Photo: Marta Kierkus
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Cowan shines in 4-3 win over rival Carleton Ravens, keeps season perfect

The Gee-Gees women’s soccer team had a phenomenal season heading into the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) playoffs, and after a first round bye the Gees came face-to-face with their fiercest rival.

The Carleton Ravens were coming into the game flying high from a win over the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks.

For the Gee-Gees, the game was about getting prepared for playoff action and performing at a level that deserves a national title.

The first half of the match was dominated by the Gees as fifth-year captain Julia Francki scored in the eighth minute, giving the Gees an early lead.

A few seconds earlier, the Ravens were given a red card and forced to play a man short for the match. The Gees jumped on this opportunity with another goal in the 20th minute from Ellie Cowan.

It looked like the Gee-Gees were preparing to simply close out the game and secure their win, but the Ravens had other plans.

Midfielder Tina Lacava scored in the 58th minute to spark the Ravens’ offence, who would tie the game in front of a crowded net 11 minutes later.

The fever of the match wouldn’t end there, Cowan would score her second of the match to put the Gee-Gees up 3-2 in the 74th minute.  Lacava and the Ravens would continue to hang with the Gees as the midfielder tied the game for a third time and send it to overtime.

In the first of the two 15-minute periods, striker Victoria Marchand was two-foot slide tackled, giving her a torn lip and bloody mouth. It was less than a minute after this turning point that fifth-year striker Pilar Khoury scored to give the Gee-Gees their game-winning goal.

After playing staunch defence for the final 15 minutes, the Gees secured their trip to the OUA final four.

“The first half we were great, we were attacking,” said Gee-Gees head coach Steve Johnson. “We forced a hand ball in the box and got a player ejected so they were playing with 10… the second half we were probably the architects of our own demise, we gifted them opportunities and we didn’t play as well defensively as we should’ve.”

For Julia Francki, the win was sweet, taking out a rival and getting one step closer to the team’s goal of being national champions.

“That game in general sums up a playoff game,” said Francki. “You have to expect the unexpected. Even though the second half wasn’t as good, we didn’t give up.”

The Gee-Gees will now be the host of the final four, and look to take home another OUA championship at home.

“We’ve got to look at who our first round opponent is and prepare for Saturday,” said Johnson.

As for anything further than the OUA championship, Francki says the Gees aren’t packing their bags for the CIS championship quite yet—they still have some business to attend to.

“We have to take it one game at a time, but of course it’s the ultimate goal.”