The Woodland Christian High School girls’ soccer team made history on the field this season with a gold finish at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) championship. Taking on a slew of competitors from across the province, the team powered through a few early setbacks in the season to come out on top in the OFSAA girls’ A division.
“This is the first time in our school’s history that a soccer team has won OFSAA gold,” said head coach Scott Kooy.
It was a roller coaster of a season, he notes, with the team starting on uneven footing, and nearly getting knocked out of the earliest round of play.
“We dug ourselves a hole immediately. The girls never lost faith in it, which was pretty awesome,” said Kooy.
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Competing at the District 8 Athletic Association tournaments against neighbouring schools, the team suffered four straight losses and a tie before getting its first win. At one point, Kooy even believed that the team’s low points meant they had nixed their chances at making the sub-provincial CWOSSA games. The math, he was sure, meant that they would be eliminated at the district level.
“And then somehow they found a way,” he said, adding with a laugh that math was never his strong suit. “From that point on, they went on a winning streak.”
The team had dropped nearly to the bottom of the standings in the district, but their game dramatically turned around in time for the quarter-finals, where the team pulled off a dramatic 2-0 victory against St. Benedict. The win was enough to give Woodland a pass to CWOSSA league.
From CWOSSA on, the girls saw an immense improvement to their overall game. Over the course of the entire regular season, from the district level to OFSAA, the Woodland team had a record of 16-6-2. Of those six loses, four took place in the District 8 Tournament, and only one each at CWOSSA and OFSAA.
Entering into the CWOSSA tournaments, Woodland barreled through the competition, with three wins and a loss in the regular season, and a perfect streak through the finals.
“The final was really tight,” noted Kooy. “It was against Emmanuel Christian High School – they’re a school from Fergus. We had beat them in a tournament a couple weeks before as well so they already knew how we played, and we knew how they played, so it was pretty tight all the way through.”
Ultimately, Woodland prevailed, but with a nail-biting 1-0 victory, moving on to OFSAA in Delhi.
Playing at the provincials, Woodland was again 3-1 in their pool, placing them once again in the quarter-finals, where the team won handily against É.S. Louis-riel. With the win, Woodland was moving up to the semi-finals the following day.
“After that game I said to the girls, ‘I finally get to make the phone call that I’ve wanted to make at every OFSAA that I’ve been to.’ Which is, calling the hotel who are holding our rooms and saying, ‘we’re coming back,’” said Kooy with a laugh. “So that was fun.”
The team moved on to win the semis the next day 2-0 against E.S. La Citadelle, and in the finals took on St. Michaels Catholic High School. The game was played down to the wire, with Woodland scoring the only point of the match. After the first point, the goal for Woodland was to hold on to their lead.
“When the final whistle went, the bench just streamed out onto the field to hug the goalie. The goalie made some amazing saves during that game,” said Kooy.
The team came away from the Delhi tournament with the gold, which Kooy credits to the team’s character.
“They’re just such a very supportive group of girls with each other, and they played with so much heart throughout this year. They never got down which was awesome. Even early in the season, when we were playing in D8 and we lost a number of games,” he said.
With few graduating players this year, Kooy notes that the team is looking to come back just as strong next year – forecasting a good 2019 season.