Laurier’s season comes to a tough end

File Photo/ by Garrison Oosterhof

Playoffs are an exciting enough time for sports fans, but to be treated to a trilogy was definitely a nice surprise for fans of Wilfrid Laurier University women’s soccer team.

The trilogy began as the Golden Hawks faced the McMaster Marauders on  Oct. 25.

The game started out with a great level of energy and intensity from Laurier, as the rest that their starters were given this past week looked like it had paid dividends.

It started with a strong defensive display by Nicole Lyon in Mac’s zone and from there the team would follow suit with a flurry of chances.

The Marauders would not back down; showing they could match the intensity but Laurier proved they showed up to win.

“[It goes] up and down,” he continued. “We had a number of really good performances along the way [but] we had a lot of mediocre performances too.”

After plenty of opportunities, the Hawks would open the scoring, as Maxine Murchie would score with a header from a cross by Nicole Lyon off of a free kick in minute 44.

The second half would not only come with more chances, but great goalkeeping.

In minute 57, Mac managed to get a breakaway, and when everyone thought it would be 1-1, Ashley Almeida said “no way, no how” with a spectacular save.

Minute 70 is where Laurier would put the game away, as Maxine Murchie would score again, breaking through Mac’s defense, beating the goalkeeper and putting the ball into the empty net.

With strong defense, great goalkeeping and even better offensive play carrying them through, the Hawks would win 2-0, advancing to play Guelph next.

“It’s one of our better performances on the year,” head coach, Barry MacLean said. “On balance, we were sharp on almost every level. We had a bit of a 10 or 15-minute lapse in the middle of the second half where we gave up a few chances but I thought we played with the ball very well.”

“We were organized and we stuck to our game plan well and we finished two good chances; our goalkeeping was excellent.”

Up next the Golden Hawks faced off against the Guelph Gryphons – who would present a bigger challenge – on Oct. 29. 

The Gryphons came out to play, early and fast, while the same could not be said for the Hawks.

After managing to get a couple of opportunities off corners, Guelph would open the scoring in a goal by Victoria Hinchliffe in minute seven.

As the first half wore on, Laurier seemed to settle in a bit more but still did not play at a high level.

“The first half I think we were just a little bit erratic, and I think the goal was offside but we’ll see when I see the video,” coach MacLean said.

“But I didn’t think that we played our game, we kind of got settled into how they were playing which was a bit more disjointed.”

The second half would not get any easier for the Golden Hawks.

After a couple of opportunities for both sides, the Gryphons would score in minute 55 on a high shot by Vanessa Mazur that goalkeeper Ashley Almeida couldn’t get a piece of.

Following that would be another goal by Mazur in minute 61, making it 3-0.

Down, but not out, Laurier would show resilience in a time when most would say the game was over.

“Yeah, [the] reality was, we were still fighting at 3-0 and we thought we could still get back in the game but we were pushing numbers forward so, when you push numbers forward, you’re always susceptible at the back, and we got punished for that,” coach MacLean said.

As the game was coming to a close, Guelph managed to score twice more in minutes 87 and 89, making the final score 5-0. 

“I don’t think we had a good game, full stop. I don’t think it was a 5-0 game and I’ve never experienced losing 5-0 before so, tough on. But, they wanted it more than us in reality, we didn’t compete as well as we should have,” coach MacLean said.

“[It goes] up and down,” he continued. “We had a number of really good performances along the way [but] we had a lot of mediocre performances too.”

“It’s a team hopefully that’s growing, we’re only losing one player. So, on balance, I think that we’ve got a lot of growth in us and we just need to get some other bodies healthy and we need to add depth to our roster.”

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