Thursday, 10 November 2011

CIS Women's Championship - Quarter-Finals 1 and 2

The 2011 CIS Championships began this morning in Montreal at McGill University's Percival Molson Stadium. The opening match featured the Dalhousie Tigers against the Ottawa Gee-Gees and that was followed up with the Queen's Gaels facing the Alberta Pandas.

The winners of these quarter-finals will be playing each other on Saturday afternoon at 13:30ET in the first semi-final, while the losers will face off Friday afternoon at 16:30ET.

Dalhousie came into the game as the Atlantic Champions and the fourth seed overall in the tournament. Ottawa came in as the third OUA team, and the opening minutes of the game showed that the two teams were relatively evenly matched. The play moved from end to end with no really good chances as the two teams felt each other out.

Eventually, the Gee-Gees began taking the upper hand which made the first goal of the game that much more surprising. Dalhousie's Joanna Blodgett fired the ball into Ottawa's penalty area and the ball fell to Dorina Homerski and she buried the ball to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead at half-time.

The second half started completely differently as Ottawa scored three times before the half was nine minutes old. In the 48th, striker Krista Draycott put the ball across the goal and Pilar Khoury tapped it in at the back goal to tie the game up. Within a minute Corina Jarrett put a through ball in for Draycott and she made no mistake and put Ottawa in front 2-1. In the 53rd Draycott put the ball over to Jarrett and she fought off her defender to get a hard shot on target. It beat Dalhousie goalkeeper Taryn McKenna and put Ottawa up 3-1.

Dalhousie did not give up and their pressure paid off as Ottawa defender Candice Smith was cautioned in the 64th minute. On the ensuing free kick put in by Blodgett, Homerski headed the ball into the back of the net to bring the game closer at 3-2. Dalhousie kept pressing Ottawa but they were unable to score again and the game finished with a 3-2 scoreline. In the end Ottawa outshot Dalhousie 17-8. Ottawa also had all ten corners in the match.

In the other game, the defending champion Queen's Gaels were facing the Alberta Pandas. Queen's was able to welcome both Kelli Chamberlain and Jacqueline Tessier back to the lineup. Chamberlain missed the OUA Final Four last weekend after suffering an injury in their OUA quarter-final against the Carleton Ravens, and Tessier left the OUA Final against Laurier last Sunday towards the end of regulation.

The Gaels started strong putting the Pandas under pressure but Alberta responded in kind and both teams had good chances in the first ten minutes of the match. In the 17th minute, Alexis McKinty put a cross over to Tessier and a spectacular bicycle kick from her flew into the top corner of the net to give Queen's the early 1-0 lead. The Pandas had a chance to tie the game when Heather Lund carried the ball up the wing and put it across the face of the Gaels' goal, but no Alberta player could get onto the ball. Queen's had a chance to extend their lead when Breanna Burton was put in on goal by Chamberlain, but goalkeeper Kelti Biggs made a big save to keep the game close at halftime.

Tessier scored almost immediately after the second half began but the goal was called back for being offside. This proved costly as Alberta brought the Queen's shutout streak to an end at 375 minutes in the 65th minute when Kayla Michaels fired a ball into the back of the net when a corner kick fell at her feet. Within five minutes, Tessier returned the favour to McKinty, feeding her a cross that she stepped into and hammered into the back of the net from just outside the penalty area. Dalhousie continued to press and had two chances pulled off the line, one by OUA East MVP Riley Filion and the other by a backpedaling Chantal Marson. Queen's had one more chance when Tessier tried to chip the Pandas goalkeeper but just missed the net.

The win for Queen's means that they play against Ottawa in an all-OUA East semi-final at 13:30ET on Saturday afternoon. Alberta will face off against Dalhousie in the first consolation semi-final, kicking off at 16:30ET on Friday.

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