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 RadioCanada.ca/Sports and USPORTS.ca in French.
Official championship website: usports.ca/en/championships/soccer/f/info
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.
- AUS: Alliyah Rowe (Cape Breton)
- RSEQ: Daphnée Blouin (Laval)
- OUA: Cassandra Provost (Ottawa)
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Sarah Rollins, UBC
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.
- AUS: Cara Freeman (Saint Mary’s)
- RSEQ: Florence Thibeault (Laval)
- OUA: Leda Naihin (Queen’s)
STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Hannah Miller, Trinity Western
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.
- AUS: Zoë Rowe (Memorial)
- RSEQ: Tiffany Smith (Bishop’s)
- OUA: Katrina Pappas (Ontario Tech)
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.
- 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.
2023 U SPORTS WOMEN'S SOCCER AWARDS & ALL-CANADIANS
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
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.)