‘Lights out’ against cross-town rivals
Women’s soccer finishes series sweep against Waterloo, shutting the Warriors out 2-0 Saturday
The Wilfrid Laurier University women’s soccer team continue to make their mark as possibly one of the strongest programs in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport over the past weekend. The Hawks have managed to maintain their status near the top of the CIS, ranked No. 4 in the most recent top 10 rankings. With a 2-0 victory at home over the Waterloo Warriors on Sept.19, the Hawks record improved to 5-0-1.
On Tuesday, Sept. 22, Laurier took on the Guelph Gryphons in Guelph, coming out with a 2-1 victory thanks to a goal in the 70th minute from third-year Maxine Murchie. Laurier now sits undefeated after seven games with a 6-0-1 record.
But what’s the key to success for the Hawks? For one thing, they are led by head coach Barry MacLean, who is no stranger to success. CoachMacLean strives to get the absolute best out of his group of players. After the convincing win on Saturday, MacLean was still hungry to see more from his team.
“It’s a good result. I don’t think we were ever in danger of losing the game, but I don’t think we played great. We played a little too much of the game in our own half of the pitch,” MacLean said.
“If you want to be a top team in the country, you can’t choose your moments.”
With goals from third-year defender Jacky Normandeau and fifth-year striker Emily Brown, the Hawks continue their dominancy at home. Normandeau got the offence rolling 15 minutes into the game when she slipped the ball past the Warrior goalkeeper.
Brown added her 10th tally of the season at the 24th minute to secure the lead.
Laurier has not lost a home game since Sept. 27, 2013 against the University Ontario Institute of Technology.
The shutout on the rainy Saturday afternoon would go to first-year goalkeeper Ashley Almeida. Coach MacLean’s attitude of always wanting the best out of his players appears to have rubbed off on Almeida.
“I felt like we could have done better, but with the conditions the way it was, I think we did well as a team,” said Almeida.
A strong defence has been another key factor for the Hawks’ success, and Almeida has been stellar in net this season. With the win on Saweturday, Almeida remains unbeaten with a 3-0-1 record, and spoke highly of her team after the win.
“With our back four they’re really solid, they always give us their all, 100 per cent,” she added.
MacLean also spoke very highly of the first-year goalkeeper’s performance on Saturday.
“Ashley [Almeida] was very good, but she’s been good all year. I mean, she’s a rookie, and she’ll make the odd mistake, but overall her decision-making is excellent, her shot-stopping is excellent and her distribution at the back is very good,” said MacLean.
“I’m ecstatic with her as a goalkeeper.”
The Hawks continue to bring the offence, as they relentlessly pressure the opposing goalkeepers. They lead the CIS in shot-attempts per game at 25, and are second in the nation with 42 goals through just six games.
The Hawks resume action at home on Sept. 25, versus the Brock Badgers at 6 p.m. at University Stadium.