Women’s soccer takes two games

Team outscores opposition 9-1

Renee MacLellan slides for the ball Sunday against Nipissing.
Renee MacLellan slides for the ball Sunday against Nipissing.

The women’s soccer team was twice victorious in their home games this past weekend against the Laurentian Voyageurs and the Nipissing Lakers. The Gaels won 5-0 on Saturday and followed up that performance with a 4-1 victory Sunday against Nipissing.

These games followed on the heels of the team’s road trip to North Bay and Sudbury to play Nipissing and Laurentian the previous weekend. The Gaels tied the Lakers 1-1 and the Voyageurs 0-0 in their away games.

After Saturday’s win over Laurentian, midfielder Erin Smith said the women’s team did a much better job taking advantage of goal-scoring opportunities than they had on the road trip.

“We had a lot more heart and we played harder this week—we wanted it more because we were sick of tying,” she said.

Saturday’s women’s game started with early pressure from the Gaels, which paid off in the 16th minute. Striker Renee MacLellan drove the ball home from close range off a cross from Laura Johnstone. Smith added a goal with a blast from 25 yards out and MacLellan scored a breakaway goal to give Queen’s a 3-0 lead at the half. Ali Skinner and Courtney Devane padded the lead in the second half, making the final result 5-0 for the Gaels.

Goalkeeper Katie McKenna, who recorded her fifth consecutive shutout in Saturday’s game, said the team’s play on Saturday was improved significantly from the week before.

“Our possession was better, we took the ball more, and we were more composed: we didn’t let them play their game.”

MacLellan said scoring multiple goals came as a relief for the team.

“It felt good to finally hit the back of the net,” she said. “We’re actually finishing now, and putting what we’ve been doing in practice into the game.”

The next day, the Gaels took to the field against the Lakers on a hot Sunday afternoon.

In contrast to Saturday’s game, Queen’s came out of the gate slowly, and Nipissing forced Gaels’ goalkeeper Hannah Shoichet to make several good saves early on.

The Gaels came on strong towards the end of the first half, and took the lead just before the break when MacLellan took a through ball from fellow striker Claire Parsons and beat the onrushing goalkeeper with a powerful drive into the top left corner of the net.

During the second half, Parsons scored an early goal on a long breakaway. Midfielder Katie Dalziel drove home a Parsons rebound off another breakaway to give the Gaels a 3-0 lead. MacLellan added another goal for Queen’s, and Alexandra Instance replied for the Lakers.

Parsons said the wins showed progress from the previous weekend’s games.

“There’s a lot more positives: we are getting used to each other, we are stepping up, and we are finishing things.” Dalziel said the Gaels still need to improve.

“We played all right, but we were really uncomposed at times,” she said. “We need to be able to string four or five passes together.”

Head coach Dave McDowell said Sunday’s match was a game of two distinct halves.

“I enjoyed the second half,” he said. “I thought we were a little unfocused in the first half, and kind of lost our way in terms of things that make us successful. Some people maybe didn’t have a great first half technically, and kind of sulked and stopped doing those things, so I gave them more than a gentle reminder about it at halftime.”

The team will take on the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on the road next Saturday. The Blues are second in the OUA East division, one point ahead of the Gaels. McDowell said next weekend’s match will be crucial for Queen’s.

“The Toronto game’s a big game,” he said. “[It’s against] the team that’s in front of us in the standings, and if we’re going to catch them, we need to take the three points from that game.”

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