With the opening weekend of the university seasons now underway, it was fitting that the Queen's University Gaels would face off against their cross-town rivals RMC Paladins to start things off.
Over the last few years, the RMC teams have been weaker than Queen's, primarily due to recruiting and admission requirements at RMC, but this weekend's games really showed that gap. The games were both played Sunday afternoon out at the new turf field at West Campus, which is now the home of Queen's soccer. The teams will play their entire home schedules there, but still practice twice a week on the Richardson grass fields.
The women's game kicked off first, at noon on a hot and humid Sunday, and the Gaels struck early on a tenth minute goal from Breanna Burton. Jessie de Boer doubled the lead fifteen minutes later before Jacqueline Tessier opened her account with a goal in the 38th minute. The Gaels tallied twice more before half-time, with Riley Filion's 45th minute goal and Jennier Siu's goal less than a minute later. Siu scored again in the second half in the 72nd minute to round out a 6-0 result. The Gaels played a number of their younger players in the second half and did not look as much of a scoring threat as they had in the first. Olivia Clarke stood out for RMC in goal, facing 20 shots on target and stopping 14 of them.
With the women's game over, some of the crowd left, but they were replaced by others, and the stands remained fairly full for the men's season opening matchup. Despite the early goal in the women's game, the men's game managed to outdo them. On their first attack of the season, the Gaels took an early 1-0 lead when Eric Koskins scored just over a minute into the game. Henry Bloemen doubled the lead in the 40th minute. The Gaels scored twice to start the second half with a penalty kick goal from Joe Zupo in the 49th minute and a long distance goal from Chris Michael in the 56th minute. The scoring was completed in the 5-0 win when Andrew Martin scored in the 81st minute. Much of the first half was fairly even between the two teams in terms of midfield play, as RMC's fitness and strong pressure made up for the one-touch passing of the Queen's team. Where Queen's really outmatched RMC was in their final third, as the Queen's defence was able to mop up everything and only gave up a single shot on target in the game.
The Queen's women play again this Wednesday night at home against the Ottawa Gee-Gees at 7pm on the West Campus field. Both Queen's teams head up to Toronto for a double-header this weekend, facing Ryerson at Lamport Stadium on Saturday (1pm and 3:15pm) and University of Toronto at Varsity Stadium on Sunday (1pm and 3:15pm). RMC also heads up that way and plays Toronto on Saturday, and Ryerson on Sunday afternoon.
The St. Lawrence Vikings were also in action this weekend with the women playing their final pre-season game. They faced off against Ajax United's women's competitive team. The Vikings loaned four of their players to Ajax and fell behind early in the game. They tied the game up just before half-time on a goal from Ashley Belmore and took the lead early in the second half from Stefanie Lelenka. Ajax scored twice soon after and ended up winning the game 3-2. After the Vikings' 3-3 draw against RMC earlier in the week where they were up 3-1 before two late goals tied the game, the Viking women will have to defend against mental breakdowns on giving up goals, but things look promising for their season. Sportsgate Kingston and SLC Athletics have each posted photo galleries from this match.
The Vikings open their 2012 season in Scarborough this Saturday against Centennial College with the women kicking off at 1pm and the men at 3pm.
Elsewhere in town, the Cataraqui Clippers clinched second place in the Men's C2 division in the Ottawa-Carleton Soccer League this past week as they tied the first place Gloucester Celtic 1-1 on a goal from Nicholas Pakis, his third of the season. They wrapped the season up with a 10-2-3 record after 15 games, four points back of first, and four points ahead of third place.
Update: Queen's women's soccer sits in top spot in the CIS top 10 rankings, while the men's team sits outside the top ranked teams in Canada.