Reading Time: 3 minutes

U of O women’s soccer team loses valiantly to Golden Gaels in first place match

FANS HAD NO idea what they were in for when they started trickling into the stands at Matt Anthony Field on a cold Wednesday night. They sat with anticipation while they watched the goals rack up in what was supposed to be the best game of the season.

The Oct. 5 women’s soccer game against the undefeated Queen’s Golden Gaels promised to be a fierce battle but with both teams tied for first in the Ontario University Association (OUA) Eastern division, the stakes were even higher, and this was reflected in the level of play of both teams.

“I thought it was a terrific game to watch,” said Ottawa head coach Steve Johnson. “It was fast, it was physical … That’s the quality of the team that we want to be able to beat.”

The game, which resulted in a dis- appointing 3-2 loss for the Gees, was matched with quick runs at the front and cool yet quick-footed possession throughout the back and midfield. Gaels’ striker Jacqueline Tessier’s quick shot from the top left corner of the 18- yard box set the pace for the rest of the game. With the Gaels up 1-0, the Gees were forced to step it up.

A few minutes later, Gees second- year forward Elisabeth Wong responded with a strike of her own, placing it just inside the near post.

“They got one early so that kind of made us wake up a little bit,” explained Gees captain, Gillian Baggott, “We came back and we were all over them, just like they were all over us.”

Tessier retaliated and was able to score her second goal in 12 minutes on what seemed to be an offside play. Wong put another one in before the end of the first half, bringing the score to 2-2 by halftime.

The second half proved to be another extremely physical game of possession. Third-year striker Christine Hardie was shut down at the top of the Queen’s 18th. Queen’s countered with their own quick
attack, but also stopped at the top of the box. This strong offensive, however, led to a Gaels corner, resulting in their third goal off a flick header.

“We always practice set pieces, so it’s too bad they got one off that,” remarked Baggott.

The constant pressure from both teams in the second half led to multiple turnovers and a couple close calls for each. Ultimately, the Gees were unable to recuperate from the latest Queen’s of- fensive.

“We were close,” said Johnson. “But lapses in concentration at critical mo- ments left us trying to score three when really two should have been enough.”

Even Gaels’ head coach Dave McDowell mentioned that the game was a little close for comfort.

“I thought it was a little bit more exciting than maybe I needed or the coaching staff probably wanted it to be, in terms of scoring,” he admitted. “It’s usually 0-0 or 1-0, so to get a 3-2 game and to have scored four goals in one half was a little bit crazy for us.”

The Gees are now ranked third in the OUA Eastern division, trailing the University of Toronto Varsity Blues by two points. With another four games left, they are not taking this position for granted.

“If we keep working the way we do and keep everything up, then we have a good chance [of clinching home field],” said Baggott, “But we have a lot of work to do and there are a lot of good teams, so we need to play hard. It’s not going to
come easy.”

The Gees (8-1-3) will play Carleton Uni- versity (6-2-4) on Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m. and will host Trent University (1-2-9) at Matt Anthony Field on Oct. 16 at 1 p.m.