McMaster Marauder’s women soccer player Maria Cusimano (North York) is this year’s winner of the 2009 West community service award, announced by Ontario University Athletics.
Cusimano has been a volunteer with the local Time for Teens program, providing leadership and mentoring to teens twice a week for one-hour visits, where she provided them with an opportunity to visit local landmarks and sporting events. She also volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hamilton, the Eva Rothwell Youth Centre and Hoops against Hate, as well as participating in Relay for Life races.
During the summer, Cusimano is a research student at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, where she won the top prize for the Sick Kids Hospital Research Institute Competition in 2008 and 2009.
The York Lions women’s soccer team was prominent as the OUA announced the 2009 West major award winners and all-stars.
An outstanding season for York’s Ami Otaki (Kanagawa, Japan) garners her most valuable player honours. Otaki, a second-year forward, averaged a goal per game this season with 14 goals in 14 matches. She is the third consecutive York student-athlete to win the award after Stefania Morra (Scarborough, Ont.) won back-to-back MVPs in 2007 and 2008.
Otaki’s teammate Nicole Campbell (Scarborough) receives the T. Litzen Sports rookie of the year award for her exceptional first season with the Lions. The rookie midfielder scored one goal and showed a great balance of speed and strength in her OUA debut.
Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks’ head coach Barry McLean wins the West coach of the year award. McLean led the Hawks to a winning record and the OUA championship last year and guided this year’s team to a 9-3-2 record. Laurier was second in the West with 32 goals, and allowed just 13. They were ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation this season.
Otaki and Campbell are joined by York midfielders Alicia Donaldson (Mississauga) and Nicole Markowitz (Toronto), who scored three and four goals this season, respectively, as well as York goalkeeper Sarah Fiorini (Newmarket) on the West first-team all-star squad.
Laurier also has a strong showing on the first-team, with four Golden Hawks receiving all-star honours, including midfielders Heather Malizia (Burlington), Ali McKee (Bracebridge) and Alyssa Lagonia (Kitchener). McKee was fifth in OU A scoring with nine goals, while Malizia netted eight. Third-year defender Tania Pedron (Maple) rounds out the list of Laurier players.
Other first-team all-stars include third-year forward Cassandre Van Bakel (Aurora) of the Brock Badgers, and Windsor Lancers defender Sara Kox (Denfield).
Three Western Mustangs earn second-team all-star status, including two rookies. Defender Julianne Macaulay (London) and midfielder Emily Maganja (Oakville) made impressive OUA debuts, and are joined by third-year midfielder Erin Grand (Toronto).
McMaster is represented on the second-team all-star list by first-year midfielder Tara Dawdy (Burlington), who scored three goals this season, and fourth-year midfielder Cheryl Druchok (Palgrave), who is an OUA all-star for the fourth consecutive year.
Brock defender Brittany Vanderkruk (Flamborough) is an all-star for the second time and joins teammate Ali Gartley (Camlachie), who scored two goals in the regular season, on the second-team.
Laurier midfielder and four-time all-star Sara Hopper (Thornhill), Windsor goalkeeper Danielle St. Germaine (Sarnia), Waterloo Warriors forward Tara Chadwick (Stratford.) and York defender Tania Porretta (Brampton) round out the West second-team.