International News

RICHMOND HILL, Ont. / KINGSTON, Ont. - Katalin Tolnai, a fourth-year forward from the University of British Columbia, was named the U SPORTS player of the year in women’s soccer, Wednesday night. Provost, who is from Toronto, becomes the third T-Bird to take the Chantal Navert Memorial Award, after Jasmin Dhanda in 2017 and Sarah Regan, who shared the award in 2003.

Other national award winners announced during the All-Canadian Banquet held in Kingston, Ont. were UBC defender Sarah Rollins, who was named rookie of the year; Hannah Miller of Trinity Western, who won the Student-Athlete Community Service Award; and StFX head coach Graham Kennedy, who was honoured by his peers as the Fox40 coach of the year.

The 2023 U SPORTS championship gets underway Thursday at the Richardson Stadium and culminates Sunday with the national championship game at 3 p.m. Eastern. All 11 games from the eight-team tournament will be webcast live on CBC digital platforms in English, along with and in French.

Official championship website: 

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CHANTAL NAVERT MEMORIAL AWARD (player of the year): Katalin Tolnai, UBC

Katalin Tolnai has won the Chantal Navert Memorial Award after the fourth-year forward had a record-setting season.  In a most memorable year, Tolnai tied her former teammate, Danielle Steer's record of 22 points in a single season having scored 14 goals with eight assists. Those 22 points were seven more than any other Canada West player in 2023.

Scoring a hat trick and adding four assists against Winnipeg, Tolnai set a new program record and tied the all-time Canada West mark with seven points in a single game. It was the first of three hat tricks the Toronto native managed over the course of the year. Twice this season, the Torontonian was named U SPORTS Women's Soccer Player of the Week.

She was a driving force behind the Thunderbirds' outstanding regular season and her goal in UBC’s quarter-final game against the Regina Cougars propelled the blue and gold into the Canada West semifinals for an eighth straight season.

Other nominees:

  • AUS: Alliyah Rowe (Cape Breton)
  • RSEQ: Daphnée Blouin (Laval)
  • OUA: Cassandra Provost (Ottawa)

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Sarah Rollins played and started in 13 of UBC’s 14 regular season games in 2023. The Toronto native only once played less than a full 90 minutes, that being an 84-minute road match in Kelowna, a game in which she scored her first career goal for the Thunderbirds on what proved to be the game winner.

Rollins finished the year with a pair of goals – both game winners – and an assist. But her stellar work on her own half of the pitch drew accolades week in and week out, noted as one of the conference’s top defenders early in her rookie season. Along with her fellow defenders, Rollins helped UBC to a conference leading defence conceding just five goals in 14 regular season games.

Rollins becomes the second Thunderbird in the last three seasons to win national Rookie of the Year honours.

Other nominees:

  • AUS: Cara Freeman (Saint Mary’s)
  • RSEQ: Florence Thibeault (Laval)
  • OUA: Leda Naihin (Queen’s)

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Hannah Miller, a fifth-year goalkeeper who hails from Langley, B.C., is an outstanding servant leader who has modelled what it means to give back throughout her time as a student-athlete. She has exemplified what it means to give of herself for the sake of others and has dedicated much of her career to serving in so many ways, places and settings.

She is a coordinator of a TeamUp Camp for underserved and underprivileged kids each summer in Chilliwack, helping coordinate athletes and coaches to provide opportunities for about 200 kids to have a fun-filled weeklong sports camp experience. She volunteers and leads a sport outreach, run by TeamUp Canada, that focuses on helping kids from displaced/refugee families in the Edmonds community of Burnaby B.C. She serves regularly in coaching and coordinating volunteers at the Edmonds TeamUp program on a weekly basis.

Miller served as a participant and junior leader on international IMPACT trips to Peru, Paraguay and Uganda in the last 12-18 months. In July, she joined 16 other athletes who travelled to Uganda to provide life changing opportunities through sport to hundreds of kids in six different communities. She also helped TeamUp Canada facilitate leadership training for local leaders and participated in elevating the role of women in sport and providing opportunities for young girls to participate in sports programs that she and her athletes led during the 17-day project.

Other nominees:

  • AUS: Zoë Rowe (Memorial)
  • RSEQ: Tiffany Smith (Bishop’s)
  • OUA: Katrina Pappas (Ontario Tech)

Kennedy_Graham-1.jpg (54 KB)FOX40 COACH OF THE YEAR: Graham Kennedy, STFX

STFX X-Women head coach Graham Kennedy has been selected as the Fox40 Coach of the Year in Women’s Soccer. This is his first win in women’s soccer, but his second overall, as he won the national honour in men’s soccer in 2010. In his eleventh season as head coach of the X-Women program, Kennedy led them to an undefeated 12-0-0 record, a first-place finish in the regular season standings and an AUS Championship.

The X-Women, who are the No. 3 seed at this week’s U SPORTS championship were the only team in the nation to win all of their regular season games and they allowed just three goals against all season—a league and U SPORTS best—for a goals against average of 0.25. They managed a league-leading nine shutouts this season and finished with 48 goals, second only to Ottawa in the country.

Kennedy becomes the first person to win national coach of the year in both men’s and women’s soccer. He is also the first winner of this national award StFX.

Other nominees:

  • RSEQ: Jose-Luis Valdes (McGill)
  • OUA : Dave McDowell (Queen’s)
  • CW: Jesse Symons (UBC)

The All-Canadian and All-Rookie teams were also announced Wednesday. The full list of honorees follows.


Chantal Navert Award (player of the year): Katalin Tolnai, UBC

Rookie of the year: Sarah Rollins, UBC

Student-Athlete Community Service Award: Hannah Miller, Trinity Western

Fox40 Coach of the year: Graham Kennedy, StFX

First Team All-Canadians

Name                                      School                   Pos    Yr    Hometown                                             Academic Program

Dakota Beckett          UBC                GK    2    Langley, B.C.                           Arts

Avarie Thomas           Western          D      3    London, Ont.                           Kinesiology

Stephanie Hill             McGill              D      3    Dollard des Ormeaux, Que.      Physical Therapy

Sarah Rollins              UBC                D      1     Toronto, Ont.                           Kinesiology

Mara Bouchard          McGill              MF    3    Granby, Que.                           Psychology

Daphnée Blouin          Laval               F       5    Quebec City, Que.                   Design (Master’s)

Christina Gomes         Guelph            F       3    Bradford, Ont.                         Psychology

Cassandra Provost     Ottawa            F       3    Acton Vale, Que.                      Accounting

Alliyah Rowe               Cape Breton    F       4    Kitchener, Ont.                        Arts

Amanda Smith            STFX               F       5    Ottawa, Ont.                            Education

Katalin Tolnai             UBC                F       4    Toronto, Ont.                           Unclassified


Second Team All-Canadians

Name                                   School                    Pos     Yr    Hometown                                     Academic Program

Kirstin Tynan            Queen’s            GK    3    North Vancouver, B.C.        Political Studies

Abby Steen              StFX                 D       3    Stittsville, Ont.                    Business

Grace Hannaford      Cape Breton     MF    2    Hammonds Plains, N.S.       Science

Jade Abreo              McMaster         MF    2    Mississauga, Ont.               Life Sciences

Kendra Couto           Queen’s            MF    2    Aylmer, Ont.                       Engineering

Sofia DiGiacomo      Calgary            MF    3    Calgary, Alta.                      Arts

Elsa Lessard            Laval                MF    2    Ste-Julie, Que.                   Business

Rachel Barlow          Calgary            F       4    Calgary, Alta.                      Kinesiology

Erika Bastien            Montréal           F       5    Repentigny, Que.                Sport Management

Sydney Kennedy      Acadia                F       5    Fletchers Lake, N.S.           Independent Student


All-Rookie Team

Name                                        School                     Pos     Hometown                        Academic Program

Ellie Lancaster             Cape Breton     GK    Fall River, N.S.           Arts

Jenny Harrison            Sherbrooke       GK    Sherbrooke, Que.      Special Education

Gabrielle Ferland         Ottawa             D       Ottawa, Ont.              International Development & Globalization

Julia Kittelson              Calgary             D       Calgary, Alta.             Arts

Florence Thibeault       Laval                 D       Repentigny, Que.       Medicine

Sarah Rollins               UBC                  D       Toronto, Ont.             Kinesiology

Cheyenne Bower         StFX                 MF    London, Ont.             Human Kinetics

Ravina Braich               McMaster         MF    Oakville, Ont.             Biomedical Eng. & Health Sciences

Tamara Djurisic            Mount Royal     MF    Edmonton, Alta.         Physical Education

Sara Ricciardelli           Montréal           MF    Montreal, Que.           Architecture

Cara Freeman              Saint Mary’s      F       Halifax, N.S.               Science

Leda Naihin                 Queen’s            F       Markham, Ont.           Kinesiology

(Teams listed in alphabetical order by position. Teams are chosen without regard to position.)