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Women’s varsity team triumphant at home

Maclaine Chadwick | Fulcrum Staff

WHO NEEDS THE home team advantage? The University of Ottawa women’s soccer team doesn’t seem fazed when they play away from home. They perform as well on the road as they do when they play on Matt Anthony Field. After a successful string of exhibition matches, winning five consecutive games, the Gees marked the beginning of the regular season at home with back-to-back victories over the Ryerson University Rams and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.

Reign over Ryerson

The Gees wasted no time getting ahead of Ryerson during the first game on Sept. 1. Fourth-year striker Christine Hardie scored a beautiful top-corner goal eight minutes in. Her goal was soon followed by an excellent demonstration of teamwork by Sarah de Carufel, who set up a goal for Pilar Khoury. By halftime, the Gee-Gees had already racked up four goals on the Rams, whose offense couldn’t keep up.

During the second half, the Gee-Gees were playing with the comfort of a four-goal lead, and kept scoring on Ryerson’s quickly tiring defence.

Head coach Steve Johnson felt the exhibition tour helped the team come together.

“The chance to be able to go on the road and bring first-year players with you helps them settle in on the team,” he said.

The experience away from home clearly benefitted breakthrough rookie Vanessa MacMillan, who scored her first regular-season goal after a scramble in front of the net during the second half.

By the end of the game, the Gee-Gees had scored six goals by five different players, and goaltenders Cynthia Leblanc and Alexandra Girouard shared a shutout.

Victory against Varsity Blues

In the second home game of the season, the Gees hosted another visiting team from Toronto, the Varsity Blues. It was immediately evident that the Blues were a tougher match for the Gees, who went scoreless in the first half due to Toronto’s strong defensive line and goalkeeping by Sara Petrucci.

Even though they managed to maintain their shutout streak, the Gee-Gees were expecting more from the first 45 minutes of the game.

“In the dressing room we were just trying to get focused and into the game, because our first half wasn’t very good, and we all knew it,” explained MacMillan. “We just tried to pump each other up and really get into the second half.”

Their efforts were successful. After the halftime break, the Gee-Gees came back as strong as ever, scoring five goals to win the game. MacMillan scored her first Ontario University Athletics hat trick, while midfielder Alexandra Jotham and striker Tessa Dimitrakopoulos each recorded their first goals of the regular season.

The women’s soccer team will host the Nipissing University Lakers at Matt Anthony Field on Sept. 8.