Shootout lifts Hawks to semi-final

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s soccer team met up with the Western Mustangs in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarterfinals last Saturday and secured their spot in the next round of competition after taking the game into extra time and winning in a shootout.

The Hawks came out onto the field strong and despite fighting against a heavy wind in the first half, Julia Marchese put them ahead with a goal after 21 minutes of play. The Mustangs answered back just before the half-time whistle with a goal of their own.

“A little mistake at the back cost us a goal,” said head coach Barry MacLean.
“In the first half I thought we did very well, after that I don’t think we did very well at all and I think we were very lucky to get a result in the end.”

In the second half it was the Mustangs turn to come out strong, taking the lead quickly with a second unanswered goal, but only minutes later, Tanya Pedron brought the Hawks level again, capitalizing on a free kick by putting the ball past the Mustang’s keeper and into the top right corner.

The score was tied 2-2 after regular time and remained so after two 15 minute extra time halves, forcing the teams into a penalty shoot out.

The Mustangs were up first and both teams put in their initial three shots, with defender Hannah Ryan and midfielders Becca Isaacs and Alyssa Lagonia all stepping up to the penalty spot for Laurier.

Hawks goalkeeper Mal Woeller put herself in front of the next Mustang attempt, keeping the ball out of the net, followed by Hawks midfielder Heather Malizia who netted Laurier’s fourth. It all came back to Woeller who got her hands on the final Mustang kick, securing Laurier’s 3-2 win.

Woeller gave insight into her approach to handling the stress of a penalty shoot out, saying “[I] just try and relax.”

“I got more excited as it went on.”

While her goaltending ultimately gave Laurier the win, Woeller points out how important the success of her teammates was in the shoot out.

“I was happy that the girls put them away too,” she said. “It’s a lot of pressure on the shooters as well.”

The Hawks now move on to face the OUA east divison’s second-place finishers, the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the semi-finals this Saturday in Kingston, kicking off at 1:30 p.m. Last season, the Hawks fell to the Gee-Gees in the OUA bronze medal game after being upset by Queen’s in the semi-final.

Looking ahead to the semi-finals, MacLean points out where the team struggled against the Mustangs and what they need to do in order to continue their winning.

“I just don’t think we competed as well as we could have today,” he said. “We have to play with more balance, we have to play more of our style of passing.”

Woeller looks to their win in the quarterfinals as motivation for the team’s continued success, explaining how they now need to “take the momentum from this game and move it forward throughout the rest of the playoffs.”