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Gridlock in middle of standings after Gaels lose to Ottawa

Ranked first in the nation, Ottawa struck early to squeak by Queen’s on Saturday.
Ranked first in the nation, Ottawa struck early to squeak by Queen’s on Saturday.

Women’s soccer faltered against the country’s best team last weekend.

On Saturday, the Gaels fell 1-0 to the unbeaten Ottawa Gee-Gees in their lone game of the weekend, dropping back to fourth place in the OUA East Division.

The Gee-Gees (10-0-2) scored early, with a third-minute goal coming from forward Pilar Khoury.

The Gaels held them to the single tally throughout the rest of the game, but were unable to recover and score a goal of their own.

Goalkeeper Madison Tyrell was instrumental in keeping the margin limited, making three saves. Midfielder Riley Filion and striker Breanna Burton each took two shots out of the Gaels’ eight.

Gaels head coach Dave McDowell said he was disappointed by the game.

“I thought we did enough again to at least get a point, and to be honest I didn’t think they did a lot in breaking us down,” he said. “We had a couple of defensive breakdowns in the first half – we just had a couple of issues in our back line.”

Yet the Gaels responded well to giving up the goal, he added.

“Heads are down over here that maybe shouldn’t be,” he said.

Near the end of the first half, midfielder Alex Blanchard was hit in the head by the ball, prompting a brief break as she was assessed and then led off the field.

She remained on the bench for the rest of the game with the team worried she had a concussion, continuing the recent trend of injuries that has plagued the Gaels.

“We’re missing a little bit of bite in our midfield, that’s for sure, and it’s tough,” McDowell said. “We’re playing some players in positions [that] maybe aren’t ideal in terms of making us the strongest team we can be, but hopefully we’ll get through that and get them healthy.

“Everyone else … is doing a good job, but they [have to] learn to pick things up a little bit in terms of possession,” he added. “We’ll keep working on getting it sorted out.”

Despite the loss, the atmosphere at West Campus Field was jovial. The team was cheered on by various Queen’s students passing the field on their way to the Homecoming football game at Richardson Stadium.

Next up for the Gaels are a series of away games. Tomorrow, they go up against the Carleton Ravens (7-2-3) at 4 p.m.

Thanksgiving weekend will have them play the Toronto Varsity Blues (8-2-2) at 1 p.m. on Saturday, followed by a game against the Ryerson Rams (3-7-1) at noon on Sunday.

OUA East Standings

1. Ottawa [10-0-2] – 32 pts
2. Toronto [8-2-2] – 26 pts
3. Carleton [7-2-3] – 24 pts
4. Queen’s [6-2-3] – 21 pts
5. Laurentian [5-3-4] – 19 pts
6. Ryerson [3-7-1] – 10 pts
7. Nipissing [2-7-3] – 9 pts
8. RMC [2-7-2] – 8 pts
9. Trent [0-13-0] – 0 pts

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