Wins over Nipissing and Laurentian keep the team’s streak alive
Entering the 2016 season, the Gee-Gees women’s soccer team had to grapple with significant personnel losses, injuries, and lineup tinkering. But now, they are past the halfway point in their regular season, undefeated with a perfect 9-0-0 record.
On Sept. 24 and 25, the team collected two more home wins over Nipissing and Laurentian.
The two wins were essential given that the team has to take to the road for six of their final seven games.
Against Nipissing, the Gee-Gees scored early on a strike from fourth-year midfielder Vanessa El-Asmar, giving the Gees a quick lead to work with.
The Gees defence continued its dominance this season, only allowing six total shots on net throughout the game. Timely scoring has been key for the team, but it’s their defence and goalkeeping that has enabled the team to succeed as much as they have.
Third-year striker Delaney Rickert-Hall added another goal to lock up the win for the Gees.
The following day’s game against Laurentian was more of a test, as the two teams battled to a stalemate throughout the first half.
The Gee-Gees had a tougher time establishing pressure than usual. The Voyageurs always seemed to have an answer when the Gees were looking to take the lead.
In the second half, third-year striker Sophie Curtis was able to convert on a short shot in-front of the net.
Later in the half, midfielder Katherine Bearne lobbed a strike from the left side of the field, which landed directly in the side of the net, giving the Gees a security goal and a 2-0 lead.
But Laurentian didn’t ever accept defeat, handing the Gee-Gees a tough 90-minute effort.
“The other team was really well organized and they fought until the end,” said head coach Steve Johnson.“It was a good team win today. I think it was a balanced good performance from everyone on the field. We used a good amount of subs and I’m happy with the way everyone was able to contribute.”
The star of the weekend for the team was Bearne, who scored once and tallied two assists. Her third year in garnet and grey has been an impressive return after a knee injury left her out of action for an entire season.
“It’s great to be back,” said Bearne. “Last year, I was looking up to a lot of these girls as leaders and my teammates are the reason I’m back out on the field today. So getting that goal with them was a great feeling.”
Bearne and the Gee-Gees are the second-ranked team in the nation, and their road ahead in the upcoming weeks will be the biggest test of the team’s strength.
“We would’ve liked to get some of those big road trips out of the way early,” said Johnson. “This is the time where people start to get sick and the pressure of school becomes a bit more evident.”
Johnson knows the struggle, but believes the team is up to the test. The resilience the team has shown so far will likely ease the blow of a bumpier road to the playoffs.
As of right now, the Gee-Gees are playing their best soccer in years, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to be slowing down anytime soon.
The team will travel to Kingston to take on Queen’s on Sept. 30, before returning home for their final regular season game at Matt Anthony Field. The game against Royal Military College will get underway on Oct. 2 at 1 p.m.