Women’s soccer suffers scare

The Gaels sneak by the Nipissing Lakers in overtime, winning 2-1 to advance to the OUA Final Four

The Gaels’ Jacqueline Tessier scored in overtime to send the Gaels to the OUA Final Four this weekend in Kingston.
The Gaels’ Jacqueline Tessier scored in overtime to send the Gaels to the OUA Final Four this weekend in Kingston.

The women’s soccer team carried over their strong regular season to a 2-1 overtime victory over the Nipissing Lakers in the OUA quarterfinals on Saturday. The win propelled the nationally third-ranked Gaels into the OUA Final Four next weekend, hosted at Richardson Stadium.

After a scoreless first half, forward Kelli Chamberlain headed home a corner to open the scoring for Queen’s in the 62nd minute. The Gaels looked to be in control, however, an 89th minute Laker tally sent the game in to overtime.

In the extra 30 minutes, CIS leading scorer Jacqueline Tessier potted her 19th goal of the season and keeper Chantal Marson turned away every Nipissing attempt to seal the win.

Tessier had several close misses before she was able to beat the Nipissing keeper in extra time.

“All game I was trying to cut back and do something fancy in the corner but finally I decided to just take the goalie on,” Tessier said. “I had a nice shot with my left and I thought the goalie had it but it squeaked in over top.”

Tessier attributed the win to a strong team game, both physically and mentally.

“The girls worked so hard the entire game,” she said. “That’s what playoffs are—any team can win. Even when they came back to tie it in the last minute, it’s really hard to refocus mentally but we have such a strong team dynamic that we were able to do that and get the win.”

Head coach Dave McDowell said he was pleased with his team’s perseverance especially given the highs and lows of extra time.

“It’s not good for my health, that’s for sure,” McDowell joked. “Maybe it’s good preparation for us in terms of what you need to do to win playoff games in tough conditions. I thought Nipissing played really well and were very difficult in terms of counterattacking and some of their set pieces.”

Queen’s beat Nipissing twice in the regular season, both in one-goal games, however, McDowell said the playoffs are a whole new season.

“We’ve had two tough games against [Nipising] this year and one of our assistants said that the matchup was what we needed,” he said. “You want to build some momentum and get a feel for what you have to do in playoff games to win. You’ve got to battle. Sometimes it’s not the prettiest soccer at this time of the year unfortunately but we’ll take it.”

The team will work on improving their attack in practice this week.

“I think we need to be a bit sharper in the offensive third, we tended to do things a little quicker than we needed to,” McDowell said. “I thought we looked a little tight, maybe it was playoff nerves. Although I’d rather not be going through that experience, it was a good experience to prep you going forward.”

Queen’s will face the McMaster Marauders in the OUA Semifinals on Saturday. The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees will kick off against the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks in the other semifinal game.

“We’ll watch a little video of the other team playing and we’ll find out some things maybe from other people around the league,” McDowell said. “The big thing for us will be shaking off some of the little doldrums out there.”

OUA Final Four weekend will begin with the semifinals on Saturday at Richardson Stadium followed by the championship and bronze-medal games on Sunday.

The Gaels will play in the OUA Final Four this weekend at Richardson Stadium. Queen’s plays McMaster at 11:30 a.m.

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