Season ends early

Quarterfinal loss a low-point in recent memory

Striker Jackie Tessier became the program’s all-time leading scorer when she tallied her 54th career goal on Sept. 28. She wrapped her time at Queen’s with 55.
Striker Jackie Tessier became the program’s all-time leading scorer when she tallied her 54th career goal on Sept. 28. She wrapped her time at Queen’s with 55.

After an inconsistent regular season, a young women’s soccer squad fell short of their expected outcome.

A 1-0 loss to the top-ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees in last weekend’s OUA quarterfinal brought the Gaels’ season to an abrupt end. The loss kept Queen’s out of the OUA Final Four for the first time in six years.

In the end, regular-season struggles forced the Gaels into facing the OUA East’s best team earlier than they’d hoped.

“It was an up and down year with some inconsistent results. That’s what probably got us playing Ottawa this early in the playoffs,” said Gaels head coach Dave McDowell. “But that’s life and with a younger team, that’s sometimes what you get.”

Queen’s women won national championships in 2010 and 2011. They made it to the CIS final once again in 2012, but fell in penalty kicks to the Trinity Western Spartans.

Most of the players from the 2012 side have since graduated, but this year’s result still feels like a letdown, McDowell said.

“The expectations are always very high,” he said.

During the regular season, the Gaels finished fourth in the OUA East at 9-4-3. Their 39 goals scored ranked third in the league, while the 15 they conceded tied them for third-lowest.

Fifth-year striker Jackie Tessier and fourth-year midfielder Jessie de Boer led the offensive effort, each accumulating eight goals in the regular season. Second-year striker Tara Bartram scored six of her own.

Tessier finished her Queen’s career as the program's all-time leading scorer. She set the record with two tallies in a 4-0 win over the Toronto Varsity Blues on Sept. 21, winding up with 55 goals over five seasons.

For her efforts, de Boer was named a first-team OUA All-Star, as was fifth-year defender Melissa Jung. Third-year forward Brittany Almeida made the second All-Star team.

Third-year goalkeeper Madison Tyrell had another strong year for the Gaels, starting all 16 of the team’s games and allowing 12 goals.

Queen’s jockeyed with the OUA East’s other top teams throughout the season, but a flimsy 3-2 loss to the underdog Ryerson Rams on Sept. 20 and a 0-0 draw with the ninth-place Trent Excalibur on Sept. 13 demonstrated the Gaels’ inconsistent play.

Looking ahead to next season, the team will be without Tessier and Jung, and will likely lose de Boer and fourth-year striker Breanna Burton as well.

“We’ll miss them, but as always with university soccer you’re always turning things over and trying to bring in new players to help you get better each year,” McDowell said.

Midfielder Cara Ott and defender Alex Blanchard are both in their fourth years and could potentially return for a final season, McDowell said.

The Gaels’ younger players saw lots of time this season, he added, which could be beneficial heading forward.

“They did a fantastic job this year and a part of being part of the program is getting better each year,” McDowell said. “Certainly there’s some terrific young players here, and hopefully the future is bright.”

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