It’s been an eventful week for the women’s soccer team.
Last weekend, the Gaels clinched their third-straight berth at the national tournament with a 3-0 OUA semifinal win over the McMaster Marauders on Saturday and then beat the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks to win the OUA title on Sunday.
On Thursday, they beat the University of Alberta Golden Bears 2-1 in the national quarter-final in Montreal.
Striker Jackie Tessier was on crutches earlier in the week. But she was the star of yesterday’s game, scoring the opening goal and setting up midfielder Alexis McKinty’s game-winner in the 70th minute.
“The winning goal was fantastic,” Tessier said. “I crossed it into the box and [McKinty] had a fantastic shot into the top right-hand corner.”
Head coach Dave McDowell said it was an ugly win.
“It’s not going to go down in the annals as the best technical performance in the world,” he said. “But it’s some motivation to be a little bit better on Saturday.”
The win sets up a national semifinal against the Ottawa Gee-Gees tomorrow. Queen’s beat Ottawa twice this season and finished four points ahead of them in the OUA East. But McDowell said those results won’t matter on Saturday.
“They’re a fantastic team and it’s a national semifinal,” he said. “They’re in the same boat as us with a few injuries.”
Captain Kelli Chamberlain missed the OUA Final Four weekend with a knee injury, but she played the entire game against the Golden Bears. McDowell said it was a major boost to have both Chamberlain and Tessier back in the lineup.
“The two of them just battled through,” he said. “I’m not sure they’re close to 100 per cent.”
Regardless of who’s in the lineup, McDowell said the team’s collective experience will be an asset this weekend.
“In previous years, we might have just been happy qualifying for nationals,” he said. “But this group isn’t happy with just qualifying … your expectations change a bit.”
Winger and OUA East player of the year Riley Filion said the Gaels’ depth at forward makes it manageable to deal with injuries.
“Our subs coming in can score goals,” Filion said. “[Rookie] Breanna Burton came in and played a huge role in our success [last weekend].”
The Gaels are two wins away from their second consecutive CIS Championship — it would be the third in team history. But fifth-year goalkeeper Chantal Marson said this year’s competition is tougher.
“The top teams are all here,” she said. “Anyone has a chance to take the title … our biggest opponent will always be the next team we’re playing.” The Gaels and the Gee-Gees kick off at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow. The winner advances to the gold medal game on Sunday.
— With files from Janina Enrile
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