Varsity Blues stifle struggling attack

Nationally-top ranked women’s team now tied for third in OUA after dropping costly points in Toronto

The women’s soccer team gained only one of a possible six points against Toronto in 2011.
The women’s soccer team gained only one of a possible six points against Toronto in 2011.

Offense has been hit-and-miss for the women’s soccer team during the first week of the season.

After coming off a disappointing 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Gee-Gees, the Gaels rebounded with a 4-0 win over the Ryerson Rams last Saturday. The next day, the Toronto Varsity Blues held Queen’s to a 0-0 deadlock.

“This whole weekend, we showed no sort of continuity in our play,” said Gaels head coach Dave McDowell. “We are struggling with a disconnect. We are close, but not there yet.”

The two games in Toronto were a major test for Queen’s, who entered the season ranked first in the country. The Gaels (2-1-1) currently sit in a tie for third place in the OUA East, at seven points. They trail the undefeated Gee-Gees (4-0-1), who have 13 points.

The road trip also tested the team’s chemistry and depth, as star striker Jackie Tessier sat out of both weekend road games.

The Gaels controlled the bulk of the play against Ryerson, registering 23 total shots on goal. Riley Filion opened the scoring just before halftime, while Mikyla Kay, Brittany Almeida and Kayla Crnic added goals in the second half. Starting goalkeeper Sabrina Carew and backup Rachel Burton made a combined five saves in the shutout.

Despite the blowout victory, co-captain Chantal McFetridge doesn’t believe the Gaels have consistently performed to their full ability.

“I think we had moments where we were really clicking, but we still need to work towards playing well for 90 minutes,” she said.

Queen’s managed just four shots on goal in Sunday’s draw with Toronto, a physical contest with minimal offensive flair from both sides. Third-string keeper Madison Tyrell made her first career start, stopping one shot to earn the clean sheet.

Filion credited the Blues’ defensive corps, adding that a couple of unlucky breaks late in the game kept the Gaels off the scoresheet.

“[Toronto was] very strong defensively, and we had a hard time breaking them down,” she said.

Queen’s next action will come on Sept. 15 at 1 p.m., when the Gaels travel to Peterborough to play the Trent Excalibur. The next day, they’ll face the Carleton Ravens at West Campus Field, with kickoff at 1 p.m.

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