Brown propels Laurier to Final Four

In the final home game of her career, fifth-year striker Emily Brown of the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks fired a rebounded shot from Katie Bishop in the 68th minute to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead in the Ontario University Athletics quarter-final game against the Windsor Lancers.

This proved to be the game-winning goal, sending the Hawks to the OUA Final Four in Ottawa this coming weekend for a chance to vie for a berth to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship in British Columbia.

“It’s funny — when you’re in the moment and your adrenaline is rushing so much, I don’t want to say zone-out but things are happening so fast you’re not really registering them,” Brown said about scoring the goal.

“I honestly remember the shot, and I don’t remember the goalie hitting it, and I just remember it being at my feet and I was just thinking, ‘just calm composure. You don’t need a fancy shot, just tap it in.’”

The goal originally started when rookie defender Natalie Barry launched the ball towards the sidelines to a streaking Nicole Lyon who battled down the field against three Lancers defenders to set up the initial shot.

The second-year shot it past two other Lancer defenders and Bishop raced towards it, taking the initial shot.

The ball perfectly rebounded into Brown’s feet, who swiftly kicked it into the back of the goal.

“It’s fitting that she scored because she is a natural goal scorer but she did a ton of other work that goes unnoticed, like what Nicole Lyon did on that goal was phenomenal, breaking two or three defensive challenges and then putting Katie Bishop in,” head coach Barry MacLean said.

“There was a lot of good positive things in that goal but Emily finishing is good for us.”

The Hawks faced an unusual opponent in the quarter-finals after Windsor upset the No. 7 Western Mustangs last Wednesday. With the Lancers’ history of battling teams to a scoreless draw, Brown said it did not change her approach to how she viewed the game.

“We needed the same intensity, the same passion, the same result as if it was any other game, or any other team. We were just focused on winning and not really who the other team was,” she explained.

MacLean’s approach to the game did not change either.

“They’re a tough team to break down, their goalkeeping is excellent, they are aggressive offensively and it’s tough playing in this wind. Wind is the biggest enemy of soccer, and definitely factored into how we possessed the ball,” MacLean said. “I think that was great for us that we got the goal and I think if we can score then, we can score another time.”

With the win, the Hawks qualify for their ninth consecutive OUA Final Four championship.

Up next, the Hawks face a familiar opponent in the No. 3 Ottawa Gee-Gees. The Hawks and Gee-Gees have a long history in meeting up in the semifinals with a national berth on the line. Last year, the Hawks came close, but fell to the Gee-Gees 1-0 in extra time after Bishop missed a penalty kick in the 88th minute failing to seal the game for Laurier. The Hawks are also 2-3 in their last five meetings with their East division rival.

The two will clash in the Final Four on Nov. 7, with kickoff scheduled for 2 p.m. at Matt Anthony Field.

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