Back to winning ways for women's soccer

Brittany Almeida’s late goal seals first victory on Richardson

Midfielder Matija Skoko (middle right) battling against the Ravens at Richardson.

The title of first ever Gaels win at the new Richardson Stadium now belongs to the women’s soccer team, following their 1-0 triumph over the Carleton Ravens on Sunday.

Fifth-year striker Brittany Almeida was the first Gael to score on the newly-revitalized, $20.57-million pitch, putting a curling effort over the Ravens keeper’s hands in the 76th minute of the game.

It was a tough, combative affair throughout, with the Gaels continually stopped by Carleton’s strong backline.

Queen’s almost ignited the home crowd early, as forward Tara Batram’s left-footed shot off a cross went just over the crossbar within the first 60 seconds of defending her team’s new home turf.

Whether the adrenaline of opening at the stadium for the Gaels wore off, or the visitors’ defenders were given time to settle in, the game became more balanced, with the Ravens managing more shots on goal throughout the first half.

The contest came alive in the final half hour of the match, providing terrific entertainment for the boisterous fans watching from their tri-coloured bleachers.

Fifth-year goalkeeper Madison Tyrell was forced to make multiple saves on route to her third clean sheet of the season. Her momentum-changing series of three consecutive stops at the top of the box in the 62nd minute opened up a counter attack for the Gaels, earning the team a corner and putting pressure on their opponents that would rarely let up until the final whistle.

In the 76th minute, Brittany Almeida received the ball down the left side and fired it into the wind towards the goal, 25 yards away. The ball soared beautifully over the outstretched arms of the unsuspecting Carleton keeper, just under the crossbar in the middle of the net.

From then on, the Gaels managed to repel any advances from their opponents for the final 15 minutes, and achieve the win.

Coach Dave McDowell spoke about the team’s second half following the game and his players’ need to be more efficient with their finishing following the first half, in which they struggled to capitalize on good ball movement to challenge the Ravens’ goalkeeper. For McDowell, the second half substitutes helped to change the momentum of the game.

The Gaels’ coach also spoke about the importance of playing at home and “righting the ship”, as he put it, following the team’s 1-0 loss to the Gee Gees on Friday night with an 87th minute header.

“Friday night’s game was like a playoff game in Ottawa,” McDowell said. “It was a packed house and super intense and super fast to be honest, so it was nice to dictate style a little more today.”

Queen’s will play host to two Toronto schools next weekend, facing Ryerson on Saturday Sept. 24 followed by
U of T the next day.

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