal from #5 Emily Ziraldo.

The two-time defending OUA Champions (York Lions) were not going down without a fight and continued to look for the equalizer, but with only 3 shots on goal for the entire match, they couldn’t get on the scoreboard again.

With a green card given to York at the 53:10 minute mark, the Lions had an obstacle in their way with being down 1 player for 2 minutes and needing to score. The Varsity Blues kept up the intensity and their lead during the remaining minutes of the game, and were able to hold off the York Lions.

“I thought that we dominated the first two periods of play. In the third period the Lions came back and we were under a lot of pressure but we just played our game, kept possession of the ball and that led us to a win.” said Varsity Blues Head Coach.

The Varsity Blues will advance to the gold medal game to compete against the host of the tournament, the Guelph Gryphons. The gold medal game will be held at Varsity Field on Sunday at 3pm.

No. 5 Waterloo Warriors 2 vs. No. 1 Guelph Gryphons 7

The Gryphons were not the first team to get on the scoreboard, but they quickly responded and hustled hard to take the lead back from the Waterloo Warriors and maintain it for the remainder of the game, resulting in a 7-2 win.

The Warriors picked up the first goal of the game, scoring early in the 2nd minute of play with a powerful shot by Miranda Hunter.

Guelph immediately picked up the intensity, and looked for the equalizer. It was Alex Corrado that got the Gryphons their first goal of the game, in the 9th minute. The Gryphons took the lead in the 17th minute with a beauty of a goal scored by Bailey Mitchell. This was the just the beginning of a dominate 2nd period for the Gryphons, as the next 2 goals came within 5 minutes from Kayla Magarelli and Katherine MacMillan to put Guelph ahead 4-1 in the first half.

Continuing their momentum in to the second half, the Gryphons added another 3 goals to the scoreboard. MacMillian and Margarelli each picked up their 2nd of the game scoring in the 38th and 47th minute, respectively. Waterloo was able to pick up a late goal in the 4th period, scored by Hannah Cook, in attempt to minimize the Gryphon lead.

#4 Aidan Pattison put the Gryphons on the board in the 55th minute, with the final score being 7-2 in favour of the Gryphons.  

“The Warriors goal lit our fire a bit and we knew that we had to get it back. We knew that if we played our game, that we could eventually take the win. Not getting that first goal of the game definitely fuelled us for the rest of the game and we got down to business.” said OUA MVP MacMillan after the game.

The Guelph Gryphons will play the Varsity Blues in the OUA Field Hockey Championship Finals at 3pm on Sunday. Catch the action live at oua.tv.

No. 8 McMaster 0 vs. No 4 Queen’s 6

The Queen’s Gaels started the game full speed ahead and didn’t stop with the intensity until the final whistle blew. Making sure to get on the scoreboard and maintain possession, the Gael’s scored 4 goals in 60 minutes of play to win 4-0 over the Western Mustangs.

Queen’s opened the scoring in the 6th minute as Abby Reaton converted on the penalty corner, taking a 1-0 lead for the Gaels. The ball continued to stay in the McMaster end for most of the first period, the Gaels not allowing the Marauders to break out of their zone. Queen’s second goal of the game came in at the 22nd minute, with Brooke Ritchie slamming the ball past the Marauder’s goaltender.

The Queen’s players really found their stride in the 2nd half, with 4 out of 5 shots on goal finding their way to the back of the net. Grimes, Ritter and Corrigan each scored a goal, with Ritchie scoring her 2nd of the game in the 4th period.

In the 3rd period, a McMaster player broke out of the play and had a breakaway opportunity, but the Gaels were able to sprint back and put a stop to the play. Gaels goaltender, Claudia Aparacio didn’t see much action, as there were no shots on the Queen’s net throughout the entire game.

“We are really happy with how the game went, we are glad that we maintained lots of possession and generated a lot of attack to put the ball in the net – our girls played great,” said Queen’s co-head coach, Sara Ali.

The Marauders will battle the Mustangs at 9am on Sunday morning and the Queen’s Gaels will follow when they play McGill at 11am.  

No. 7 McGill 3 vs. No. 6 Western 1

Although the Western Mustangs took an early lead, it was anyone’s game with the ball going back and forth during the first half. Thanks to a trio of goals scored in the 3rd period, the McGill team was victorious with a 3-1 win over Western.

The Mustangs struck first and got an early lead of 1-0 with a goal scored by #9 Cameron Hahn. A key factor for both teams in the 2nd period was playing smart, and using short passes. There was impressive ball movement by both McGill and Western, and many scoring opportunities for both teams before the half.

McGill was able to break a part the Western defence in the second half and scored 3 goals, all within 10 minutes of each other. The fist goal came in the 37th minute from Grace Lang, and after this equalizer goal, McGill picked up the momentum. Just 5 minutes later, Constanza Martinez-R got on the scoresheet, and her teammate Moyandi Udugama followed with a goal in the 46th minute.

Western had many chances to look at trimming the McGill lead in the 4th period, but were unable to convert on any of the 4 penalty corners in the last 9 minutes of play. Ultimately the McGill team had incredible perseverance through the second half that led them to claiming the 3-1 win over Western.

I actually forgot that we were down at the start of the game, because we believed so much that we could win this game, so we just kept going. It was about maintaining the nerves, we started to steady the ship in the 2nd half and it went well from there,” said McGill Head Coach Vimal Patel and Co-Head Coach Hidde Sikkes.

McGill will battle for 5th place in the OUA Field Hockey Championship on Sunday morning when they play the Queen’s Gaels at 11am. Western and McMaster will battle for 7th place on Sunday in the 9am timeslot.

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