The Gaels proved to be the biggest test for the Gee-Gees this season
Under the lights of Matt Anthony Field on a crispy Friday night in October was the perfect scene for the highly anticipated matchup between the Gee-Gees and Golden Gaels.
The stands were packed to watch the two undefeated Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East powerhouses finally clash and put a loss on someone’s record.
The Gee-Gees went into the game knowing that this would be the biggest test for them so far.
While the Gee-Gees lead the OUA in goals scored by a wide margin, the Golden Gaels have only allowed one goal against them in the 2021 season.
At 7 P.M., the first whistle blew, and the game was underway.
While the opening half lacked goals, it did not lack physicality. Though, it felt as if every whistle went in favour of the Gaels. Regardless, shots went wide, high, or into the hands of the goalies on either side of the field.
Gee-Gees head coach Steve Johnson noted the slow start for both teams.
“We haven’t played against a team as strong as Queen’s this year, and the same for them, so I think both teams were a little cautious at the start,” Johnson said.
Both teams came out with a newfound energy after the halftime break. After the first six minutes of the second half, Raya Athwal sent the ball for a high cross from the corner of Gee-Gees territory. Jenna Matsukuno attacked the ball headfirst to find the back of the net.
Queen’s led 1-0, but the Gee-Gees remained unfazed.
The U of O decided to keep the fans on the edge of their seats, waiting for the last seven minutes to tie up the game.
It was a cross inside the box from Sadie Sider-Echenberg to get the Queen’s goalie out of place for Allana Oriente to step in and tap the ball into the net.
The Garnet and Grey were not done there.
The scoreboard said 1-1, and the clock was paused as the game entered extra time.
The Gaels fought hard to keep the ball out of their end of the field, but the Gee-Gees did not slow down.
Trinity Esprit demanded respect on the sideline, outrunning every Queen’s player to keep the ball in Gee-Gees possession. Katerine Delev and Hailey Walsh also played their part in controlling the ball for the U of O.
It was a long shot in the final seconds of play that secured the victory for the Gee-Gees.
Angelina Gendreau is no stranger to scoring goals, even ones from 25 yards away on the left side of the field.
I couldn’t tell you who was louder: the excited crowd, or Gendreau’s teammates knowing she had just closed out the game for them.
“It was 20 or 30 yards maybe, I’m just on a high right now,” Gendreau said after the game.
The comeback victory is not only thrilling, but shows that the Gee-Gees cannot be put down so easily.
“Second half we went down a goal but we’ve been down before. We came back really well and I’m happy with how the team responded,” Johnson said.
The win proves the Gee-Gees are the top dog in the OUA East, but the weekend is not over for them just yet. On Sunday, the team will hit the road and take on York University, their first opponent of the season. In their Sept. 25 matchup, the Gee-Gees won 4-0.