Dorchester defeats Toronto De La Salle in the gold match on penalty kicks
successfully defending the high school provincial girls 1-A title
June 14, 2023
By Rob J. Ross
LONDON, Ont. -
Call them back to back OFSAA
The Dorchester Beavers successfully defended their OFSAA 1-A girls soccer title, with a comeback effort in this year's gold medal match.
On a winning kick from Morgan Czupryna, the Dorchester edged Toronto De La Salle, 2-1 (4-3), in penalty kicks, in the 2023 final June 10 at the North London Fields.
Dorchester won six of seven games on their way to gold, one year after an undefeated run to the school's first OFSAA girls soccer championship, in Belle River.
"This year's girls played our hearts out and left it all on that field for that final game," Beavers co-captain Lexie Wylie said. "I think the team's biggest strength was our ability to work together and support each other. We never gave up and we always encouraged one another to do our best and never put our heads down."
Trailing 1-0 in the final, with only minutes remaining in regulation time, the Beavers were awarded a free kick 35 yards out from the De La Salle net. Wylie took the kick and Megan McLachlin pounced on a ball that got away from the keeper, to tie the game.
Overtime solved nothing, leaving the provincial title to be decided by kicks. Beavers keeper Makenna Brown made two big time stops, while the Dorchester kickers hit mesh on four of five attempts, including Czupryna.
"I had tears going down my eyes as I couldn't believe my senior year and final high school soccer game was over," Wylie said. "I had so many emotions going on at once. I was happy and so proud of my teammates. But I was also sad, because I knew I wouldn't be back next year to celebrate like this again."
Dorchester avenged the only loss suffered in two years at OFSAA, after getting blanked by De La Salle, 3-0, in pool play. Scoreless at half in that game, De La Salle took the lead and then added two more when Dorchester pressed for the equalizer.
"(De La Salle) came out guns blazing. We couldn't take a third touch without them interfering with the play, stopping us from being able to make a pass," Dorchester coach Andreas Nolte said. "We weren't ready and we were a little bit tired from the first game. We had opportunities, but we made mistakes."
In retrospect, a little adversity inspired the Beavers.
"We had a good discussion after the game. It was a learning moment for us," coach Nolte said. "It could have went one of two ways for us. But the Friday and Saturday was probably the best two days of soccer I've seen us play the entire year."
Walkerton and Toronto University of Schools, were victims of 4-0 shutouts on day two, as Dorchester finished pool play, with three wins and one loss.
In the quarterfinals, Bella Nolte scored three times in a 3-1 win over Oakville Sainte Trinite, carrying the Beavers back to the semifinals.
Wylie and Cali Beattie scored in their semifinal win against Pere Rene Da Galinee, from Cambridge, giving Dorchester the opportunity to repeat.
"Having that expectation going back to OFSAA and holding that title is a heavy thing to deal with, but we played really well," Bella Nolte said. "I had a feeling we'd go to OFSAA again. We had a good shot at it, but I didn't think we'd win it again. Once we were at OFSAA, I think we were all like, we're here to win and we'll put our best foot forward."
The Beavers had a different look than in 2022. This year, coach Nolte and coach Stephanie Young had a younger team and players new to soccer on the roster.
"We really had a huge turn around," said coach Nolte. "To do this again was absolutely amazing with that much turn over."
Seven players graduated last year, including scoring star Annika Nolte and defensive stalwart Claudia Zavitz.
This year's roster had more players on the roster, more depth, but not necessarily more soccer experience.
Sydney Champion, Lauren Lindsay, Jordan Patterson, Jenna Wideman and Olivia Dettloff, were stars in other sports from hockey and basketball to ringette and dance, but new to the pitch at LDSS.
"They all came out for high school soccer for the first time," coach Nolte said. "They brought really good leadership and willing to do a role. It was the buy in like that, that really made the difference this year. The first thing I saw is their level of compete."
The coaches found each player a role that she could help the team from and everyone had one goal, give themselves the best opportunity to return to OFSAA.
"We worked together and figured out each other's strengths, maybe more than we had to last year," Bella Nolte said.
Dorchester finished the regular season at 6-0 before rolling through the Thames Valley (TVRA) and Western Ontario (WOSSAA) 1-A playoffs. Along the way, the Beavers won a tournament in Aylmer and placed second at Tillsonburg, facing AA and AAA opponents.
Preparation for the provincial stage perhaps.
"I am so proud and honoured that I
was able to be a part of bringing home another OFSAA championship for Lord
Dorchester. It was such an honour to be co-captain with my cousin Shae (Linton)
in our final senior year," Wylie said. "I will definitely remember our huge
supporting section out there all cheering for us.
This memory of winning back to back championships, will forever be in my heart. Especially our coaches, Andreas Nolte, Mrs Young, who dedicated lots of hours and extreme motivation, which made us persevere and kick butt throughout the tournament."
Next year offers a new challenge as Dorchester will be at the AA level.
St. Joseph's high school will host the 2024 OFSAA AA tournament and all teams throughout TVRA and WOSSAA, know the Beavers even with moving up will again be legit contenders.
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