Women’s soccer reached the OUA quarterfinals this Wednesday night following a dramatic overtime victory over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. The Gaels left Varsity Field triumphant, owing their success to Tara Bartram’s extraordinary winner in the 115th minute — the only goal of the match.
The 1-0 victory extends the team’s point streak to nine straight games.
Queen’s and U of T both ended the season with 28 points, with home advantage being awarded to U of T due to their very slight edge in the standings tiebreaker.
The Gaels will need to keep their streak alive for one more game in order to qualify for the OUA Final Four. They play another knockout match this Sunday afternoon in their quarterfinal match against Laurentian in Sudbury.
The extreme parity of the teams was visible throughout, neither side being able to gain any ground on their opponent. The only separation between the teams would come with just five minutes remaining before penalties, when midfielder Tara Bartram squared up a bouncing ball off a throw-in, and half-volleyed it over the outstretched arm of the Varsity Blues keeper into the
Bartram’s brilliant effort couldn’t be matched, as the Gaels closed out the final five minutes of their stunning victory and eliminated U of T from the OUA playoffs.
Prior to the triumph in Toronto, the Gaels enjoyed a hectic five days, beginning with their Homecoming match against the Nipissing Lakers Saturday afternoon. During the match, the team clinched a
post-season berth with a 3-1 victory in blustery conditions.
Less than 24 hours later, the Gaels followed that victory with a 0-0 draw to the Laurentian Voyageurs, in which they didn’t allow a single shot against. The tie increased their point streak to eight games heading into the playoffs.
Speaking before the match on Wednesday night, midfielder Laura Callender, the game-winning goal scorer in Queen’s playoff-clinching victory on Saturday afternoon, spoke about the importance of the team’s point streak heading into the playoffs.
“We have gained a lot of confidence,” she said. “Going undefeated and allowing only a few goals has been encouraging.”
Callender also discussed the improvements in the team as a whole, from their slow start in the first half of the season, up to the end of the incredibly successful past eight matches.
“We have honed our team defending,” she said. “This has contributed to our improvement in playing more as a connected unit.”
Callender added that the next step to overall success for them in the playoffs would simply be scoring more goals.
“For us … the last piece will be being decisive in the final third of the field and finishing our chances often, because we know during the playoffs it’s a defensive battle.”
“We may only get a few opportunities, so when we do, we need to make it count,” she added.
Knowing that all of the work from the past two months had led up to that one game, and hopefully further into the playoffs, Callender said her team’s desires are clear.
“We are hungry to keep our undefeated streak going.”
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