Soccer Hawks settle for heartbreaking silver

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Revenge is sweet. That is, unless you’re on the receiving end of it. And that’s where the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s soccer team found themselves on Sunday afternoon, after a gut-wrenching 1-0 extra time loss to the Queen’s Gaels in the Canadian Interunviersity Sport (CIS) championship game.

The dramatic win not only gave Queen’s the gold medal, but also some vindication as just one week ago the Hawks topped the Gaels 1-0 in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) final.

But what makes this loss so heartbreaking for the Hawks is the fact that they dominated possession and had the majority of chances for almost the entire game. They simply couldn’t find a way to score.

“I’m really disappointed for the girls,” said Laurier head coach Barry MacLean. “I thought they deserved a better fate, I thought we were the better team on the day. [We] fell a little bit short at the end, but that’s just the way it goes, one goal wins the game.”

That one goal came early in the second half of extra time when Gaels’ Riley Filion blasted a near-perfect shot from just outside the 18-yard-box just underneath the bar, past Hawks’ goalkeeper Mal Woeller.

The goal came on one of the few Queen’s scoring chances of the day, as the Laurier back line of Sadie Anderson, Kelsey Tikka, Jessica Carter and Nicole Currie held the Gaels’ attack, including forwards Kelli Chamberlain and Jacqueline Tessier — who finished first and second respectively in OUA easy scoring — in check for most of the game’s 120 minutes. Overall, it was a gutsy performance from the Hawks and one that MacLean is proud of.

“I think it’s incredible how they performed based on the fact that a lot of them are struggling with injuries,” he said. “The performances that they put in, Kelsey Tikka, Tania Pedron, basically everybody, they were held together with scotch tape and I thought it was a fantastic performance.”

Underscoring the fact that the Hawks were likely the best team at the tournament was the fact that they dominated the post-game awards. Woeller, Currie, Tikka, Pedron and midfielder Alyssa Lagonia were all named tournament all-stars, taking up five of the 11 spots.

Tikka, meanwhile continued to add to her impressive rookie season, being named tournament MVP. This comes just days after being named CIS rookie of the year, after already winning the same award for the OUA west division.

“Kelsey Tikka doesn’t always get the credit that she deserves but she is an incredible player,” said MacLean. “On the biggest stage, injured, she performed at the highest level. There’s nothing else we could’ve asked from the girl.”

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