Sports

The Gee-Gees will return to the U of O with a hero’s welcome. Photo: Parker Townes/Fulcrum

Katherine Bearne sets up Mikayla Morton for game-winning goal to claim first international title

After claiming a national title in 2018, the University of Ottawa women’s soccer team continued to be dominant in  2019. After earning bronze at the OUA championship, the Gees have gone on to redeem themselves, this time winning a title on the international stage. 

The inaugural FISU University Cup in Jinjiang, China, hosted eight of the top university women’s soccer teams in the world. 

In pool play, the Gee-Gees came out on top. In their first two matchups, both Donghua University and the Siberian Federal University were shutout by U of O goaltender Margot Shore. To end pool play, the Gees beat the College of Asian Scholars 4-2. 

That string of wins sent the Gee-Gees to the semi-finals, where they battled it out against the Beijing Normal University for a chance to play for gold. 

The semi-final game was hard-fought on both sides, and after regulation, the score remained 0-0 and the teams headed to a shootout.

 The Chinese team scored three goals but Mikayla Morton, Thea Nour, Miranda Smith, Kaylane Hogue, and Angelina Gendreau all found the back of the net to give the U of O a 5-3 win.

Headed to the finals, the Gee-Gees had the opportunity to win the first-ever FISU World Cup. Adding to the feat was that to do so, they’d have to beat a team from Brazil, where soccer is a religion.

Paulista University had dominated in pool play and humiliated their semi-finals opponent. In fact, they had yet to have a goal scored against them in the tournament. 

The U of O did not seem phased by their opponents. 

Just about a minute into play, Katherine Bearne prepped the ball for a corner kick. She sent the ball right in front of the Paulista goal, where Morton connected and headed the ball into the mesh. 

For the rest of the game, the pressure was on Paulista University to even up the score. The U of O defence was solid, pressuring the ball anytime it was in their end of the field. 

Time eventually ran out for Paulista, and the Gee-Gees were crowned champions.  The final score was 1-0 for the Gee-Gees, marking the end of the first FISU University World Cup. 

In addition to winning the World Cup title, Trinity Esprit, a rookie on the U of O team, was named Most Valuable Player of the FISU University World Cup. Their outstanding performance in their 11 days in Jinjiang will be marked as an unforgettable moment in Gee-Gees history. 

Over a two-season span, the Gee-Gees program has accomplished a huge amount both in Canada and abroad. Between a national championship and an international title, it is clear the Gee-Gees have made their mark. 

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