Queen’s hands Ottawa first loss

Soccer’s win over top-ranked Gee-Gees first in four seasons

Claire Parsons (7) goes up for a header Wednesday as Katie Dalziel looks on.
Claire Parsons (7) goes up for a header Wednesday as Katie Dalziel looks on.

The women’s soccer team beat Canada’s top-ranked team, the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, at Richardson Stadium Wednesday. The Gaels were outside the top 10 in the rankings at the time, but it didn’t show on the field, and the team came away with a 1-0 victory.

It was the first win against Ottawa for Queen’s since Sept. 27, 2003, a span of eight games.

Fourth-year winger Laura Johnstone said the victory was a significant one for the Gaels.

“It was a great game,” she said. “Ottawa’s always a very well-fought battle; they’re a good team.”

Johnstone scored for the Gaels in the 63rd minute, launching a 40-yard free kick that took an odd bounce in the box and beat Ottawa goalkeeper Katarina Vulic. It was an unusual play, as the kick was from the left wing and Johnstone was playing on the right side at the time. Left winger Katie Dalziel was set to take the kick, but head coach Dave McDowell signalled for Johnstone to step up instead at the last minute.

Johnstone said she originally intended to set up a teammate rather than take a shot at goal.

“I think just as I was taking it, the wind was blowing, because I was definitely going across with it,” she said.

“It had a sweet curve on it, and the goalie was out of position.”

Dalziel said she was disappointed the coach called her off, but happy with the result.

“LJ [Johnstone] took a great free kick, and she’s fabulous at taking them, so good for her,” she said. “It was a great goal, and I couldn’t be happier.”

McDowell said the change was due to the long distance of the free kick.

“LJ tends to hit a longer ball,” he said. “It was more her range; she hits that ball much more effectively. Katie could hit it from a little closer.”

The Gaels were facing a tough task going into the game. Ottawa was 9-0-0 and had outscored their opponents 28-3.

In addition, the Gee-Gees’ roster boasted stars such as Courtney Luscombe, who racked up four goals in Ottawa’s previous two games and was named the CIS Female Player of the Week for the week ending Sept. 30.

Gaels goalkeeper Hannah Shoichet made four saves to earn the shutout. Shoichet said she was confident about keeping the Gee-Gees off the scoresheet.

“We played very well against them the last time we played,” she said.

“It was unlucky that we let in that one goal [in the last game against Ottawa], so I was definitely confident that we could keep them out of our net this time.”

Shoichet said the team is continuing to build for the post-season.

“We’re steadily improving this year,” she said. “We definitely relished the challenge today. ”

This weekend, the Gaels travelled to Peterborough and Toronto to take on the Trent Excalibur and the Ryerson Rams.

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