­Soccer wins & ties

Up-and-down weekend for men and women

Gaels’ rookie striker Danielle Gibson (16) launches a shot Sunday. The Gaels beat Trent 5-0.
Gaels’ rookie striker Danielle Gibson (16) launches a shot Sunday. The Gaels beat Trent 5-0.
Nick Milonas (19) battles two members of the Trent Excalibur for the ball Sunday. Queen’s and Trent played to a 0-0 draw.
Nick Milonas (19) battles two members of the Trent Excalibur for the ball Sunday. Queen’s and Trent played to a 0-0 draw.

The Gaels’ soccer teams had a roller-coaster weekend. The women’s squad turned in a lacklustre performance Friday afternoon in a 1-1 tie against the Royal Military College Paladins but rebounded Sunday with a 5-0 defeat of the Trent Excalibur. The men’s team started the weekend well with a 4-2 victory over RMC but was held to a 0-0 draw with Trent on Sunday.

Friday’s match saw the women’s team come out of the gate slowly. The Paladins struck first 12 minutes in when striker Kate Searle fired a rebound past Gaels’ goalkeeper Katie McKenna. The goal was the first McKenna allowed this season, snapping her shutout streak of 552 minutes.

McKenna said the game’s result hurt more than having the streak snapped.

“Obviously, it would have been nice to keep it going, but I was more disappointed that we didn’t win,” she said.

Things improved for the Gaels nine minutes later, when winger Katie Dalziel collected her own rebound and drove it into the net to tie the game. The match finished 1-1.

Head coach Dave McDowell, in his 17th season with the Gaels, said Friday’s game was a personal low for him.

“[It was] one of the more disappointing games of my coaching career,” he said.

McDowell said the Gaels, who had 15 more points than the Paladins going into Friday’s clash, may have been overconfident.

“We’ve been harping on them all week about playing with the same intensity no matter who the opposition is,” he said. “No matter how you harp on it, subconsciously there’s still that thought in your head that this is going to be easy.”

McDowell said the game proved the Gaels can’t take any team lightly.

“Some of our players come in and just think that they can coast through games when maybe the opposition isn’t as far up in the standings, but RMC played very well and gave us all we could handle today,” he said.

Dalziel said she was disappointed with the tie.

“It’s not at all what we were looking for,” she said. “Today, we didn’t play well at all, so that’s pretty frustrating. We just weren’t getting passes together and the communication wasn’t that good out on the field.”

The Gaels looked to bounce back on Sunday against the Excalibur, who were at the bottom of the OUA East Division with only five points going into the match. Queen’s pressured Trent early on but couldn’t score until the 18th minute, when Gaels’ defender Ali Skinner scored off a penalty kick awarded from a controversial handball call against the Excalibur.

Trent head coach Claude Bolton said he thought the ball had hit the hand of one of the Gaels, so the penalty kick shouldn’t have been awarded.

“The ref knows now that it was a bad call,” he said. “It was a Queen’s handball in our box, and it did change the game.”

Midway through the half, Gaels’ striker Laura Vanderlaan came on as a substitute and drove a cross from Dalziel into the Excalibur net, giving Queen’s a 2-0 lead. After halftime, Dalziel scored her second goal of the weekend and rookie striker Danielle Gibson added a pair to give the Gaels the 5-0 win.

Gibson said the team improved dramatically from the RMC game.

“We definitely stepped it up a lot, and we definitely pulled together,” she said.

Skinner said the team learned from the RMC game and made the necessary adjustments.

“We did the small things,” she said. “We doubled back, we won balls in the air, we hit our passes [and] we kept our possession stats up. Communication also improved.”

McKenna said Sunday’s game was a good step for the team as they prepare for the postseason.

“If we start with this game and continue in an upward fashion, and play like we did against Ottawa two weeks ago, we’ll be great in the playoffs,” she said. “We just have to keep improving every game.”

The men’s late afternoon start time against RMC meant the traditional rivalry took place under the Friday night lights at Richardson Stadium. About 25 Paladins fans armed with airhorns, songs and chants pestered the Gaels throughout the game, but the team seemed unaffected by the taunts and cruised to a 4-2 victory off goals by Tyler Swan, Andrew Jarvis, Nick Milonas and Andrew Colosimo.

Jarvis said the chants motivated the Gaels.

“It’s hard to handle all the chirping and yelling, but it’s part of the game and you’ve got to fight through it,” he said. “It gets you going too, ’cause you want to get them a little quieter.”

On Sunday, the men faced a defensive-minded Trent team, and came away with a 0-0 tie. Queen’s had several scoring chances, but couldn’t finish their opportunities.

“We’re disappointed with the tie,” defender Paul Paudyn said. “We feel like we should be winning these games. I think we played okay, but we could have played better.”

Head coach Chris Gencarelli said the midfield needs to give more support to their lone striker.

“That’s something we definitely need to work on in practice this week,” he said.

Both teams will host the Carleton Ravens Saturday. The Ravens’ men have already clinched the OUA East title, while the women’s team is only one point ahead of Queen’s.

Gencarelli said the men’s team will be ready to face the undefeated Ravens.

“It’s a good chance for us to see where we’re at at the end of the season,” he said. “It’s going to be a good test.”

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