Women’s soccer defeated

Men move on to face Toronto with 2-1 win over Ryerson; women’s season ends with 2-0 loss

Gaels’ defender Ali Skinner (18) comforts midfielder Katie Dalziel after Wednesday’s loss to the Royal Military College.
Gaels’ defender Ali Skinner (18) comforts midfielder Katie Dalziel after Wednesday’s loss to the Royal Military College.

Threes proved to be both a blessing and a curse for the Gaels’ soccer teams in their playoff matches Wednesday afternoon at Richardson Stadium. A third-minute goal by Mike Arnold led the third-seeded men’s team to a 2-1 victory over the Ryerson Rams. A third-minute goal by Kingston native Heather MacLellan, twin sister of Gaels’ striker Renee MacLellan, also proved decisive as the Royal Military College Paladins upset the third-seeded women’s team 2-0.

Arnold said the men’s performance was one of the best they’ve put in all season.

“It was one of the better games we’ve played,” he said. “We’ve been needing to step up the whole season, and we’re finally starting to do that.”

The Gaels came out of the gate hard, with midfielders Nick Milonas and Brent Lukowski combining to set up Arnold for his early goal. The score remained 1-0 until the 80th minute when Milonas launched a 40-yard drive that Ryerson goalkeeper Robert Paolozzi couldn’t keep out of the net.

Milonas said he decided to try the long shot after he saw Paolozzi out of position.

“I stuck my head up and saw him off his line a little bit, so I decided to crack it,” he said. “A little luck helped me out, and it just went in the back of the net.”

Ryerson’s Frank Morelli was able to put the Rams within one goal of the Gaels with only six minutes to go, but Ryerson was unable to tie the score and the game finished 2-1.

Men’s head coach Chris Gencarelli said he was confident the Gaels would pull out the win even after Ryerson’s goal.

“Sure, you have that little fear on the sidelines, but you have to stay calm as a coach, and you have to tell your guys you have faith in them,” he said. “They really grinded it out, and that’s the most important thing.”

Goalkeeper Sean Martin-Courtright made four saves to earn the win for Queen’s.

“Defensively, we were a unit today,” he said. “It’s one of the first times this season that we haven’t let [them have] really any chances. They had one half-chance, and they put it in.”

The team’s next game will be on the road, as they take on the University of Toronto Varsity Blues Saturday. Toronto finished second in the OUA East, one spot above Queen’s. They beat the Gaels 4-0 in the last meeting between the teams Sept. 29.

Martin-Courtright said the Gaels are excited for the rematch.

“They took it to us the last time we played, and it’s time for some revenge,” he said.

The women’s loss came to an underdog RMC team, who were in the playoffs for the first time ever and were also the first female varsity team at RMC to make the post-season in any sport.

Goalkeeper Hannah Shoichet said she didn’t think the Gaels put in enough effort against RMC.

“I thought that we let ourselves down a little bit with today’s performance,” she said. “We were just outworked, and I believe that we could have come out with a win if we had just given it a bit more effort.”

Women’s head coach Dave McDowell said the Paladins deserve full credit for their win.

“It was just a tough day,” he said. “I thought they did the things that they do very well, and didn’t allow us to do much, and that never bodes well for us. We just didn’t have answers for what they were doing, quite honestly.”

McDowell said the Gaels struggled to cope with injuries, particularly to midfielder Jennifer Pentesco.

“In those last few games before she was injured, she was one of our better players,” he said. “Losing her influence was tough.”

McDowell said he’s happy with the team’s performance this year.

“The girls had a really, really good season,” he said. “To only lose one [regular-season] game was fantastic, especially with the group we had coming in. If you were to tell me before the season that we were only going to lose one game and only going to give up four goals, I would have been kind of flabbergasted.”

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