Gee-Gees strikers celebrate a goal in their blowout of Trent. Photo: Kim Wiens.
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Solid road win against UOIT, thrashing of Trent at home proves team is ready for anything

Although the Gee-Gees women’s soccer team may look a little different this year, their first two games of the season have proven that it’s business as usual at Matt Anthony Field in 2016.

The team’s regular season kicked off in Oshawa on Aug. 26, with an impressive 3-1 win over the experienced and tested University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks.

In the 63rd minute, fourth-year midfielder Faythe Lou scored to open the season. Four minutes later, the Surrey, B.C. native found the net again to put the Gees up 2-0.

UOIT attempted a comeback with a goal in the 75th minute, but it was thwarted when fifth-year graduate transfer Breanna Burton fired home her first goal in garnet and grey after a long career in the Queen’s tricolours.

The 3-1 win got the Gees’ season off on the right foot ahead of their home opener against Trent on Sunday.

A win is never easy to come by in Oshawa, especially as the team had an extended training camp and traveled to Sweden together this summer.

“They’re a team I almost consider to be in midseason form,” said head coach Steve Johnson about the Ridge- backs.

“Our performance against UOIT was a team win because we were good defensively. We took some cues from what we saw in the first half and used that to make ourselves better and more dangerous.”

It’s clear that the adjustments the team made in the second half also carried over to their tilt against Trent two days later.

At home on Matt Anthony Field for the first time this year, the Gee-Gees went to work systematically dismantling the Excalibur for a 9-0 blowout win.

Fifth-year striker Victoria Marchand was sensational in the match, scoring twice and narrowly missing on a handful of opportunities.

Fourth-year midfielder Vanessa El-Asma joined Marchand with a two-goal performance of her own.

The game got out of hand quickly for the Excalibur, who registered only two shots on goal in the 90-minute match. Trent was coming off a close 2-1 loss to Carleton earlier in the weekend, which showed vast improvement from their 0-15 season last year.

A blowout is sometimes not a good litmus for how well a team is progressing, because it oftentimes says more about the loser’s team. In this case, the Gee-Gees can take away positives in their stellar defence and ball movement that led to nine goals by seven players.

“(The win) was a product of good setup, good playmaking, and awareness on the field,” said Johnson, the 22-year head coach of the Gees.

Without graduated star scorers Pilar Khoury and Julia Francki, the team has still found a way to score at a high volume.

“Our gameplan has changed a little bit based on the people we lost,” said third-year striker Delaney Rickert-Hall, who scored once and collected an assist in the win.

“We’re trying to play with a little more communication on the field and get away from more long balls we had last year. I think we’re definitely coming along, two games in and two wins, you can’t really ask for anything else.”

The team will now gear up for a big early-season clash with rival Carleton Ravens on Saturday, Sept. 3 at Matt Anthony Field. The game will get underway at 1 p.m.