Shootout stunner

Queen’s eliminates nation’s best, keeps nationals dream alive

Women’s soccer shocked the nation’s top team to advance to the OUA Final Four.

The Gaels defeated the nationally top-ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees 1-0 on the road Sunday. Scoreless after 90 minutes, the game went into overtime and was eventually decided in a penalty shootout.

Fourth-year defender Melissa Jung, fifth-year midfielder Alexis McKinty and second-year striker Brittany Almeida all scored on their penalty kicks for Queen’s, while second-year goalkeeper Madison Tyrell turned aside three attempts from the Gee-Gees.

The credit for the clean sheet through regulation and overtime went to the keepers. Tyrell made eight saves, while Ottawa’s Cynthia Leblanc matched her stop for stop with 10.

“I thought both teams maybe looked a tad nervous going in, but I thought we did some different things and created some great chances, and obviously fought very hard for 120 minutes,” said Gaels head coach Dave McDowell.

“I’m very proud of the whole group and the commitment throughout the game. I know there were some very tired legs through the 120 minutes.”

Ottawa and Queen’s previously met twice this season, with an away game ending in a scoreless draw and a home game ending in a 1-0 Gaels’ loss.

The Gee-Gees have maintained a steady first-place ranking throughout the season, in both the OUA and the CIS.

Gaels fans were present at the match in Ottawa alongside Gee-Gees fans, cheering on the team.

“We got some good support there,” said McDowell. “The away crowd was quite vocal … we did a good job of dealing with those distractions and just playing.”

This weekend, the Gaels will travel to London for the OUA Final Four. The other team from the East Division will be the Carleton Ravens, while the host, the Western Mustangs, and the Laurier Golden Hawks will represent the West.

Queen’s will first play Western, the West’s top seed, this Friday at 7 p.m. The winner will advance to the OUA gold medal game and earn an automatic spot in the CIS championships.

The loser, meanwhile, will try for bronze and the OUA’s final berth to nationals.

“We’ll just recover and try to get everybody healthy and at 100 per cent for Friday or Saturday,” McDowell said.

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