By Erin Valois
With the help of their coach, the Ryerson women’s soccer team is looking to become the university’s newest sports dynasty.
Three players have received OUA honours and coach Peyvand Mossavat was named East Division Coach of the Year.
“We would have liked to get past the first round and we didn’t get there but we did accomplish what we set out to do,” Mossavat said.
Winless seasons have gone hand in hand with women’s soccer since the early ’90s. The team would be greatly outscored by opponents and go on winless droughts. As the years passed, the cycle continued with no hint of improvement. The team was looking for a new element to take them straight from the bottom to the top. Three years ago, the Rams got the spark they needed when Mossavat began his reign.
“When I took this job, I said that I could change the program and turn it around to become competitive,” he said. “Now we are nationally ranked — we’ve stepped up and raised the bar.”
With Mossavat making changes, the team began preparations to break out of their slump. The women trained twice a day instead of twice a week, the coaching staff added key members and began looking for strong prospects.
Forward Tessa Dimitrakopoulos was added in the second year of revamping the Rams. In her first season, she gave the team a much needed boost with 11 goals. This season, she was named a second team East Division all-star. After two great years, the former Rookie of the Year is confident the Rams will continue to improve.
“I think we will do really well next year, especially now we’re used to playing with each other,” she said. “Since (Mossavat) has won coach of the year this year, I think this will help him gain confidence for next year.”
Following in the footsteps of Dimitrakopoulos is Andrea Raso, this season’s East Division Rookie of the Year. She led the team in scoring this year with six goals, finishing sixth in the province. With three more years ahead of her, the first team East Division all-star is breathing new life into a growing women’s program.
“Next year will be a lot better and hopefully we get into a semifinal playoff game,” Raso said.
Second-year midfielder Meagan Blodgett is also a major contributor to this year’s successful season. Her flexible style of play enabled her to move back to defence, playing a key part in the team’s undefeated streak. Like Dimitrakopoulos, Blodgett was named a second team East Division all-star.
“These awards show we are bringing in the right people, bringing in athletes that will get us to the next level,” Mossavat said. “This year was a great season and next year will be better than that.”