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Veterans and young stars pull team through competitive matches

Photo: Marta Kierkus

The University of Ottawa women’s soccer team battled through heat, humidity, and injuries to get their first two wins of the season in back-to-back matches against the Nipissing Lakers, and Laurentian Voyageurs.

Saturday’s game against the Lakers saw a spate of missed opportunities, with the Gees outshooting the Lakers by 22 shots. Fifth-year captains Pilar Khoury’s and Julia Francki’s combined efforts led to the only goal of the game at the 30 minute mark.

“Some teams come in and they’ll either have a great game or average or bad game, and it doesn’t matter what kind of game they’re having, we want to make sure that our standards are still up and our performance is as high as we want it to be,” said Khoury.

“I think in terms of the talent we’ve had and the history that we’ve had, we should’ve been able to put on a better performance than we did,” said coach Steve Johnson. “But we’ve got a lot of new bodies in the lineup so it’s going to take time like it did last year for us to really find our groove.”

The Gee-Gees did just that in another scorching match against the Laurentian Voyageurs on Sunday with a 5-1 final score. Khoury led the charge with two goals five minutes apart, and second-year Delaney Rickert-Hall closed the half with her first goal of the season. The Gees controlled the ball for most of the half, with the Voyageurs putting up only two shots.

The second half saw Francki continue her goal-a-game streak at the 72nd minute, and fourth-year Victoria Marchand got on the scoreboard. Laurentian midfielder, Sara Fitzgerald, spoiled the shutout with a goal in extra time.

A slew of injuries meant many first- and second-year players got onto the pitch—and the scoreboard.

First-years Ellie Cowan, Brooklynn McAlear-Fanus and Thea Nour in particular, gave great performances in the first game, said coach Johnson.

“It’s good and bad,” said Khoury. “It’s bad obviously because you have all the injuries, but then you’re giving opportunities to players who don’t necessarily get those playing times to come out and we saw that today.”

“Everyone’s expected to give as much as the rest, there’s nothing about I’m a fifth year and you’re a first-year so there’s less of an expectation, the expectation comes in for everyone.”

The Gee-Gees women’s soccer team continues their homestand next weekend against Trent and UOIT on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.

-With files from Spencer Murdock.