Sica repeats as OCAA player of the year
Sydney Sica had a near-perfect end to her post secondary soccer career.
For the second straight year, the 24-year-old Niagara Falls native was named the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association’s women’s soccer player of the year. And unlike last year, when Niagara College was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, this year the Knights won an OCAA bronze medal with a 3-2 win over Durham following a heart-breaking 3-2 double overtime loss to eventual champion Humber in the semifinals
“It was a great way to end my collegiate career,” the practical nursing student said. “It wasn’t the way that we had hoped for — we were so close to the championship game — but everyone put their hearts into it and that’s all anyone could ever ask for. Winning the bronze medal was unforgettable.”
The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association All-Canadian and West Division First-Team All-Star would gladly trade away all her personal accolades for an OCAA gold medal.
“One hundred percent without a doubt,” she said, with a laugh.
That being said, Sica, who spent one year at Ryerson and two at Brock before joining Niagara, takes a lot of pride in being a back-to-back player of the year winner.
“I was a little shocked to be honest but it is very rewarding. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates. We really came together this year and we proved everyone wrong who didn’t think we would be as good as we were technically.”
Sica scored 12 goals in 10 games during the regular season for Niagara and was the OCAA West Division scoring champion. Her 21 career regular season goals are a program record.
“I expected to score here but maybe not as much as I did,” said the co-captain of the St. Catharines Club Roma Wolves League1 women’s squad.
Her scoring prowess was the result of a number of factors.
“I think my movement off the ball went really well and I played with a lot of Niagara College players and they read me well. They gave me a lot of through balls which allowed me to finish on them. We connected well as a team in both years which led to me scoring.”
She believes she improved as a player during her time at Niagara.
“I have definitely gained more confidence over my career at Niagara whether it being taking someone on or even shooting. I never shot this much at Brock or in any other league.”
Sica has enjoyed the entire Niagara College experience on and off the field.
“It was an unforgettable experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My teammates and coaches made it the best environment and everything was exceptional.”
Sica, who graduated from Brock with a bachelor of science degree with a major in medical science, will graduate from the nursing program in the spring and is looking to begin her career in Niagara.
“I will start here to get a bit of experience whether it be in a nursing home or the hospital but then I might diverge depending on the branch of nursing that I go in to.”
She is planning on playing again next summer with the League1 Wolves and is thankful she still has a place to compete in a high level of soccer.
“I love how St. Catharines Roma created this competitive women’s team because it has never been here before. It is really nice to have a place to go because in previous years I was playing lower level women’s soccer or co-ed pickup soccer.”
Sica feels her Club Roma season this past summer jump-started her second year with Niagara.
“I recommend to anyone going back to the OUA (Ontario University Athletics), OCAA or even NCAA to play League1. It really keeps you in shape and up to pace with soccer.”
Sica wasn’t the only Knight to pick up post-season honours. Fenwick native Tori Hultink was named OCAA West Rookie of the Year after recording a pair of goals and five assists in the regular season. The Smithville Christian grad was also named an OCAA West Division Second Team All-Star with teammate Alyssa Arcand.
Last year’s South Division Rookie of the Year, McKenna Jackson and second-year forward, Rylan Greatrix, were named OCAA West Division First Team All-Stars.