Women’s soccer loses & wins

The women’s soccer team’s weekend road trip was filled with ups and downs, but more predictable ones than they’ve seen before. In their last five games before the trip, the Gaels had beaten the Ottawa Gee-Gees, ranked fifth in the national coaches’ poll at that time, and eked out a win against the Laurentian Voyageurs, but had also lost to the unranked Voyageurs, Nipissing Lakers and Carleton Ravens. This time around, Queen’s lost 1-0 to the No. 8 Gee-Gees Saturday but recovered to post an emphatic 6-0 win over the Trent Excalibur Sunday.

Head coach Dave McDowell said he wasn’t overly disappointed with the loss to the division-leading Gee-Gees, but the team’s drop-off in play after the halftime break concerned him.

“I think more disappointing was the way we played in the second half,” he said. “They were probably the better team in the second half, but we were the better team in the first half.”

McDowell said playing on Ottawa’s field turf instead of grass was a major change for his team.

“I think the surface was a big factor,” he said. “I thought the girls played pretty well and adjusted to the turf, but in the second half, we weren’t quite as good.” The Gaels were able to contain Ottawa’s offence for most of the day, McDowell said, but they couldn’t create enough of their own chances.

“Realistically, in terms of good scoring chances during the game, there was one and they scored on it,” he said. “In fact, they scored counter-attacking from one of our corners, so a girl literally went 100 yards and scored.”

The Gaels are currently third in the OUA East with 18 points from 10 games, behind Ottawa and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. McDowell said Queen’s is capable of competing with the Gee-Gees and other soccer powers, though.

“Of the top six teams in our division right now, it seems like on any given day, any of them can win or lose against each other and that seems to be what’s happening right now.”

He said he was much happier with what he saw on Sunday.

“We certainly looked a bit more like a team that’s interested in scoring goals,” he said. “[There were] lots of good plays in terms of our wide players getting through and getting in crosses, but we hadn’t been finishing, and today we scored six very good goals, so it was a good day.” The team drew extra motivation from the Ottawa loss, he said.

“I think people were anxious to show that what they saw from us in the second half yesterday was not what they’re going to see down the stretch,” he said, adding that he was happy to see a number of different players end up on the scoresheet against Trent. Second-year striker Sara Buckham tallied two goals, and four other Gaels scored.

Buckham said she thinks the players have become comfortable with each other on the field, and that’s translating into better performances.

“It’s been a process, but now we’re past midseason and I feel we’ve really gelled as a team,” she said. “It’s starting to show.”

The Gaels return to action Wednesday night against the Royal Military College Paladins at Richardson Stadium. The game starts at 4:30 p.m.

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