Tigers women’s soccer team ‘believed in themselves, believed in each other,’ coach says
What started with 20 schools across the province ended with the Holy Trinity Tigers wearing gold medals around their necks on Saturday as they beamed with joy.
The Holy Trinity Catholic High School team won seven games in three days to be crowned the 2022 OFSAA AA Women’s Soccer Champions.
What made it even more special was that Holy Trinity won on home soil, with Bradford being named host community for the Championships earlier this year.
“We are going to celebrate Bradford, our children and our community,” head coach Denny De Oliveira said at the time. “We’re going to celebrate who we are now and who we were in the past.”
That’s exactly what De Oliveira’s side did as they won gold while surrounded by friends, family and alumni at Henderson Field this weekend.
After sweeping the pool game beating Lorne Park Secondary School 5-1 and Crestwood Preparatory College 4-0 on Thursday, and Our Lady Queen of the World Catholic Academy 7-1 and Korah Collegiate and Vocational School 2-1 on Friday, Holy Trinity advanced to the playoffs as the sole seed from Pool B.
In their first playoff game on Friday night, the Tigers beat Holy Trinity Courtice 6-3 in the quarterfinals to secure a spot in a medal game on Saturday afternoon.
With a gold medal face-off on Saturday morning, Holy Trinity started biting their nails as they took on L’Essor Catholic High School in Tecumseh.
Just under 60 minutes into the match, Holy Trinity took a 1-0 lead, but L’Essor equalized less than 10 minutes later from a free kick. They then played two scoreless 10-minute overtimes.
With a trip to the gold medal game on the line, the game headed to a penalty shootout and Holy Trinity beat L’Essor 4-1. After nearly two hours of football, the Tigers were scheduled to face Thomas A. Blakelock High School in Oakville later in the day.
Just before halftime in the gold medal game, the Tigers scored on a through ball to take a 1-0 lead in the half. Holy Trinity added to that lead with a second goal set up by a cross pass where the initial shot was stopped before they scored on the rebound.
Minutes later, Thomas A. Blakelock cut the lead to one with a goal to make it 2-1 from a corner. Despite a late push from the opponent, Holy Trinity won the OFSAA with a 2-1 win.
“As much as I want to tell you about OFSAA, I want to tell you about this team,” De Oliveira said during OFSAA’s spring celebration at Holy Trinity on Monday. “I’ll tell you 100%, and I’m not insulting anyone here…it’s not the best girl’s team we’ve ever had, but…it’s the team I’m on. prouder because every coach said it’s all heart, it’s all skill, it’s all team.
“In 23 years I’ve never had a team like this who believed in themselves, believed in each other and played. They won OFSAA on their base. You guys are amazing. I hope you realize that. You were the class of the tournament. You deserved everything you got. From day one, these girls bought two days a day and never once complained. As coaches, we’re over the moon. for all of you.
The Holy Trinity Tigers ended their OFSAA season undefeated at 21-0 and became the first Holy Trinity women’s team to win a gold medal.