The UOIT women’s soccer team invited the campus community to help them celebrate their historic season last week. Students, faculty and fellow athletes gathered in the atrium for a championship rally.
The team won a bronze medal at the U Sports Canadian national soccer championship just over a week ago. The Ridgebacks claimed a 1-0 victory against the Queen’s Gaels. This marks the first time a Ridgebacks team has won a medal of any kind on the national stage.
Head coach Peyvand Mossavat says he has been looking forward to a winning moment like this since he started with the program five years ago.
“It’s a testament to all the hard work the girls have put in, all of our staff,” said Mossavat, who has also managed the Ryerson Rams and the York Lions. “Our entire team here at UOIT, it’s a fantastic place.”
The last time the team had a chance to compete in an OUA final was back in 2014. But they shut out after losing to Trinity Western and Montreal.
Mikaela Tierney plays midfield on the women’s team. She said the OUA final, where UOIT also beat Queen’s, was her favourite memory of the season.
“Coming off of last season, where we didn’t do as well, this means a lot,” said Tierney.
The event was open to the campus to attend. Fans had the chance to take pictures with the players, who proudly wore their medals, and strike a pose with the Ridgebacks’ mascot, Hunter.
Alison Chasczewski is a certified athletic therapist for the Durham Lords. She works closely with UOIT athletics as well. She wanted to come out to support the women’s team.
“It was amazing to watch these girls grow into amazing soccer players,” said Chasczewski.
The audience also included past alumni. Edrese Sharrif was in the area visiting friends when he heard about the celebration. He played with the Ridgebacks men’s soccer team for three years. He came out to show his pride in his school.
“You know the first banner, hopefully the first of many,” said Sharrif.
Though the season has come to a close, the team is still buzzing from its historic win. Fans will now have to wait patiently for next year when the girls lace up their cleats again in the 2017 season.