By Jessica Barrett
(HAMILTON, ON) – It was no surprise to see the York Lions atop the West division standings in 2013. The Lions have held the top spot in the West for the past seven seasons and led the league in goals (53), wins (13) and points (40) in 2013. The OUA title has eluded them since 2007, but the major awards have not, as the Lions swept the MVP, rookie and coach of the year honours for the second straight year.
Rookie midfielder Jonathan Lao (Unionville, Ont.) established himself as a premier player in the OUA claiming both the West MVP and rookie of the year award. Lao scored 11 goals in his first OUA campaign, but became an instant threat by scoring four goals in his first two games, including two game-winners. Lao’s 11 goals tied him for second in league scoring with teammate Mark-Anthony Kaye (Toronto, Ont.), last season’s rookie of the year. Armed with their dynamic duo, York is poised to continue to score at will for years to come.
Lions coach Carmine Isacco won the West division coach of the year award for the second straight season and fourth time in seven years. Isacco becomes the sixth OUA coach to win four coach of the year awards and trailing only Carleton’s Sandy Mackie, who has six. Under Isacco’s guidance, the Lions have won two national championships (2008, 2010), one OUA title (2007) and the West division seven times. Isacco’s teams are known for their offensive capabilities and this year the Lions scored a school record 53 goals.
Five of York’s six all-stars were first time winners this season. Joining Lao and Kaye on the first team are midfielder Joey Cicchillo (North York, Ont.), defender Casey D’Mello (Mississauga, Ont.) and three-time all-star goalkeeper Sotiri Varlokostas (Toronto, Ont.). Midfielder Carlos Nogueira (Brampton, Ont.) was named to the second team. Cicchillo, a second-year forward, finished with eight goals this season en route to his first designation while Varlokostas receives the first-team nod for the second time in as many years.
The two-time defending OUA champions McMaster Marauders won’t win a third straight title this season, but they did send four players to the all-star teams. Defenders Nicolas Vecchi (Niagara Falls, Ont.) and Kody Kazda (Carleton Place, Ont.) anchored a McMaster back third that allowed a league low eight goals over 16 games. This is the first all-star nod for the pair of first-team stars. Up front, the Marauders sent midfielders Ryan Garnett (Kitchener, Ont.) and Paterson Farrell (Oakville, Ont.) to the first team and second teams, respectively. Garnett picks up consecutive first-team designations while Farrell gets the nod for the first time.
The Windsor Lancers are playing in the OUA Final Four after knocking off Western in the first round and ousting the defending champs (McMaster) in extra time in the quarter-finals. Second-team all-star Michael Pio (Windsor, Ont.) scored the winning goal for Windsor in the upset and his six regular season goals land him his first all-star selection. Joining Pio on the second team are Lancers leading scorer Cristian Mayorga (Windsor, Ont.) and goalkeeper Dejo Olagbegi (Windsor, Ont.). Mayorga scored 10 goals this season while Olagbegi owned a .900 save percentage and two shutouts. This is the first all-star selection for Mayorga and Olagbegi as well.
The Guelph Gryphons played to an 8-3-5 record in 2013 before being upset by Laurier in the first round of the playoffs. The Gryphs scored the third most goals in the OUA (33) and have three first-team all-stars. Four-time all-star and former first-team all-Canadian striker Robbie Murphy (Ottawa, Ont.) returns to the team after missing the team in 2012. Murphy scored 10 goals this season and the first-team designation is his second (2011). Murphy is joined by two-time all-star defender Justin Springer (Burlington, Ont.) and first time all-star Tim Flynn (Scarborough, Ont.). Flynn scored seven goals, a career-high, good for second on the Gryphons.
The Western Mustangs had two players receive all-star designations this season, as defenders Andrew Walton (Toronto, Ont.) and Jovan Ivanovich (London, Ont.). Walton previously made the second team in 2010 and 2012, while Ivanovich was selected for the first time.
Laurier midfielder Donald Chmura (Waterloo, Ont.) earned his fourth all-star designation in 2013 appearing on the second team. Chmura scored four goals for the Hawks this season.
Brock midfielder Sammy Orlando (Woodbridge, Ont.) was named as a second-team all-star for the second straight year. Orlando scored three goals for the Badgers this season.
OUA West All-stars and Major Award Winners
Jonathan Lao – York
West Rookie of the Year, presented by Big Kahuna
Jonathan Lao – York
West Coach of the Year
Carmine Isacco – York
OUA West First Team All-Stars
Goalkeeper – Sotiri Varlokostas, York
Defender – Casey D’Mello, York
Defender – Nicolas Vecchi, McMaster
Defender – Kody Kazda, McMaster
Defender – Justin Springer, Guelph
Midfielder – Jonathan Lao, York
Midfielder – Joey Cicchillo, York
Midfielder – Ryan Garnett, McMaster
Midfielder – Tim Flynn, Guelph
Striker – Mark-Anthony Kaye, York
Striker – Robbie Murphy, Guelph
OUA West Second Team All-Stars
Goalkeeper – Dejo Olagbegi, Windsor
Defender – Jovan Ivanovich, Western
Defender – Andrew Walton, Western
Midfielder – Carlos Nogueira, York
Midfielder – Donald Chmura, Laurier
Midfielder – Paterson Farrell, McMaster
Midfielder – Sammy Orlando, Brock
Striker – Cristian Mayorga, Windsor
Striker – Michael Pio, Windsor