Women’s soccer caps 2021 with win over Cape Breton in U Sports Consolation Finals

The Gaels bested the U Sports Championship hosts 3-0 in their match on Sunday

Gaels striker heading for a goal during Sunday's win
Credit: 
Supplied by Athletics and Recreation
After dropping their first contest against MacEwan University last Thursday, the Queen’s Women’s Soccer team came back to finish in fifth place at the 2021 U Sports Women’s Soccer Championships after beating the tournament hosts, Cape Breton University, 3-0 on Sunday.
 
The match, the tournament’s consolation final, was a textbook shutout from this year’s Gaels—with third-year striker Jenna Matsukubo and first year fullback Hannah Melchiorre leading the scoresheet. With the win, the Gaels finish their season as the fifth-ranked team in the nation and an OUA Championship to their credit.
 
“[I’m] just super proud of our group,” Head coach, Dave McDowell, said in an interview with The Journal following Sunday’s game.
 
“We’ve won national championships and not played as well as we did this weekend.”
 
Although not an ideal result from what McDowell believes is one of his greatest teams he has ever coached, the 
Gaels fifth-place finish at the tournament comes with a 2-1 record at the championship—the only blemish being their first-round loss to MacEwan.
 
Speaking to that result, McDowell expressed his admiration of their opponent for capitalizing on what was their first national appearance in school history, but he still maintains Queen’s was the better team.
 
“All credit to MacEwan who beat us in the first game and then went on to win the national title, but for us, through most of that game, we were very comfortable.”
 
Tied at 1-1 until the 81st minute of play, an unexpected push by a MacEwan forward resulted in a goal that ended up costing the Gaels the match nine minutes later. 
 
Up for elimination in their following game—a contest against Acadia—the Gaels were able to edge out the Axewomen with a 1-0 win after a round of penalty kicks, and in doing so punched their ticket for a possible fifth-place finish on Sunday. They were able to capitalize on the opportunity, dousing the Cape Breton Capers 3-0.
 
Looking back on the year, McDowell believes his squad boasted a characteristic ubiquity in their commitment to achieving high performance results, and he’s perfectly happy with the way they performed. Although they couldn’t seal a national title, the Gaels were nonetheless able to capture their first OUA Championship since 2015—no mean feat for a team with a predominantly younger roster.
 
“I think we’re pretty happy with what we did this year and would be quite happy to come back and do that all again,” he said.
 
“But we [are losing] some players who have had an incredible impact on our program both on the field and off the field […] I think for me, that’s the most pressing thing […] to make sure that we’re developing players to take their places.”
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