Banner Season: Gryphons win OUA gold in front of home crowd after shutout of Varsity Blues

Photo by Gar FitzGerald
Photo by Gar FitzGerald

Guelph, Ont. (via Guelph Gryphons) - It might have been cold at Varsity Field, but OUA MVP Katherine MacMillan was red hot in Sunday’s OUA Championship game. Scoring the only goal of the match, MacMillan sent her team to victory with a 1-0 win over the Toronto Varsity Blues. 

Having home field advantage, the Gryphons seemed calm and collected in the first few minutes of play. This was soon disrupted after they took a few fouls towards the end of the first period, giving the Varsity Blues two penalty corners. With a strong defensive core, the Gryphons were able to stop the Varsity Blues from getting on the scoreboard. 

“We didn’t do so well in the first half, they (Toronto Varsity Blues) were all over us and beat us to every 50/50 ball. I think there was some nerves, and it took a long time for us to shake them off.“ said Gryphons head coach Michelle Turley. 

It was a scoreless first half, with majority of the ball possession in favour of the Varsity Blues. A stellar performance by Gryphon goalie #20 Amanda Hodgert stopped all 5 shots on goal to keep her teams dream alive of winning the Gold. 

The goal that won the game occurred in the 41st minute from OUA MVP Katherine MacMillan. With a battle in front of the net, MacMillan took control of the ball, and with a reverse backhand shot it went high into the Varsity Blues net. 

“It happened really quickly, as there was a lot of movement in front of the net. The ball squeaked over to me, and I was able to hit it on the reverse and see it go in, which was an amazing feeling.” said Katherine MacMillan, who scored the only goal of the game.

Just minutes away from the gold medal being in the hands of the Gryphons, they continued to play smart and put the pressure on the Varsity Blues. 

With 1:45 remaining in regulation, #19 Anna Costanzo from the Varsity Blues was given a yellow card, forcing her to sit out for the rest of the game. Less than a minute later, Gryphon player #5 MacKenzie Janzen took a green card, so each team only had 9 players for the remaining minute of play. It was quite a dramatic finish, with the Gryphons ultimately claiming a 1-0 victory over the Varsity Blues. 

“This gold medal was a long time coming, having won silver medals for the last four years in a row at the OUA Championships, we wanted the gold today. It was a phenomenal game, and in the second half we made it happen,” added Turley.

The Gryphons will head to Victoria, British Columbia next week for the U SPORTS National Championship. Guelph will face the Canada West champion University of Victoria Vikes in a best two-out-of-three series to determine the national champion. Game 1 goes Friday (Nov. 1) at 7pm ET.

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