Mustangs crush McGill for first national championship

Western's assistant captains and seniors accept the CIS banner after defeating McGill 5–0 to earn their first ever championship. (MUSTANG ATHLETICS)

The Western Mustangs are Canadian Interuniversity Sport champions, after a 5–0 win over the number one ranked McGill Martlets on Sunday evening.

The Mustangs were out shot 38–15 in the game, but Kelly Campbell shut the door – again. She was named tournament MVP thanks to back-to-back shutouts.

Let's make one thing clear: Campbell is a wall.

Five Ontario University Athletics playoff games, five wins. Eight total goals against  – 1.52 G.A.A. – during Western's undefeated run to a first ever OUA championship.

And yet – somehow – when the pressure got more intense, she got better.

During Western's undefeated Canadian Interuniversity Sport run – again, their first in team history – she allowed a single goal in three games. One goal, total.

She shutout the Montreal Carabins in the semifinals, a team expected to beat the number two ranked Mustangs and face rival McGill in the final.

Western was out shot in that game 28–18. But it didn't matter.

She shutout the McGill Martlets in the finals, a team that had not only won two of the past four championships, but a team that had been in the CIS finals eight times.

Western was outshot in that game 38–15. Again, it didn't matter. It never matters.

After a playoff victory against Laurier last month, co-head coach Chris Higgins laughed when he said, "we get out shot all the time. That's just the way it is."

He wasn't kidding.

Yet let's make something else clear: this was no one woman show.

Western defeated arguably the best university women's team in the country, 5–0 in the finals.

A goalie can't win a game 5–0 on their own.

During Western's CIS cup run, there's no doubt the Mustangs looked lost at times. After all, it was their first time, and inexperience played a role. However, it only played a small role.

Western was that team – that annoying team – that right when you think you've got them, and the momentum is in your favour, they push back, and surprise you.

In the quarter-finals they killed off three straight third period penalties in a 1–1 game before Anthea Lasis blasted one from the point to give them the lead. Seven minutes later Brianna Iazzolino supplied the insurance marker, and that was that. The inexperience was gone.

In the semifinals Western was deadlocked at zeros in the second period during what was a very back-and-forth game. Then, with twenty seconds left on the clock, Cassidy Gosling crashed the net and got an ugly goal that turned out to be the game winner. No third period collapse – in fact they allowed just eight shots on goal in the final frame.

In the finals, most goals came during a second period flurry. They were out shot 17–4 in the first, yet they held the lead thanks to Anthea Lasis and – once again – her deceptive point shot. But Western didn't collapse. They kept coming. And coming.

If you blinked you would have missed it.

Ally Galloway scoring a great goal on a two-on-one with Stacey Scott. Then Scott, three minutes later, jumping on a turnover and firing a quick shot under the blocker of Martlet goalie Taylor Hough. Four minutes later Kendra Broad sniping one top corner, knocking the water bottle off in the process.

All tournament long this team worked and worked and worked. They never gave up. They never strayed from their game plan.

And now, for the first time in school history, they can say they've accomplished all of their season's goals.

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