Niagara College sports report Sept. 10
A pair of St. Catharines athletes were named Niagara College’s male and female athletes of the week.
Governor Simcoe graduate Oti Frigole grabbed top male honours, scoring twice and adding an assist to lead the men’s soccer squad to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Mohawk Mountaineers.
Knights head coach Frank DeChellis was impressed with the calm approach Frigole took to the game.
“Oti did not look like a first-year player today,” he said. “He fit in very well with the group and worked at the level required to succeed in the OCAA (Ontario Colleges Athletic Association.”
The Knights, who visit the St. Clair Saints Saturday and Lambton Lions, Sunday, fell one win short of competing for an OCAA gold medal in 2017. Their 6-2-2 regular season record was the school’s best-ever showing. Jordi Amores of St. Catharines is the only returning all-star from last season and DeChellis will rely on a combination of veterans and a strong core of new recruits.
“The program is at a point where our reputation is doing some of the recruiting for us,” DeChellis said. “People see Niagara College Knights soccer as a destination for their post-secondary soccer ambitions.”
Other key returning players are Jacob Therrien and Alex Latham from Welland, David Fimiak from St. Catharines and Quinton Leone from Niagara Falls.
“We need our returning guys to set the tone for the rookies and they are taking that responsibility seriously,” DeChellis said.
He believes that this team is ready to compete and keep their reputation as a tough OCAA opponent.
“Every year, tryouts are more difficult because we attract more high-quality players seeking trials.”
NIAGARA WOMEN’S SOCCER
St. Francis alumnus Sophia Al-Kayed was named Niagara College’s female athlete of the week.
In a season-opening 3-0 loss to the visiting Mohawk Mountaineers, the first-year midfielder worked tirelessly in the midfield to stymie Mohawk’s offence.
“In her first collegiate game, Sophia worked hard all afternoon,” head coach Rob Lalama said. “She had a great work rate and high compete level throughout the match.”
Niagara, which is at St. Clair Saturday and Lambton Sunday, is looking to build on last season when the squad posted a 4-4-2 regular-season record before falling to Seneca in the playoffs.
“I think this year’s team is more talented and deeper,” Lalama said. “I hope to build on last season’s accomplishments.”
He will be counting on veteran leadership from the likes of: OCAA West rookie of the year Michelle Maecker from Fonthill; goalkeeper and OCAA West defensive player of the year Alexis Hebert; Lauren Frasca from Welland; and, newly appointed team captain and reigning MVP Kara Latham from Welland.
Other returning players to the team this year include: defenders Samantha Macsai (Port Colborne) and Chelsea Hay; and, midfielders Ashley Bruzzese (Welland), Amanda Borowski (Welland) and Renee LaFrance.
Key rookies are Al-Kayed and Katelyn Mix. Other rookies cracking the roster were: defenders Sarah Robert (Fort Erie), Madison Crowe-O’Brien and Madison Harley; midfielders Samantha Paley, Kennedi Risi (Thorold) and Daniela Aguire (St. Catharines); and, keeper Jasmine Reddecop.
“I feel we have taken a big step in changing the culture and expectations of our soccer team,” Lalama said.