Monday, 12 September 2011

University Women: Queen's Gaels 2, Trent Excalibur 1

Sunday was another good day to go watch a soccer game. I was scheduled to be one of the officials for the second game of the day (the Men's game), and decided to prepare myself by taking in the early game.

I arrived several minutes into the early game, Queen's wearing dark blue and Trent wearing all whites. Last season, Queen's dominated both games with Trent by a combined score of 13-1. This game was far different.

The early tone was set by Queen's, but Trent absorbed the pressure well and made several strong counterattacks. This led to a corner about halfway through the first half; a strong ball was put across the box and Trent striker Brittany Forester rose above one of her teammates and a Queen's defender to nod the ball into the back of the net to give Trent a surprise lead.

With the morale boosting goal, Trent began to take control of the game; moving the ball around well, but lacking a good final touch. As the half wore on, Queen's was able to begin asserting themselves again, and this led to a fantastic shot from the far side of the field by Queen's striker Breanna Burton as she put the ball past the diving Trent GK into the top corner of the net.

When the second half began, Queen's began with a vengeance, pushing and pressing, and using the speed and control of their outside halves to great effect. Riley Filion, who represented Canada at the 26th Summer Universiade this August in Shenzhen, China, was very effective down the left wing, consistently beating her defender and putting in crosses and passes to dangerous places in the area. One of these plays eventually led to the corner that Jessie De Boer poked home for what turned out to be the game winner in the 60th minute.

One player I really noticed on the Trent Excalibur team was their goalkeeper Sarah MacGregor, a first year player from Ottawa. Her positioning was consistently solid, and while she was not the tallest player on the field, she was definitely athletic enough to be able to reach high crosses and shots. The only times she was beaten were on a shot that most every GK would have been beaten on, and a scramble inside the six-yard box that was poked home just past her outreached fingers.

The crowd for this game was similar in size to the one for the Ottawa game, and was bolstered by a number of fans from Trent. Everyone seemed to enjoy the close battle, and relief was evident on the faces of the Queen's players at the end of the match as they came away with the three points.

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