WELLAND – Sydney Sica believes Niagara College is the team to beat in this year’s OCAA women’s soccer season.
After a dominant 5-1 win against the Mohawk Mountaineers Wednesday night at the Youngs Sportsplex that moved them to 4-0, she may have a point.
Sica, who recorded a hat trick in the match, had plenty of scoring chances owing to her great positioning and teammates’ vision.
“They were all team goals,” said Sica, surrounded by her teammates. “As a team, we are building each other up and over the past few games we’ve become a lot more confident.
“It really shows on the field [with us] winning.”
Although this is her first year with the team, Knights head coach Rob Lalama was not hesitant to name her co-captain along with Terin Hultink.
“The level of play she came from at Brock, a very good level of play, and being one of their best players was one [reason to name her co-captain],” said Lalama, after the game. “Immediately, she embraced our program. She was a great teammate to everybody from day one.”
As a former Badger and Ryerson Ram, she brings a wealth of collegiate level experience to the table, and can be a mentor to a team that has a roster full of first-year student-athletes.
After the win, she now sits at fourth in total points in the OCAA, tied with her co-captain, Hultink.
“Terin and I work really well together, but our problem in the beginning was playing midfield,” said Sica to the Toronto Observer. “Once [Lalama] put us up top, we really went off with scoring.
“We play off each other well, whether it’s her or me giving each other a through ball, which is where we get our goals from.”
Sica and her coach were also quick to praise others on the team beyond the top two scorers, notably winger Rylan Greatrix. Her ability to play both the left and right side of the field was a huge boost to the team, culminating in her assisting on three of the five goals scored in the match.
“Rylan is a very entertaining and exciting player,” said coach Lalama of the Knights new recruit. “She has got a lot of speed and is a piece of the puzzle to why we are successful this year.”
Despite the team’s success, Lalama was very critical throughout the game, emphasizing on moving their feet and not allowing freekicks, which led to the lone goal for the Mountaineers.
Niagara’s coaching staff wants the players to eliminate those mistakes, especially in their next game.
The Knights will travel to Oakville on Saturday to face the 3-1 Sheridan Bruins, with their only loss coming against Niagara. This will be a key matchup as both teams try to claim the top spot in the South Division to avoid a potential crossover game come playoff time.