Laurier left with much to prove
Hawks keep chasing first-round playoff bye after pulling within one point of Western Mustangs
Although the Wilfrid Laurier University women’s soccer team walked off the field Sunday with a win on the scoreboard, they still feel they have much more to prove.
The Hawks downed the McMaster Marauders 1-0 on Sunday afternoon at University Stadium, moving to 10-2-2 on the season and pushing the Marauders to 6-6-3. Laurier now sits one point back of the second-place Western Mustangs with a game at hand with two games left in the season. The win followed a 0-0 tie against the fifth-place Windsor Lancers on Saturday night.
The lone tally of the match belonged to second-year striker Nicole Lyon, as she slid one into the corner of the net from the top of the 18-yard box 33 minutes into the game.
First-year goalkeeper Ashley Almedia was also able to pick up the shutout, making key saves down the stretch to keep her team in the lead.
According to head coach Barry MacLean, the win was a bright spot in an otherwise dismal performance.
“Well, it was good to get a win, but I think our performance was one of our worst of the year,” he said.
“We have got to find a way to get back to playing the way we play. But, definitely good to get a shutout and definitely good to get a win.”
MacLean was not impressed with his team’s ability to control the game through 90 minutes, seeking out several areas of improvement.
“We didn’t keep possession of the ball, we didn’t move the ball and we didn’t keep the tempo of the game. I think the other team probably had more chances than we did. Those are things that are not hallmarks of our game,” he said.
The Hawks busted out of the gate this season, going undefeated in their first nine games, and filling the stat sheet along the way.
However after two losses to the first-place York Lions and a tough match against Western, the team simply has not been playing up to par.
“The past few weeks have not been our best games. We’ve been struggling a bit. We have had two games Saturday and Sunday one after the other, which obviously makes it difficult, but we have to get some character and pull through in order to get back and stay in second place,” Lyon said.
Lyon’s goal on Sunday afternoon was number 12 for her of the season, moving her just one back of her teammate Emily Brown for the league lead.
Lyon’s presence on the field has been crucial for Laurier as a strong, aggressive player, filling the gap left by graduate Julie Maheu.
The production has drawn the praise of her coach.
“She has had a great season and she scored a good goal. She’s an exceptional, gifted player for sure,” said MacLean.
The Hawks will play two more games against the Guelph Gryphons and the Brock Badgers to close their season. Lyon said these two games are important not only for the standings, but for their confidence as a team.
“It’s crucial for us to stay where we are. We can’t take first place, but we really need to get second place. We need to pick our game up, find it deep inside of us and work on things that have been lacking these last couple of games,” she said.
The Golden Hawks will play their last home game of the year against the Gryphons on Friday, October 23 at University Stadium, at 6 p.m.