Back to the final four

Women’s soccer is set to play in the 2014 OUA semifinals

Photo by Heather Davidson
Photo by Heather Davidson

When the Wilfrid Laurier University women’s soccer team went into penalty kicks for their third straight playoff game, fourth-year goalkeeper Maggie Carmichael stood tall.

When the game remained tied after 120 minutes of play, Laurier took over, scoring four times while Carmichael made two incredible saves in their 2-1 victory that punched their ticket to the Ontario University Athletics final four.

“I was feeling good,” Carmichael said. “I’d been pretty successful in practice so I was hoping for the same result that I had gotten before and I’m really happy it worked out well.”

Carmichael said she was able to read the way the York players were going to kick the ball, which was crucial in making her two saves.

“Every player’s different, but the way that they move approaching the ball really gives away where they’re going to shoot, and I was lucky I was able to read them,” she explained.

Defenders Kelsey Tikka and Sarah Farano, midfielder Jacqueline Lence and forward Emily Brown all scored for the Hawks during penalty kicks. After Tikka’s goal gave the Hawks the advantage, both teams traded back and forth goals until York’s fourth shooter was denied by Carmichael, propelling the Hawks to a hard-fought victory.

“She was outstanding for us, not just for penalties but in other aspects of the game,” head coach Barry McLean said about Carmichael’s performance. “We talked right before the penalties and we said they’re not going to score more than two goals on Maggie.”

Laurier started off slow coming into the first half, and York got on the board first with a well timed cross and finish to take the lead going into halftime.

“We got a little bit behind the game, but we had a good halftime, had a chat. We had a couple of changes, from then on we were the dominant team in the game,” McLean said.

When the second half began, it didn’t take long for the momentum to swing in favour of the Hawks.

First-year midfielder Nicole Lyon found the back of the net after a corner kick to tie the game at one. The game would remain deadlocked, with both teams having strong scoring opportunities but nobody was able to finish.

Coming into overtime, York had some good opportunities in the front half of the frame but strong play by the Laurier back end as well as Carmichael kept the door shut.

The Hawk’s back end has remained intact for the majority of the season, with only minor changes being made.

Carmichael was happy with the way defender Jacky Normandeau was able to limit scoring opportunities from York’s key player third-year Nour Ghoneim, and position herself in the scoring lane to take away Ghoneim’s chances.

This will be the eighth consecutive year that the Hawks advance to the OUA final four. According to McLean, the first playoff game is always the hardest game to play.

“It’s the first game of that season, and I think once the nerves go away you get a lot better performances,” he explained. “The first 45 minutes of [the game] was a little bit anxious, not our normal tempo and when we adjusted we were fine.”

Laurier will kick off the final four tournament against the top seed in the OUA East, the Ottawa Gee-Gee’s. They will take to the pitch at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton, Ontario on Nov. 12:30 p.m.

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