VANCOUVER (November 12, 2015) – The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s soccer team’s hopes for a CIS championship came to an end on Thursday as they lost 1-0 to the Laval Rouge et Or in the quarter-finals at Thunderbirds Stadium.
In the first-ever meeting between the two universities, Lea Chastenay-Joseph of Donnacona, Que., scored the game’s only goal in the 35th minute to send the defending national champion Rouge et Or through to the semifinals and relegating the Golden Hawks to the consolation side of the championship bracket.
The Hawks, who were going up against a team that hadn’t lost in 34 straight games, played the Quebec City team close throughout the entire match. Despite the Rouge et Or outshooting Laurier 19-3 in the contest, the purple and gold, ranked eighth entering the championship, were in the match until the final whistle sounded.
“I thought we performed very, very well,” said Hawks head coach BARRY MACLEAN following the match. “We handled ourselves well in every position. I think we managed our game plan very well and we made one little error that cost us the goal, but I would say they were rattled and they didn't get to play the way they wanted to play. As the game wore on, we came into it more and more. We gave them a fright, for sure.”
From the opening whistle, Laval had the majority of scoring opportunities as the top-ranked team in Canada showed their offensive prowess. Just four minutes in, Chastenay-Joseph nearly opened the scoring as she used her speed to break in off the wing, but her shot hit the post and stayed out.
Fifteen minutes later, Laval got another quality chance when Cynthia Turcotte of Quebec City, got behind Laurier’s defence, but Laurier keeper Ashley Almeida of Burlington, Ont., made a big stop to keep the game scoreless.
In the 35th minute, Laval would break the deadlock as Joelle Gosselin of Quebec City, played a ball to the top of the box. Almeida came out to play it, but Chastenay-Joseph managed to get a toe on the ball first, pushing it past the Laurier keeper and into the open net to make it 1-0.
Just minutes later, the Hawks suffered another blow as Maxine Murchie of Kitchener, Ont., jumped up to contest a loose ball in front of Laval’s box. After colliding with the Laval defender, she came down hard and would be forced to leave the game.
Laurier would finally get their first shot towards goal just before halftime when Nicole Lyon of Kitchener, Ont., fired a shot that was blocked. The ball fell to Suzanne Boroumand of Kitchener, Ont., but her shot sailed over the bar, keeping the score 1-0 Laval at the half.
The Hawks would come out of the break continuing their positive play, but Laval’s defensive back four prevented Laurier from getting anywhere near the Rouge et Or’s keeper Marie-Joelle Vandal of Lavaltrie, Que.
Laurier would see their best chances to tie the game come on back-to-back possessions with 15 minutes to play in the match. First, off a free kick, Katie Bishop of Surrey, B.C., fired a shot that flew over the crossbar followed by Boroumand getting an attempt through on goal, but was easily handled by Vandal.
Late in the match, off one of two corners Laurier had in the game, Emily Brown of Waterloo, Ont., picked up a loose ball at the top of the box. As she tried to turn to take a shot, she was taken down by a Laval player and for the second time in the match, a Golden Hawk had to be helped off the field by the training staff.
“I think there's a claim for a penalty but the referee didn't see it that way,” commented MacLean on the collision. “I think that it’s in the box and I think that's a foul, but what can you do.”
Unfortunately for the Hawks, they would be unable to generate a quality scoring opportunity in the final minutes of the match as they suffered their eighth consecutive defeat at the CIS Championship dating back to the 2010 national championship in Prince Edward Island.
Laurier will now take on the AUS Champions, the Cape Breton Capers, in the consolation semifinals on Friday, November 13. The winner will advance to the fifth place match on Saturday, November 14, while the loser will have their season come to an end.
“For some of them, it could be the last game they'll ever play and just hopefully they can get themselves in a good mindset to play that game well,” said MacLean. “It's not going to be easy because right now, we're already being held together by scotch tape with some of the injuries that we've got but we'll do our best.”
Game time is set for 11 a.m. PT at Thunderbirds Stadium.