A win & a loss for women’s soccer

Gaels beat Trent 2-0 Saturday, fall by same score to Carleton Ravens Sunday

Gaels’ striker Renee MacLellan battles Trent’s Marie-Michelle Sullivan for the ball Saturday.
Gaels’ striker Renee MacLellan battles Trent’s Marie-Michelle Sullivan for the ball Saturday.

On Saturday at Richardson Stadium, the women’s soccer team overcame a ferocious defensive effort from the Trent Excalibur to claim a 2-0 victory in their home opener and move to 2-0 on the season. Things didn’t stay rosy for the Gaels, though, as they fell to the Carleton Ravens by the same score on the road Sunday.

Queen’s midfielder Jenn Pentesco, who scored the Gaels’ second goal against the Excalibur on a late penalty kick, said Trent’s defensive tactics posed a significant challenge for Queen’s offence.

“They’re a really well-organized defensive team,” she said. “They’re hard to break down and score against.”

The Excalibur were looking to defend right from the start, keeping 10 of their 11 players on their own side of midfield for much of the game while sending a lone striker to challenge the Queen’s defence.

Trent’s defensive style continued even after they fell behind on second-year striker Sara Buckham’s goal 20 minutes into the game. The Excalibur failed to record a single shot on target during the match and didn’t earn a corner kick.

Buckham said Trent’s defensive style lured the Gaels into a slow-paced game early on, but they were able to speed things up and create more offensive chances after the half-time break.

“Our first half, we were lulled into a bit of a slower game, but we really picked it up in the second half, which I was happy to see.”

Buckham said one of the Gaels’ big challenges so far is playing as a team, given the amount of new faces on the squad.

“It’s just getting our shape and learning to play with each other more than anything,” she said. “We’re all very individually skilled, but we just need to learn to come together as a team.”

The Gaels are carrying a large squad of 27 players this year, which head coach Dave McDowell said adds to the already-difficult task of managing everyone’s playing time.

“It’s always hard in soccer, isn’t it?” he said. “Even if you keep 18 players, players always want more playing time.”

McDowell said the extensive squad allows him to make adjustments based on tactics and which players are in good form.

“I really see us changing who we dress from game to game and who we start from game to game based on what the training sessions have been like that week and what we might need for that individual opponent,” he said.

McDowell said his players accept that they may not see as much playing time as they’re

used to.

“They’ve really bought into that this is all about the team, and I think they understand that there are games where they may not be as involved,” he said. “When they are involved, it’s important.”

McDowell said he was pleased with how his team played in the Trent match, but he wants to see them score on more of their offensive chances. The Gaels recorded 10 shots on goal and earned 17 corner kicks over the course of the match.

“We didn’t finish enough, but I thought we showed a lot of good things,” McDowell said.

McDowell said Trent’s determination to stay in their own half made things difficult for Queen’s offence.

“They obviously didn’t try to play too much, so you struggle when you’re trying to deal with 10 players in their own 30-yard box,” he said.

On Sunday, the Gaels lost 2-0 to the Carleton Ravens, who finished fourth in Ontario last season. Amanda Ngwafusi and Aisha Stinson scored for Carleton.

The Gaels will go on a long road trip to North Bay and Sudbury this weekend to take on the Nipissing Lakers and the Laurentian Voyageurs.

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