Improving with time
Coming off a 1-0 loss to the Windsor Lancers, Wilfrid Laurier’s women’s soccer team knew they had something to prove.
A consistently competitive team in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference and nationally ranked at No.9, the Hawks went into their game Friday night against the Guelph Gryphons looking to put forward a statement.
And so they did, with a 1-0 win against the No.10 Gryphons, handing them their first loss of the season.
“I thought it was our best performance of the year,” said head coach Barry MacLean Friday night. “I thought we played a team that was undefeated, very good and very athletic, and on balance I thought we performed very well and created some chances and scored a great goal. I’m very happy with the result.”
While Sunday’s game against the Western Mustangs didn’t fare as well for the Hawks, the team was still able to salvage a scoreless draw to pick up four of the possible six points from the weekend.
However, Laurier still sits four points behind the Gryphons for the top spot in the OUA West, tied with the Mustangs at 11 points.
The woes for the Hawks come in a struggle to find offence. In six games, Laurier has only managed to get six goals, including two scoreless draws. The lone goal for Laurier on the weekend came from rookie Jacky Normandeau.
The goal is her first-career goal as a Hawk.
“Jacky Normandeau has been improving every week,” MacLean said. “It’s not just the goal, she held the ball up front for us [against Guelph], relieved a lot of pressure for us and her passing was very good. It was a real-class finish.”
“I just try to play my best, try to do what the coaches told me to do,” Normandeau said. “[The coaches] try to give me pointers before the game, then [I] just work hard. And then, I guess, capitalize when you get the chance.”
To continue her stellar performance was also fourth-year goaltender Katrina Ward. Ward recorded two more shutouts, allowing merely two goals in six games.
“I thought it was [Ward’s] best performance of the year [against Guelph]. She’s always improving and I think she’s got her confidence back,” MacLean said. “She read the game from behind, got us out of a few jams, and overall she had a great performance.”
Laurier will prepare for weekend action against both the UOIT Ridgebacks and the York Lions, who sit seventh and sixth in the OUA West, respectively. The Hawks travel to Oshawa Saturday to face the Ridgebacks before returning home to face the Lions Sunday afternoon.
And although it’s taken some time for the Hawks to find their offensive ways, MacLean believes there’s a key to their success.
“Confidence,” he simply put it.