Women’s Soccer defeats Carleton in season home-opener

Gaels win 2-0, sweep Ravens in weekend double-header

The Gaels started off their season 2-0 after two commanding wins over Carleton.

The Women’s Soccer team remains undefeated this season after their 2-0 win over Carleton at Richardson Stadium over the weekend.

In Sunday’s game, the Gaels were a dominant force on the pitch, outshooting Carleton 23-7. The win also meant a sweep of their double-header weekend following Friday’s 5-0 victory in Ottawa.

The Gaels generated several scoring chances early in the first half, keeping the play on the Raven’s side of the field. Eight minutes in, Gael's striker Jenna Matsukubo drew first blood with a powerful goal from the top of the box, assisted by striker Raya Athwal.

Striker Christie Gray and Matsukubo continued to generate chances from the wing throughout the half, centering passes that led to numerous scrambles in front of the net, which the Gaels ultimately couldn’t capitalize on.

Matsukubo’s earlier goal went unanswered by the Ravens for the rest of the half, despite Queen’s goalkeeper Kristin Tynan being tested on a free kick 15 minutes in.

According to Head Coach Dave McDowell, Carleton had made some changes to their game following Friday’s match, which he acknowledged in a short post-game interview.

“I thought we dealt with them making some adjustments relatively well. I don’t think we gave away very many chances, and so defensively we’re relatively good,” he told The Journal.

“I think what you saw is what you get when you play the same team back-to-back two days apart. Them making some adjustments and making life a little more difficult for us.”

In the second half, the Gaels didn’t falter in what became an increasingly aggressive game. Grievances surrounding missed calls were raised by both the Gaels and the Ravens.

Despite this, the Gaels’ defense remained rock-solid, and the Raven’s struggled to sink any real shots on goal—something McDowell admitted Queen’s also struggled with.

“I do think we need to be more efficient with our finishing, that’s for sure, and a little more clinical in front of the net. But that’s part of the learning curve,” McDowell said.

“As we come back from fifteen months of layoff, hopefully that will sharpen up.”

At the 69th minute mark, the Gael’s scoring drought ended when Matsukubo fed striker Cecilia Way a lead pass deep into the corner of the Raven’s end. Way cut into the box and rifled a sizzler into the inner far post, netting her third goal of the season and putting Queen’s up 2-0.

Carleton almost answered Way’s goal later in the half with an offensive penetration that led to a shot on the net. That shot ended up passing over the crossbar, and the Ravens were unable to capitalize on any other chances before the final whistle blew.

When asked about Matsukubo, who contributed to the victory with a goal and an assist, McDowell praised her dynamism.

“She’s really coming around in terms of performance this year. She’s an outstanding player, very dynamic and an odd combination of big engine with tremendous speed, and she gives us those things all the time,” he said.

Overall, McDowell was proud of the team for prevailing this weekend and credited Carleton for coming out stronger in the second match of the series.

“I didn’t think we were at our sharpest, but certainly big-time credit to Carleton for making life uncomfortable for us out there and for limiting what we do a little bit […] it was a gritty second game of a weekend performance that you’re often going to get.”

He also listed some additional aspects of the Gael’s game that need improvement ahead of next week’s match.

“Our set pieces need lots of work. Counter-attacking was a little bit sloppy at times […] I think it’s giving players, especially with set pieces, just a little more confidence in making decisions for themselves and understanding the confidence we have in them for doing that.”

The Gaels have some time to recover before their next game against the Trent Excalibur at home on Oct. 1.


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