Hawks get revenge in OUA semis

Amanda Mithrush attempts the header during the OUA semi-final game against the Queen’s Gaels (Photo by Jody Waardenburg)

OTTAWA, Ont. — Nothing tastes quite as sweet as revenge.

Rewind to a year ago, the Wilfrid Laurier women’s soccer team saw their provincial gold medal fly away with the ball that sailed over the net during a 1-0 Ontario University Athletics (OUA) final loss to the Queen’s Gaels in penalty kicks.

Saturday afternoon, the same ball sailed over the crossbar of the net in an almost-eerily similar game to the same Gaels. Except this time, it was Laurier who would cheer.

In a 1-0 penalty kick win, the Hawks defeated the Gaels in the OUA semi-final match to advance to the final Sunday afternoon.

With the win, Laurier also secured themselves the second berth in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national championship in Victoria, British Columbia next weekend.

“I thought it was a very good game. I thought it was a very even game,” said head coach Barry MacLean after the match. “There were quite a few chances. I thought Queen’s out-chanced us, but in the other games that we have lost to them we out-chanced them.

“Soccer’s kind of cruel that way.”

The Hawks dominated the first half, controlling the ball through midfielder Katie Bishop, who coordinated the tempo and generated multiple chances for the Laurier strikers, as well as throwing three shots of her own on Queen’s netminder Madison Tyrell.

“I thought Katie Bishop was our best player,” MacLean said. “She dictated the flow of the game. I don’t think we used her enough, but when she was on the ball we actually got forward very well.”

However, through 45 minutes the game remained scoreless, leading into a second half dictated by the Gaels’ attack.

With six shots on Laurier goaltender Katrina Ward, the Gaels found chances to find the back of the net in the speed of star offensive players Jackie Tessier and Riley Fillion. However, two goal posts and some solid Laurier defence helped keep the game tied after 90 minutes.

“They were crucial,” Ward said of her defenders. “Honestly, they shot down some of their biggest strikers, biggest players—girls who have been here for years and years and years. They just shut them right down. I honestly couldn’t do what I do without them.”

After two halves of extra time solved nothing, the Gaels and Hawks found themselves in a familiar place: penalties. After Laurier’s Julie Maheu missed her penalty kick, Ward stepped up and stopped the Gaels’ ensuing shot to keep the game even.

Rookie Kiara Reyes then stepped up for the final shot and found the back of the net passed Tyrell.

“I knew where I was going to put it,” Reyes said. “[Tyrell] was kind of intimidating at the beginning, but I knew where I was going.

Queen’s final shooter, Breanna Burton, went high left over the net to finish off the game and secure Reyes’ goal as the winner.

The Hawks will now play the host and No. 1 Ottawa Gee-Gees — who defeated the McMaster Marauders earlier Saturday 1-0 — Sunday at 2 p.m. in the gold medal game. The Gaels will play the Marauders for bronze and the final spot at nationals at 11 a.m.

And MacLean explained exactly how his team will attempt to fight off the undefeated Gee-Gees.

“Just beat them. That’s it.“

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