The women’s CCAA national championship opens today hosted by the Douglas Royals as the eight best teams in Canada battle for national supremacy.
The host Royals will be well rested as they make their second straight appearance at the national championship, but first as hosts. They fell in the PACWEST semi-final 11 days ago and have had plenty of time to prepare.
Wednesday night the Royals will be the featured game when they host the four-time defending CCAA champion the Garneau Elans. The Royals finished the season 5-4-3 while the Elans cruised to a 9-0-1 record in the RSEQ.
Last season these two schools met in the national semi-final with the Elans escaping with a 1-0 victory.
The Royals offence is led by senior Mikayla Hamilton who had six goals during the regular season but was injured during the semi-final loss to Capilano. She will be dearly missed if she doesn’t suit up on Wednesday. Overall the Royals are a balanced offence and can attack from multiple positions. Emma Thomas can be a factor scoring three goals during the regular campaign. All-Canadian Samantha Kell always seems to elevate her game in important situations and tallied two goals during the regular season as did Sofia Flores-Aguilera.
Veteran keeper Alexa Gazzola is familiar with the Elans offence after last year’s tight battle. She will need to be sharp if the Royals hope to advance. She allowed 10 goals in 10 games this past season but did record a Conference high four shutouts.
The Elans offence can be a daunting task to try to defend. They are led by Audrey Genois who had a Conference high 12 goals in 10 games. Eve Malo is also a solid threat with five goals on the year.
With their RSEQ Conference victory Garneau sets a new record capturing their unprecedented 16th Conference title. They beat Champlain 2-1 in the title game. The Elans are in search of their 14th CCAA national medal
Kick-off Wednesday is set for 5:30pm.