The muddy terrain of Richardson Stadium proved to be no home-field advantage for the Gaels’ men’s and women’s soccer teams in their opening playoff games on Wednesday. The women’s team struggled to a 4-1 win over Windsor, while the men fell 2-1 in penalty kicks to the Waterloo Warriors, ending their season.
After nearly a week of constant rain, six weeks of football and soccer action were evident in the torn-up field at Richardson Stadium. Possession was difficult to maintain in both games, and the quality of play was extremely sloppy.
Eilish McConville continued her strong season for the Gaels’ women’s team by opening the scoring on a solid finish from the edge of the 18-yard box. That was the only goal of the first half from what head coach Dave McDowell called a “nervous performance” from his team.
The two teams exchanged goals early in the second half, with Kaley Robinson curling the ball in for the Gaels. The Lancers responded shortly afterward to trim the lead to 2-1.
Queen’s restored their two-goal lead on a beautiful play by Maia Lawson set up by Julia Wilkes and McConville. Laura Vanderlaan rounded out the scoring on a similarly well-built goal to give the Gaels a 4-1 victory.
Despite the decisive score, the game was not easy for the Gaels. McDowell attributed much of his team’s difficulty in the game to the wet, muddy field conditions at Richardson Stadium.
“We [the coaches] didn’t really realize how bad the field conditions were until after the game, when we stepped out there.”
He said he was quite pleased with his team’s finishing during the game, as most of the offensive chances they were afforded resulted in goals.
The men’s team also found the pitch difficult to manage in their matchup with the Warriors.
“The ball was even stopping dead at times during the game,” said head coach Al MacVicar.
The game was tightly contested, with both teams trying to play error-free soccer in this single-elimination game. Waterloo tended to rely on long balls and quick counter-attacks, while the Gaels were looking for more possession-oriented play with quick touch passes.
Queen’s came into the second half looking to play the ball into the box more, but it was Waterloo who opened the scoring 15 minutes into the second half. The Gaels generated some quality scoring chances in response, but were not be rewarded until the 90th minute when Eddie Macedo converted a penalty kick to the game into overtime.
Neither overtime period produced any scoring, sending the game to the dreaded penalty shootout. Five shooters per team solved nothing, as the game continued to the eighth shooter for each side. Waterloo eventually came out victorious with a 7-6 penalty shootout win.
MacVicar was quick to praise his team for their efforts both in this game and all season.
“I’m so proud of the way they’ve competed this season, and to lose this way is always tough,” he said.
The women’s team continue their playoff journey tomorrow at 1 p.m. in London against the Western Mustangs.
While the men are done for the season, MacVicar thanked his assistant coaches Ron Heidebrecht, Kelly McNichol, Ken Roy and Dino Milonas for their support this season. He also credited his captains Eddie Macedo and Jeremy Armstrong for their “tremendous leadership,” and thanked graduating players Macedo, Armstrong, Devin Lake, Nevin deKorompay, Mike Jemcyk and Jared King for their contributions to the program.