Final four then maybe more?

With an exciting overtime win over the Nipissing Lakers last week, the Gaels advance to the OUA semifinals

The women’s soccer team’s stellar season has earned the Gaels the top spot in the country going into this weekend’s OUA Final Four in Kingston. The Gaels have had both team and individual success this year as the team has gone 14-2 in the regular season. Forwards Jacqueline Tessier and Kelli Chamberlain have both had standout seasons as they currently sit 1-2 in goals scored in the OUA. With Tessier scoring 18 goals in 17 games, she has been named the OUA East Player of the Year.

Head coach Dave Mc Dowell, who was named coach of the year for the second year, said he was not as optimistic when the season began due to injuries along with other nagging questions.

“We knew we had a lot of talent,” he said. “How it would mash together was a question mark ... How [we were] going to score goals was the big question going into the season. I think [the team] answered that pretty quickly in the first weekend. I think we’re a hard team to defend because we can score from all over the place and that’s been one of our characteristics this year.”

McDowell said in practices, he’s looking to get the team to loosen up going into the high-stakes weekend.

“So far we’re just trying to forget about all that stuff,” he said. “How big the game is and everything that comes with being successful.”

With two losses in the regular season, both which came against the Ottawa Gee-Gees, the Gaels have continued to show they can improve. McDowell said he credits the team’s effort and commitment for their perseverance on the field.

“We just found a way to win in each game,” he said. “I would say that we’ve always been our best in each game but we’re always found a way to be successful.”

The Gaels struggled in the first half of the quarterfinal game against the Nipissing Lakers and went into the half unable to capitalize on their opportunities. When Tessier scored in the game, the Gaels were unable to secure the victory in regulation when the Lakers scored in the dying minutes. An overtime goal by Tessier advanced Queen’s to the Final Four.

Midfielder Angela Sullivan said the team came through with a win because of the team pulling together.

“The overtime win was so great because it was such a team effort,” she said. “We had struggled throughout the game in different periods of the game. In the end we really came together and were able to pull out a win even though it might not have been the most pretty. It was just such a team effort.”

The Gaels’ ranking will not be a focus for the team going into the weekend.

“It’s obviously very much an honour,” Sullivan said. “We still feel like we have so much to prove. There are still so many great teams we haven’t seen yet. We’re taking it with a grain of salt.”

The Gaels will be facing a new opponent on the weekend. The McMaster Marauders and the Gaels did not meet up in the regular season. Sullivan said the Gaels are ready for the challenge of facing an unfamiliar team.

“The good thing is that it allows us to just focus on ourselves instead of the other team,” she said. “When you play a team you’ve never played before, it’s pretty easy to go in a little nervous ... I think we have enough confidence in ourselves and each other that if we play our game it doesn’t matter what other teams throw at us.”

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