Gaels golden in PEI

The women’s soccer team beats Laurier in overtime to become national champions

The women’s soccer team celebrates their CIS Championship with the Gladys Bean Memorial Trophy over the weekend in Charlottetown. The Gaels beat the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks 1-0 in overtime with the only goal from midfielder Riley Filion.
The women’s soccer team celebrates their CIS Championship with the Gladys Bean Memorial Trophy over the weekend in Charlottetown. The Gaels beat the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks 1-0 in overtime with the only goal from midfielder Riley Filion.
Credit: 
Supplied by Elli Garlin
Gaels striker Jacqueline Tessier navigates around a Laurier defender at the CIS Championship in Charlottetown last Sunday.
Gaels striker Jacqueline Tessier navigates around a Laurier defender at the CIS Championship in Charlottetown last Sunday.
Credit: 
Supplied by Elli Garlin

The women’s soccer team capped off their tremendous season with the biggest prize of all, as they won gold in overtime at the 2010 CIS Women’s Soccer Championship in Charlottetown last weekend.

Queen’s defeated their OUA rivals, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, 1-0 in extra time to bring home the team’s first national banner since 1988. Midfielder Riley Filion ripped a 40-yard blast off the crossbar and in to the net in the 107th minute as keeper Chantal Marson closed the door on any subsequent Golden Hawk chances to seal the victory.

Filion said she was ecstatic to see her long-range attempt get past the Laurier keeper in the tight game.

“I felt extreme happiness, relief and excitement [to know] if we could keep it for the next 10 minutes, we would be national champions,” she said. “It was a bad clearance by the Laurier defender and then it came to me about 40 yards out and I just kicked it … it was a good one I guess.”

The team needed no extra motivation as they went into overtime in the biggest game of their season.

“We felt pretty good,” Filion said. “We hadn’t played overtime yet and Laurier had played overtime the night before … they were, guess, probably pretty tired going into the 90-plus minutes. I just felt we had more energy coming into overtime. We just weren’t giving up.”

Head coach Dave McDowell said the team put in a great performance over the weekend as the Gaels defeated the Cape Breton Capers and the University of Fraser Valley Cascades on their way to the gold medal match.

“We did everything we needed to do,” McDowell said. “The girls were terrific. All three games I thought we played very well. The gold medal game is usually not as good quality [due to] playing with no recovery time. I thought the quality of play was quite high.”

The win provided revenge for Queen’s as they were edged 1-0 by Laurier in the OUA Finals the previous weekend.

“I don’t know if we knew anything more,” McDowell said. “We knew [the Golden Hawks] were a very good team going into OUA [Finals] and emphasized defending at set pieces. Other than [that] it was going to be a battle, there would be very few decent scoring chances and we would have to take any we could get and limit them to what they could get.”

The Gaels didn’t allow a goal in the tournament as Elena Corry and Chantal Marson split the goaltending duties over the weekend.

“That was our rotation we used it all year, just to flip-flop them every game and saw no reason to change in the playoffs,” McDowell said.

Midfielder Melissa Jung, striker Kelli Chamberlain and Filion were all named to the championship all-star team. Overall, the Gaels finished the season with a cumulative record of 19-3 and were ranked first in the country.

Chamberlain said the Gaels’ win in overtime proved their success throughout the regular season was deserved.

“I dropped right to my knees,” she said. “I didn’t know what to do. Honestly just pure joy and excitement … It felt like we had won right there. You have to finish the game but just right there, everything that we had been working so hard towards [we] just kind of felt in that moment that everything was worth it.”

She said that the team worked to get better each game to ensure they were ready to face the nation’s best.

“Our team has done outstanding this whole year but I think at nationals we definitely peaked at the right time,” she said. “Every girl was putting everything they had on the line. We just played some beautiful soccer in all three games. There was a lot of heart out there.”

As a graduating player on the team, Chamberlain said she could not have ended her career at Queen’s in a better way.

“It’s definitely a good way to go out,” she said. “Our team got really good recognition. We were very successful. What more can you ask for than a national title?”

With files from Kate Bascom

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