Women’s soccer holds top spot

The Gaels improve their record to 12-2 after beating both Toronto and Ryerson last weekend at Richardson Stadium

Midfielder Alexis McKinty battles for the ball against the University of Toronto on Sunday at Richardson Stadium.
Midfielder Alexis McKinty battles for the ball against the University of Toronto on Sunday at Richardson Stadium.

The women’s soccer team welcomed the Ryerson Rams and the Toronto Varsity Blues to Richardson Stadium this weekend, coming away with four points and recording two shutouts with a Saturday 2-0 victory over the Rams and a 3-0 win over the Blues.

Saturday’s game against Ryerson started off slow with the Gaels unable to capitalize on their scoring opportunities during the first half. Forward Kelli Chamberlain scored her eighth goal of the season to break the stalemate in the first minute of the second half followed by a late goal by forward Jacqueline Tessier to secure the win.

The team opened stronger against Toronto on Sunday afternoon, ending the first half with a 2-0 lead with goals from Tessier and forward Jennifer Hutchison. The Gaels wrapped up their 3-0 win with a goal from Chamberlain in the opening minutes of the second.

Chamberlain said even with the win against Ryerson, Sunday against the Toronto Varsity Blues was their better overall game of the weekend.

“Sunday was definitely a time when we were playing a full 90 minutes of soccer which was awesome,” she said. “We’ve been kind of struggling with that all year, just stringing together a full game of soccer, just bits and pieces ... of good soccer.”

Chamberlain said a full team effort on Sunday is a good indication that the Gaels’ hard work all season is coming together and beginning to pay off at the right time.

“We usually start really well and come out really hard against any team,” she said. “We’ll have good moments. That’s something we have been focusing on trying to accomplish all year is just everyone, all 11 players on the field just having a good game for the whole game.”

Goalkeepers Elena Corry and Chantel Marson split the games this weekend as has been the trend for the whole season. With goals being scored up front, Chamberlain said the Gaels’ offence has benefited from their confidence in the goalie duo.

“Our goalies they have always been really strong,” she said. “They play every other game. On some teams that might affect the chemistry but on our team, it really doesn’t matter which ones in net. They both do a really good job at communicating, their distribution is always really good ... They’re the last man back, they dictate what’s going on [and] they can see everything.”

With two more shutouts this weekend, head coach Dave McDowell said that Marson and Corry’s significance is not just in their ability to block shots.

“Our goalkeepers are very important,” he said. “Not only in terms of shot stopping but in terms of everything else they do that comes along with being a goalkeeper: communication, control of that part of the field [and] leadership has been really important. Not allowing goals is something that the whole team does, not just the goalkeeper.”

With seven shutouts this season and only eight goals against, Marson and Corry have continued their success from last year.

“I think that we’ve both been very confident,” goalkeeper Elena Corry said. “The goals scored against us have been good goals, nothing that they could fault us on. They’ve been good goals from good teams. I think that we’re still pretty confident. It’s easy for us because the defence plays really well.”

Scoring was a concern over the summer with the graduation of Renee MacLellan who was second in scoring in the OUA with 12 goals. This season has shown the Gaels have little to worry about. With an OUA leading 45 goals scored, Corry said as the Gaels dominated up front, the pressure on the defence has eased.

“There was more pressure on the defence keeping the ball out of the net,” she said. “It’s nice to know if we do get down a goal, there [are] people that can get us back up.”

The Gaels have lost only two games this season; each by a goal and both to the Ottawa Gee-Gees. Going into the playoffs, Corry said a challenging factor could be the mental aspect of falling behind in a game, something they’ve only faced three times this season.

“That might be a challenge,” she said. “But that’s happened this season and we’ve been able to come back and win.”

The Gaels travel north this weekend to face the Nipissing Lakers and the Laurentian Voyageurs to close out their regular season.

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