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Gees still finding their footing coming back from disappointing season

Photo courtesy of Richard Whittaker

After a disappointing end of the season last year when they were eliminated in the quarterfinals by the Queen’s Gaels in penalty kicks, the Gee-Gees women’s soccer team is off to a good start. The Gees hosted the University of Toronto and Ryerson for their opening weekend at the Matt Anthony Field Sept. 6–7. The garnet and grey are sitting at number nine in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) top 10 rankings of 2014 with a 3-1 record.

The Gee-Gees women’s soccer program has a rich history with a total of four CIS silver medals, three bronze medals, and seven Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship titles. Fourth-year midfielder Julia Francki admitted the team had a bit of a tough opening game, but it’s getting better each practice and game.

Saturday, the Gees took on the U of T Varsity Blues, who had slim pickings when it came to goal opportunities.The Gees’ tough defence, forceful offence, and shot-stopping goalie Cynthia LeBlanc gave few openings for the U of T to get the ball to the net.

“Everyone’s been connecting really well, especially in the forwards and the defence,” said second-year defender Anika Littlemore. “We’ve had to adapt as a team, but overall it’s been really good.”

The Gees’ offence created great plays throughout the game. Their first goal began with Francki driving to the net and quickly passing to Pilar Khoury. The speedy forward rushed the defence and slipped the ball to Faythe Lou for the goal. Francki added the second goal to the scoreboard and ended the half with a score of 2-0.

“We had a really good week of practice,” said Francki. “I think it showed, especially in the first half of the game. We came out really strong.”

The Varsity Blues came back stronger in the second. With 12 minutes left on the clock, they got their first goal and kept on the pressure for the rest of the game. Although the Blues had more chances in the second half, it wasn’t enough. The Gees took the win with a 2-1 finish.

“(Head coach Steve Johnson) has been trying some new lineups so we’ve just been trying to find team chemistry,” said Francki. “We still have a lot of things to work on, but it’s getting better. I think everyone has a chance to play. There’s a lot of good opportunities and a lot of good players.”

The following day, the Gees wiped the Ryerson Rams clean. With a final score of 9-0, each player had a chance to showcase her talents. It was a great opportunity for everyone to connect on the field.

“We all have to talk it out and work as a team. That’s something we have to work on,” said Littlemore.“Even though we’re up a couple goals, we have to keep our foot on the gas and put it away.”