Field hockey wins bronze

Team breaks streak and beats Guelph on Sunday

After a shootout loss to Toronto in the OUA semi-finals the women’s field hockey team earned a bronze medal with a win over the Guelph Gryphons on Sunday. The Gaels started and finished their playoffs with three games in three days.

The Gaels’ played Waterloo in the quarter-final. Queen’s beat the Warriors twice in the regular season but it was almost halfway through Friday’s game when the Gaels got their first goal.

“We started a little flat,” head coach Chris McArdle said. “We scored about five minutes before halftime which really helped us settle down.”

Only a few minutes into the second half the Gaels scored the second and final goal of the match, advancing to the OUA semi-finals against the undefeated University of Toronto Varsity Blues.

“Everyone was pretty confident going in,” McArdle said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game but we felt we could beat them.

“We had nothing to be afraid of.”

McArdle said a sound game plan was an important part of Saturday’s game.

“They’ve got a lot of good passers and veterans on the team, but they’re probably not the quickest team in the league,” he said. “They have some of the best defenders in the league, but they’re not as quick as our forwards.”

The Gaels and Toronto fought to a scoreless draw.

“It was a pretty even game,” McArdle said. “I felt we were getting stronger at the end.”

Since there is no overtime in OUA play, the game went straight into a shootout.

“Another 10 to 15 minutes of overtime would probably have been in our favour,” McArdle said. But, he added that his team was prepared for the possibility of a shootout.

“This year we had been practicing penalties for the last few weeks, just to be prepared for this,” he said. “I felt pretty good about our chances.”

McArdle selected three OUA all-stars to begin the shootout. Emily Newton, a second-team OUA all-star, led the Gaels and was followed by first-team all-stars Michelle Fortner and Kirsten Jewell.

All five shooters for both teams failed to score and it wasn’t until Toronto’s 10th shooter that a goal was finally scored. The win gave the Blues a berth at the national championships.

After losing to Toronto the Gaels looked to the bronze medal game against Guelph, who had lost to York.

The Gaels edged Guelph by a score of 1-0 to take the bronze.

“You could tell that Guelph seemed a bit down today,” McArdle said. “[Our] team did a really good job of staying focused and putting in a good effort.”

The Gaels have lost in the bronze medal game three years in a row and McArdle said the team wanted to break that streak.

“I’ve stressed with the girls that the team that has won the bronze medal has gone on to next years’ nationals for the past three years,” he said. “We needed to finish the season on a high note.”

With this in mind, McArdle is optimistic about next season.

“We’re only losing three, maybe four players,” he said. “We expect the team to be strong again.”

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