Sunday, 25 September 2011

University Women: Queen's Gaels 2, Ryerson Rams 0

On Saturday afternoon, the Queen's University Gaels women's soccer team faced off against the Ryerson Rams at Richardson Stadium. The day was wet with a misty drizzle coming down all afternoon and a sense of mugginess in the air.

I was scheduled to be an assistant referee for this game, AR2 to be specific. The second AR inhabits the side of the field away from the benches, and is generally responsible for taking game notes and timing to assist the referee.

We wore a set of reds for the game, I'd just picked one up earlier in the week in a long sleeve. I figured that the long sleeve would be quite hot to wear, but it worked out quite well with the rain coming down, allowing me to keep some warmth despite the damp weather. Queen's came out wearing their gold jerseys as OUA teams have a policy of wearing their light colours in the first weekend game and their dark colours in the second game. To counter, Ryerson wore a nice royal blue set of uniforms.

The game started off with both teams feeling each other out and trying to get used to the ball movement on the slick grass. Ryerson's back line centre back pairing of Elyse Hanec and Sarah Slattery had a tendency to drop back behind the rest of the defensive line to allow for the way that through balls were skipping through. The speed of the balls was causing problems for the Queen's front line of Jacqueline Tessier and Kelli Chamberlain as they were often unable to catch up to the ball, despite their speed.

Queen's found it easier to put pressure on Ryerson with Ryerson's 4-5-1 formation. Queen's was playing a standard 4-4-2, but kept pushing up one wing back to have a 3-5-2 formation when attacking. One of these attacks led to an early goal by left midfielder Riley Filion in the 13th minute from a cross.

There were a number of fouls in the game, but most of them were caused by the players from both teams slipping on the grass. Almost every player had good cleats, but I can attest to the slipperiness of the field, as I was sliding at times while running the line. The first caution of the game came in the 23rd minute as Ryerson's centre midfielder Leah Semeniuk tripped one of the Queen's players, catching her just below her shinpad, bringing her down and forcing the trainer to come and tend to the injury.

The remainder of the first half was fairly uneventful with Queen's making two substitutions late in the half and Ryerson sticking with their starting eleven for the entire half. After a short break for half-time, the teams were ready to continue. At this time, the rain had let up and some sun was even peeking through the clouds.
Queen's got off to a strong start, putting a lot of pressure on Ryerson right from the kickoff. The pressure paid off in the 52nd minute as Kelli Chamberlain latched onto a through ball, beat her defender and fired a low shot into the net to give Queen's a 2-0 lead. Ryerson was having trouble generating much offense, and this was partly due to their only playing a single striker. Every time she got the ball, she found herself isolated from the rest of her team and was often covered by two Queen's players. This smothering defense limited the number of shots that Chantal Marson had to face.

Late in the game, Ryerson was finally able to exert more pressure as they pushed one of their defenders into the midfield and a midfielder forward. This led to a few chances late in the game, only a couple of which were dangerous and on target. One of the chances came in the 90th minute after Lindsay Rea received a caution for pulling down Ryerson's best player (and captain), Andrea Raso. The free kick was taken, took a deflection, but Queen's was able to clear the ball and celebrated with the final whistle.

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