Ooks defend ACAC title with win over Thunder

Ooks defend ACAC title with win over Thunder

SHERWOOD PARK, Alta. – The NAIT Ooks women's soccer team defeated the Concordia Thunder 3-2 on Sunday in the 2019 ACAC Women's Soccer Championship gold medal game. The Ooks are now the ACAC Champions for back-to-back years.

The gold medal game started snowy and blowy and full of goals. Concordia's Paige Martin scored in the second minute off of a corner to put the Thunder up 1-0 early. Mia Simon responded seconds later off a corner kick at the other end to tie the game at one, three minutes into the game.

In the 28th minute, Gracie Hausch put the Ooks up when she booted home a free-kick. NAIT was up 2-1 at halftime. In the second half, Tarah Pliska gathered a Rebecca Leavell free-kick to beat Toni Burse and tie the game up at two.

In the 82nd minute, NAIT got a free-kick just off of the Concordia goal line. Mackenzie Sharun sent a brilliant strike that bent perfectly into the corner of the net, giving her team a 3-2 lead, eventually leading to a win.

"We played great today. The girls did all of the basics well," said Ooks head coach Carole Holt. "We also executed on our set-pieces. To get all three goals on set pieces speaks volumes."

Players of the game were Mackenzie Sharun (NAIT) and Rebecca Leavell (CUE). Leavell was also named to the All-Tournament team along with Paige Martin (CUE), Gracie Hausch (NAIT), and Toni Burse (NAIT). Eleni Stamatakis from NAIT was named tournament MVP.

The Ooks will now head to CCAA Women's Soccer Championships in Edmonton on Nov. 6-9th. For coach Carole Holt this is her eighth appearance at nationals in eight years of coaching. She has also now won six ACAC Championships.