'Caps at College - Champions again!

WFC alums defend CIS national titles; NCAA tourney looms

2013 CIS TWU Champs

Photo Credit: 
Photo Credit: Trinity Western University

VANCOUVER, BC - Another successful season in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) concluded this past weekend with several products of Vancouver Whitecaps FC youth development programs hoisting national championship trophies.

The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds men’s soccer team, whom are well-represented by 10 Whitecaps FC alumni, repeated as CIS national champions in Fredericton, New Brunswick this past weekend

Not to be outdone, eight women's alumnae contributed to Trinity Western University’s successful defence of their national championship crown at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium.

South of the border, many ‘Caps are still in the midst of competing for the national championship at various tiers of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

MEN

UBC men capture second straight CIS national title

Whitecaps FC U-23 striker Niall Cousens had a month to remember. Along with winning the national championship with UBC, he was named MVP of the CIS men’s soccer tournament. The kinesiology major scored the game tying goal in the final and assisted on the championship-winning goal. He also remarkably scored four goals in 22 minutes to lead the Thunderbirds to the Canada West title two weeks ago.

It is the third straight year a Whitecaps FC player has been named MVP of the CIS national championship tournament. Gagandeep Dosanjh received the award last year, while Cam Hundal won it the year before.

University of Alberta defender Niko Saler, a former Whitecaps FC PDL player, was named to the Canada West First Team.

Whitecaps FC Residency grads Callum Irving of the University of Kentucky and Ben McKendry of New Mexico were both named to All-Conference USA first team. Irving was responsible for backstopping UK to a solid season, making 39 saves and recording five shutouts, the 11th most in the program’s history. This is the second straight season McKendry has been awarded for his contributions to New Mexico’s midfield. Last year, he was named the Newcomer of the Year, this year he is an All-Conference all-star having played a key part in the Lobos finishing as regular season champions of their conference.

Over at Duke, Freshman Brody Huitema led the Blue Devils in scoring with six goals and four assists.

Staying in Carolina, the University of North Carolina-Wilmington begin their quest to gain a bid to the NCAA tournament on Thursday. The Seahawks are backstopped by Residency grad Sean Melvin, who has posted a 0.96 Goals Against Average so far this season.

Quinton Duncan and his Tulsa Hurricanes inched closer to a NCAA tournament bid by making it to the C-USA semis.

Declan Rodriguez logged two goals and one assist from his defensive position for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His team had a stellar regular season and will enter the Horizon League Tournament as the second seed.

At Simon Fraser University, Alex Rowley and coach Alan Koch were both recognized for their part in the Clan’s successful season. Rowley was honoured with the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year award, as well as being named to the All-Conference team as a midfielder. While Koch, a former Whitecaps FC women’s coach, was named the GNAC Coach of the Year.  

Under Koch’s guidance, the team finished the regular season with their fourth straight GNAC championship, and are now off to California to begin their run in the NCAA II tournament versus Cal Baptist. That game kicks off at 7 p.m. PT on Thursday, November 14.

WOMEN

TWU repeat as CIS women's soccer champs

Along with defending their national championship with Trinity Western University, Vanessa Kovacs and Natalie Boyd were named tournament CIS all-stars. Boyd scored the game-winning goal in the Spartans’ semifinal triumph over Cape Breton. Kovacs was also named to the CIS All-Canadian First Team.

Coming in on the CIS All-Canadian Second Team was Coquitlam's Jaclyn Sawicki, another alumni of the Whitecaps FC women's program.

The UBC Thunderbirds finished fourth at the Canada West championships, but saw a number of former 'Caps earn accolades. Alyssa Williamson was named a second team all-Canadian for her work in goal.  Fellow Whitecaps FC Girls Elite grad Jasmin Dhanda was named the Canada West Rookie of the Year as well as a Canada West second team all-star, capping off a memorable year in which. Dhanda broke into the lineup and scored five times in just nine regular season games to tie two-time Canada West MVP and Whitecaps FC alum Janine Frazao for the team lead in goals. Last but not least, Aman Shergill was also named to the Canada West second-team.

Julia McDonald was essential to the Ottawa Gee-Gees success all season long. Her team were ranked sixth in final edition of the CIS top 10. Unfortunately for McDonald and her teammates, they were upset by Queen’s University in the quarterfinals of the Ontario University Athletic (OUA) championships on penalty kicks. McDonald made 11 regular season appearances for the Gee-Gees. 

Down south, a pair of Whitecaps FC Girls Elite alums helped make history in the Southeastern Conference. For the first time ever, three freshmen from the same school have received All-SEC recognition in the same year, including striker Summer Clarke and midfielder Emma Fletcher.

At Oregon State, Kathryn Baker was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman team and on the Honourable Mention All-Conference. Striker Jenna Richardson, meanwhile, was an Academic All-District Second Team selection. Richardson and Chelsea Buckland were among nine seniors to be honoured.

In the Ivy League, sophmore Lucielle Kozlov had an assist on the game-winning goal for Dartmouth in their season-ending 4-1 win over Cornell.

At San Jose State, goalkeeper Zoe Makrigiannis posted a 1.37 Goals Against Average and .750 Save Percentage in 13 appearances this season.

In the classroom, Lindsay Johansen made the Sun Belt Commissioner's List for having a GPA of 3.5 or above.

Elise Wyatt and the DePaul University women’s soccer team are set to face Indiana University on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Wyatt scored a smart goal versus Villanova in the first round of the Big East Championship last week.

At South Florida, Whitecaps FC women's alum Demi Stokes earned American Athletic Conference Second-Team honours.

Elsewhere in the NCAA bracket, Washington State University, who feature three Whitecaps FC alumni (Gurveen ClairNicole Setterlund, and Katie Turney) begin their quest vs. Illinois at 1 p.m. PT on Saturday. Setterlund was named to the All-Pac-12 Second Team this season.

The Santa Clara Broncos starring Brittany and Nikki Ambrose have a first round matchup with the California Golden Bears, which also kicks off at 1 p.m. PT on Saturday. Lexi Marton and Penn State University will look to advance to the second round against Monmouth University on Friday 4:30 p.m. PT. Both Penn State and Santa Clara are ranked fourth in their respective sides of the bracket.

Complete bracket: http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/soccer-women/d1/2013