Hawks claim silver at OUA championship

(Shelby Blackley/Editor-in-Chief)
(Shelby Blackley/Editor-in-Chief)

OTTAWA, Ont. — It was truly the definition of a heartbreak.

The Wilfrid Laurier women’s soccer team came in to the Ontario University Athletics final against the Queen’s Gaels with high hopes and a ton of confidence. They controlled the first half, but miscommunication and a defensive lapse in the 68th minute would seal the Hawks’ fate. Queen’s would win 1-0, claiming the OUA championship banner.

“I thought it was a very even game,” said head coach Barry MacLean. “I think maybe they out-competed us in the key moments, and I think yesterday’s game took a lot out of us emotionally.”

Despite the loss, Laurier’s season is not over as they qualified for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport national championship in Vancouver, British Columbia next week.

The first half was incredibly even with opportunities on both sides of the ball, but Queen’s controlling possession. Queen’s began to pressure only four minutes in with a chance just outside the 18-yard box, but goalkeeper Ashley Almeida stood tall. In the 32nd minute, a bouncing ball fell to a Gaels’ foot, but Almeida made a strong diving save to keep the game scoreless.

Laurier had an opportunity in the 30th minute when midfielder Katie Bishop turned and sent a bullet toward the net from 25 yards out, but it just sailed over the bar. Suzanne Boroumand also had a chance when she opened fire, but it just missed the crossbar as well.

In the second half, both teams continued to exchange chances, with forward Emily Brown hustling to get the ball on a run, and just got a shot off but Gaels keeper Madison Tyrell stood tall.

But in the 68th minute, Queen’s took advantage of a miscommunication in Laurier’s end and resulted in Tara Bartram beating Almeida on the far side to put the Gaels up 1-0.

Despite a valiant effort in the final 10 minutes by Laurier to try to find the equalizer, Queen’s stood tall to take home the championship banner.

Now, Laurier switches their focus to nationals on Thursday, where the Hawks will take on the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec champions, the Laval Rouge et Or. Laurier has been to nationals four times in the last five years and will be looking to improve on their previous finishes.

“There are going to be eight teams and every one of them is going to be quality. Six teams have a chance to win the thing,” MacLean said. “We hope we’re one of them and we hope we have a little bit of luck and some good performances and see what happens.”

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