Saturday, 12 November 2011

CIS Women's Championship - Consolation Semi-Finals

After a busy first day at the CIS women's soccer Championships at McGill, the teams for the consolation bracket had been determined.

The first consolation semi-final featured the Alberta Pandas facing off against the Dalhousie Tigers. Both teams had been defeated by OUA teams in the opening games of the Championship, meaning that the best they could do would be fifth overall.

The second consolation final featured a matchup between the Laurier Golden Hawks and the Trinity Western Spartans, the number two team in the country. Both teams had been the better in their quarter-final matches, but both lost in kicks from the mark.

The first game was almost entirely a one-way affair. The Alberta Pandas dominated the match from start to finish, outshooting the Atlantic Champion Dalhousie Tigers 29-4 and getting 10 corners to Dalhousie's one. In fact, the Pandas tallied four shots in the first 12 minutes before Dalhousie got their only shot on target, forcing goalkeeper Kelti Biggs to make her only save of the match.

Alberta scored the winning goal in the 38th minute when midfielder Carleigh Miller set up fifth year striker and All-Canadian Heather Lund for an easy shot into the back of the net and a 1-0 lead for Alberta. They tallied a second in the 53rd when Kayla Michaels put the ball onto Miller's foot and she roofed the ball past goalkeeper Taryn McKenna. McKenna made eleven saves in the match, a tournament high, and was named player of the match for the Tigers.

In the second game of the day the Laurier Golden Hawks faced off against the Canada West Champion and second ranked Trinity Western Spartans. In their first games, both teams outplayed their opponents but ended up losing in kicks from the mark.

Barry MacLean (Laurier's coach) had been given a one game suspension by the OUA for his publicized criticism directed towards the game officials regarding the OUA Final as well as last year's CIS final. The controversial remarks were made after last weekend's OUA Final against Queen's Gaels. Assistant coach Niki Budalic took over the reigns for the team for the evening's matchup. Due to some confusion pre-game, both teams started in their dark uniforms, but Laurier changed from their purple tops to their white tops during the half-time break.

Laurier dominated the game getting 20 shots to the Spartans' 7, and took the only three corner kicks of the match. Oddly it was Trinity Western that bagged the only goal of the game, it coming on a broken play and an accidental clearance in the 30th minute of play. Trinity Western striker Daniela Gerig had carried the ball down into the corner and put in a cross that was blocked by defender Sadie Anderson. She tried to clear the ball but hit it right to striker Alicia Tesan. Tesan controlled the ball and volleyed it into the top corner of the net.

Laurier continued to play strongly but goalkeeper Cara Santaga kept them out of the goal. The best opportunities for Laurier both came in the second half; the first coming in the 49th minute when a flurry in front of the net led to two fantastic opportunities for Alyssa Lagonia and then Emily Brown who even managed a shot on goal while lying on her stomach. Santaga made stops on the first two and one of her defenders cleared the ball on the last. The second came in the 69th when Julia Marchese was left wide alone at the back post and headed the ball at net, but just missed the target.

As the game was drawing to a close the Laurier players began to look more and more dejected; almost as though they were losing belief that they could tie the game. It was a disappointing end to the season for a strong Laurier team that saw seven of their starters playing their last game of their university careers in Becca Isaacs, Nicole Currie, Heather Malizia, Tania Pedron, Julia Marchese, Alyssa Lagonia and Sadie Anderson.

The loss for Laurier means that they and the Dalhousie Tigers finish in a tie for 7th this year. These results also confirm the third and fourth seeds for the 2012 CIS Championships being held at the University of Victoria. The 2012 Canada West Champions will hold the third seed while the Atlantic Champions will once again hold the fourth.

The consolation final (also known as the "5th place game") goes Saturday evening at 19:30ET between the Alberta Pandas and the Trinity Western Spartans in a rematch of last weekend's Canada West final. That game was won by the Spartans in kicks from the mark after the game finished 1-1.

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