Friday, 28 October 2011

OUA Women Playoff preview: Queen's v Carleton

The Queen's Gaels women begin their playoffs this Sunday afternoon at 1pm when they face the Carleton Ravens at Richardson Stadium's new north turf field.

The Gaels earned a bye through to the OUA quarter-final round due to their first place finish in the OUA East with a regular season record of 13-1-2, good enough to be ranked 4th overall in the CIS. The Carleton Ravens are coming off of a 5-0 demolition of the Laurentian Lady Vees in the opening round of the playoffs. The Ravens had to play this game due to their fourth place finish in the OUA East with a record of 8-6-2.

Carleton will be coming into the game feeling good about themselves as the Queen's Gaels were only able to play the Lady Vees to a 2-2 draw last Sunday afternoon. Having said that, taking a look at the games between these two teams and the way that they match up, the Ravens have a big task ahead of them if they want to get to the OUA Final Four being played on the weekend of November 5th and 6th.

The Gaels and Ravens faced each other twice during the regular season, the first game coming up in Ottawa. This game was the first of the season for the Gaels and the third for Carleton, but was their home opener. The Gaels, behind the goal scoring strength of Jaqueline Tessier, quickly took charge of the game and had almost put it beyond reach by half-time as Tessier scored a pair of goals in the first half (9th and 39th minutes) to give the Gaels a 2-0 half-time lead. An early goal by Kelli Chamberlain in the second half (54th minute) essentially ended any chance Carleton had of getting back into the game and Riley Filion finished the scoring in the 68th minute to give Queen's a 4-0 final. Chantal Marson posted the clean sheet for Queen's.

A month later, Carleton visited Queen's on a cold and windy Sunday afternoon. Having trouble adapting to the strong winds, the Ravens quickly found themselves trailing the game 1-0 when Kelli Chamberlain scored in the 12th minute. An own goal from a Mikyla Kay corner in the 35th minute gave Queen's a 2-0 lead, one that they kept through to the end of the game due to the clean sheet posted by Chantal Marson. This game was characterized by the constant pressure put on by Queen's, and the Ravens goalkeeper Anna Morsky was one of the main reasons that the difference in scoreline was not larger.

Both teams have very strong goalkeepers, with Morsky being a bit more athletic than Marson, but Marson is much better positionally and works well at organizing her defense. The teams were both very stingy on defense with Queen's giving up 12 goals (3rd in the OUA East) and Carleton 19 (5th in the OUA East).

The biggest split between the two teams is their offensive prowess. The Ravens only have three players with more than two goals on the season, Tina Lacava with 3, Nicole Filipow with 6, and Adrianna Ruggiero with 7. Carleton scored a total of 28 goals on the season (4th in the OUA East). On the other hand, Queen's scored 46 goals, more than anyone in the entire OUA except Ottawa (who tallied 57, including a 10-0 win over Trent). Queen's had six players with five or more goals, including Jaqueline Tessier's 12, second best in the entire CIS. Kelli Chamberlain tallied 8, while both Breanna Burton and Riley Filion finished the season with 6.

Overall, the Queen's Gaels are a much stronger team than the Carleton Ravens, and should come away with a win in regulation time, but when it comes to the playoffs, all bets are off, and it comes down to who gets the bounces, and who can adapt better during the run of play.

The other women's OUA quarter-finals going on this weekend feature York at Laurier at 1pm on Saturday, University of Toronto at Ottawa at 1pm on Sunday, and Windsor at McMaster at 4:30pm on Sunday. The OUA Final Four will be played the following weekend at the top ranked team in the OUA West.

The men's quarter finals are all being played on Sunday afternoon with Laurentian playing at Carleton at 3pm, Windsor at York at 3pm, Ryerson at University of Toronto at 3:15pm, and Guelph at McMaster at 7:30pm. The OUA Final Four will be played the following weekend at the top ranked team in the OUA East.

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