Golden Hawks drop championship quarterfinal game to Spartans

Kiara Reyes tries to handle the ball during Thursday afternoon's CIS quarterfinal loss. (Photo by Heather Davidson)

Kiara Reyes tries to handle the ball during Thursday afternoon’s CIS quarterfinal loss. (Photo by Heather Davidson)

TORONTO, Ont. – A miscommunication on a corner kick and some defensive lapses turned out to be the determining factors in a 3-0 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) quarterfinal loss for the Wilfrid Laurier women’s soccer team.

The Hawks, who less than a week ago claimed the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship, were in a battle against the Trinity Western Spartans, the finalists out of the Canada West conference.

However, errors were too much for the Hawks to overcome, allowing an own goal at the end of the first half to be the only goal needed in the loss.

“The score is not a reflection of the game at all,” head coach Barry MacLean said. “On balance of play, we were as good as they were throughout the game. We had a couple of great chances. On balance, I thought we were superb.”

The Hawks got off to a shaky start, unable to get their shape and losing a lot of opportunities through the middle. Fourth-year defender Kelsey Tikka went down hard after getting a brush burn from the turf, giving Laurier a minor scare.

About 18 minutes into the half, third-year striker Emily Brown had an opportunity off a corner kick, but couldn’t quite get her foot on it.

Just a few minutes later, Brown had another opportunity at the top of the 18-yard box, but was taken down by a Spartan defender. No call was made on the play.

In the 36th minute, midfielder Suzanne Boroumand went up for a head ball and collided heads with Trinity Western’s defender. Boroumand fell immediately to the ground and did not return until late into the second half.

With four minutes left in the half, Kiara Reyes sent a beautiful cross to Jacqueline Lence at the top of the box, but Lence sent her shot just wide to the right for the game to remain scoreless.

In the final minute of play in the half, the Spartans were given a corner kick. Miscommunication from fourth-year goalkeeper Katrina Ward and some misplay by the ball gave Trinity Western an own goal to put them up 1-0.

“At the half, we still felt like we were in it,” said third-year midfielder Julie Maheu. “We were still putting on pressure and they thought they were going to stomp all over us, which wasn’t the case. We were still doing well. And then there was another mistake where it was one thing after another.”

Laurier’s second half started off well for the Hawks, with second-year Sarah Farano getting a good shot from the top of the box, but Spartans’ keeper Rachel Bedek got a hand on it.

In the 69th minute, Ward got a hand on a kick from a Spartan attacker, however her rebound went directly to the head of Krista Gommeringer, who made no mistake sending it into the back of the net. The Spartans were up 2-0 going into the final 20 minutes of the game.

Laurier’s final big opportunity came in the 75th minute when Brown sent a bullet flying toward Bedek, but it would ring off the crossbar.

Julie Maheu carries the ball up the sideline against the Trinity Western Spartans during Thursday's CIS quarterfinal loss. (Photo by Heather Davidson)

Julie Maheu carries the ball up the sideline against the Trinity Western Spartans during Thursday’s CIS quarterfinal loss. (Photo by Heather Davidson)

Finally, after Tikka tried to head the ball back to Ward, Gommeringer intercepted the pass and sent the ball past Ward to seal Laurier’s fate and the 3-0 victory.

“We’ve played soccer, we’ve passed the ball, we were very confident [and] they played with character,” MacLean said. “We’re losing 3-0 in the final five minutes and every single person is fighting like it’s a do-or-die situation. I couldn’t be more proud of our girls.”

“We made a couple mistakes. We just came out of the OUAs and everyone’s pumped and this is what happens,” Maheu said. “I’m still proud of my team, we fought to the end, which was great. It’s just, again, disappointing.”

The Spartans will move on to the championship semifinal, while Laurier will play in the consolation semifinal tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 p.m. ET against the loser of the Cape Breton Capers, the winners of the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference, and the Toronto Varsity Blues, the hosts of the tournament.

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