Friday, 11 November 2011

CIS Women's Championship - Quarter-Finals 3 and 4

Yesterday, the CIS Women's Championships began in Montreal at McGill University's Percival Molson Stadium. After the opening matches both finished in close games, the final two quarter-finals of the day were played.

The third match of the day featured the RSEQ Champion Montreal Carabins, top ranked in the country, against the OUA silver medal Laurier Golden Hawks. This was followed by the host McGill Martlets against the number two ranked and CW Champion Trinity Western Spartans.

The winners of these quarter-finals will be playing each other on Saturday afternoon at 16:30ET in the first semi-final, while the losers will face off Friday evening at 19:30ET.

Last weekend at the OUA Final Four, the Laurier Golden Hawks played the Queen's Gaels to a scoreless 120 minutes before dropping the game in kicks from the mark. Today, the Hawks played the top-ranked Carabins for another 120 minutes. Coming out of the starting gates, the Hawks were the stronger team, dominating the game with their offensively-minded lineup.

Montreal lined up against them with a 4-5-1 formation, packing the midfield in an attempt to limit the play of CIS Player of the Year Alyssa Lagonia. The only real chances of the half for either team came in the opening minutes of play when Lagonia got two good shots on goal but was unable to beat Montreal's goalkeeper Martine Julien. The teams went into the half with an evenly matched 0-0 score.

Laurier started the second half strongly and their pressure paid off in the 59th minute when the ball came across the area to midfielder Heather Malizia. She took a curling shot toward the far post that deflected off of one of the defenders and left Julien helpless, giving Laurier a 1-0 lead.

The Carabins began putting on the pressure and late in the half midfielder Veronique Maranda put the ball toward the Laurier goal. The country's top scorer, Éva Thouvenot-Hébert did not disappoint, getting her head onto it and flicking it toward the back post, just out of reach of goalkeeper Mallory Woeller to level the score at 1-1.

The game was on to extra time. In the additional periods both teams had a fantastic chance to grab a goal, but neither was able to do so. Montreal's Chloe Sabourin fired a nice low shot in that was parried away by Woeller's diving save. Moments later Laurier striker Julia Marchese beat Julien but could not beat the far post. Onto kicks from the mark!

The first three shoots from each team were perfect, each placing the ball perfectly and not giving either goalkeeper a chance. Lagonia stepped up and tried to place the ball inside the left post but did not hit it with sufficient pace and Julien was able to leap over and get her hands onto the ball to keep it out. Montreal scored to make the score 4-3 and then Julien came up big against Sadie Anderson giving Montreal the win. Scoring for Montreal in the penalties were Valérie Labelle, Aurélie Tremblay, Emmanuelle Béliveau-Labrecque, and Chloe Bouclin-Sabourin. Scoring for Laurier were Kelsey Tikka, Becca Isaacs, and Tania Pedron.

The final game of the day between the Trinity Western Spartans and host McGill Martlets was equally exciting. Trinity Western were heavy favourites coming into the game against the host team but the Martlets showed no lack of confidence as they went out against the Spartans and played them evenly for the game. Neither team had many good chances as both played a strong defensive game with McGill shutting down CIS Coach of the Year Graham Roxburgh's Spartans. Each team managed nine shots in the regulation ninety minutes and goalkeepers Kristen Funk of Trinity Western and Victoria Muccilli of McGill let nothing past them.

Trinity Western had the better opportunities in extra time with a pair of corners and four shots, doubling McGill in both categories, but Muccilli stood her ground and the game was onto kicks after a scoreless draw. Trinity Western came into the game having posted eight straight wins at the CIS Championships, seven of them came without surrendering a goal, and three championships, all since 2001.

The first taker for each team scored well, but Muccilli came up big on the Spartans' second shooter, Natalie Boyd, diving to her right and taking the ball off of her knee. Mucilli faced the next shooter, Coleen Webber, with a defiant look on her face and slid feet first to her left blocking the poorly taken shot with her shins, giving Selena Colarossi a chance to win with her next kick. Colarossi made no mistake as her shot bulged the twine and gave McGill the win 4-1 to set up an all-RSEQ semi-final against Montreal.

Julia Bahen, Kelsey Wilson, Laura Bland-Lasso, and Selena Colarossi tallied for McGill while Jullian Dietrich scored the Spartans' lone goal. Spartans' goalkeeper Funk, a first team All-Canadian, injured herself on the shot by Bland-Lasso but stayed in for the final McGill shooter. Unfortunately, she had to be carried off the field on a stretcher as McGill celebrated.

Trinity Western now faces the Laurier Golden Hawks in the second consolation semi-final at 19:30ET Friday, while Montreal and McGill face off in an all-Quebec semi-final Saturday at 16:30ET, with the winner meeting the winner of the all-Ontario semi-final between Ottawa and Queen's in the championship game at 16:00ET on Sunday.

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