Shootout heroics

Gaels prevail in penalties over Carleton

Seven of the last 11 women’s soccer post-season games have gone to a penalty shootout.
Seven of the last 11 women’s soccer post-season games have gone to a penalty shootout.

Four straight successful penalty kicks sent women’s soccer to the OUA quarterfinals.

The Gaels squeaked out a win over the Carleton Ravens at Miklas-McCarney Field on Wednesday, topping them 4-2 in penalties after 120 minutes of scoreless action. Second-year striker Tara Bartram netted the decisive kick, stepping up after keeper Madison Tyrell turned aside Carleton’s fourth shooter.

The result was nothing new for the Gaels. Their past four playoff games have been decided in kicks, including a pair of scoreless battles in last year’s post-season.

Despite the win, head coach Dave McDowell said his team could have played better.

“It was a real grind-it-out result. I didn’t think we were great to be honest,” McDowell said. “In the end, you try to grind it out and get the result one way or another.”

The scoreless 120 minutes came in part due to the Gaels’ lack of finishing. Their players were able to break in to the Ravens’ zone several times late in the second half and in extra time, but any shot attempts sailed well wide of the net or were turned aside by Ravens keeper Elizabeth MacDougall.

Just the same, the Gaels were kept in the game by Tyrell’s play in net. The keeper tipped a Carleton shot just over the net in the final minutes of extra time — the second time in the match the Ravens came tantalizingly close to a go-ahead goal.

Twelve minutes into extra time, a Carleton shot hammered off the woodwork and bounced in front of the net before being cleared away.

McDowell said the team talked about garnering offensive opportunities in the extra time.

“Going into the overtime, we just thought we’d create some chances,” he said. “Just wanted to be a little more efficient in finishing.”

After the period was up, each of the shooters stepped up to the penalty spot.

One by one, Laura Callender, Melissa Jung and Brittany Almeida beat MacDougall. Two Carleton shooters scored — including MacDougall — but their second shooter’s attempt carried over the net, striking the football upright above it.

Tyrell shut down the fourth Ravens shooter, diving to her right to deny the penalty. The save set up Bartram’s attempt, which sent the Gaels into the quarterfinals.

McDowell said he sent out the players he did based on who wanted the opportunity.

“With the penalties, we spent a fair bit of time working through it,” he said. “Just trying to make sure the players who were going to take them were ones who wanted to take them and we made it very clear: just do things confidently.”

With the win, the Gaels head on the road Sunday to face the OUA East’s top seed, the Ottawa Gee-Gees. The Gee-Gees boast the East’s most potent offence and its stingiest defence, netting 67 goals this year while conceding just nine.

In their only meeting this season, the Gaels fell 3-0 at home on Oct. 15. The match marks the second consecutive year the teams have squared off in the OUA quarterfinal, as Queen’s upset Ottawa in 2013, once again winning a scoreless match that went to penalties.

McDowell said the Gaels will learn from the mistakes they made against Carleton and put forth a more complete performance.

“I think we’ll learn from this game that this was our worst playoff effort and we’ll be better in the next one,” he said. “It’s been a tough week with mid-terms and players not having full groups to train. We’re hoping that over the next little bit and then going away that it will allow us to focus a little more on what we’re doing as a group.”

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