Women’s soccer falls in gold medal match

(Photo by Jody Waardenburg)

OTTAWA, Ont. — Most teams can never say they earned silver.

But the way the Wilfrid Laurier women’s soccer team kept with the No. 1 Ottawa Gee-Gees Sunday afternoon, they can say they did.

The Gee-Gees defeated the Hawks 1-0 in the gold medal match of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) final four with a goal in extra time. This was the second game in a row that the Hawks went to extra time, after defeating the Queen’s Gaels 1-0 in penalty kicks Saturday afternoon.

“After playing 120 minutes yesterday then going through the same thing again today, the girls show so much character. I couldn’t be more proud of them,” head coach Barry MacLean said. “I’m disappointed for them. Later when it got into overtime, you could tell a lot of our players, their legs were gone, but they fought right to the death and I’m really disappointed for them.”

After playing a combined 240 minutes in two games, the Hawks relied on the defence of Kelsey Tikka, Kelsey Abbott, Jess Carter and Sarah Farano to stop the Ottawa attack.

Through 90 minutes, Laurier held Ottawa to nine shots with only a few tangible opportunities finding iron or the grasp of the Hawks’ netminder Katrina Ward.

Ottawa held Laurier to six shots before the end of regulation.

“Katrina was amazing today and yesterday,” said Abbott, one of the team’s co-captains. “[She] saved us a couple times, came up big. She will be someone that will shine for us for a long time now but huge game today, huge game yesterday.”

In extra time, Ottawa utilized their depth, sending nine shots on Ward. In the 114th minute, Ottawa’s striker Pilar Khoury lobbed a header past Ward to gain the lead with less than six minutes left in overtime.

The Hawks were unable to find offence in the final minutes and succumbed to a 1-0 loss for the second straight year.

“I think today is a character day, playing yesterday and going into overtime and playing the extra minutes,” Abbott said. “Maybe in the future if we can settle the ball down a bit more on the ground that’ll be to our benefit.

The Hawks take home silver for the second year in a row after losing to the Gaels 1-0 last year on penalty kicks. This is their third straight OUA medal after winning gold in 2010.

Despite the loss, Laurier still has a punched ticket to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national championship in Victoria, B.C. on Thursday. The Hawks will now move their focus toward regaining their focus for then.

“I’ll let them lick their wounds right now. Most of them can hardly feel their legs. We’ll get through that and then we’ll regroup and get ourselves sorted out for Thursday,” MacLean said.

The Hawks will open their CIS national journey Thursday against Trinity Western at 7:30 p.m. EST, or 4:30 p.m. Pacific time.

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