Soccer heads to semi-final
The Brock Badgers have given the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks’ women’s soccer team problems all season long. The powerhouse Hawks defeated every opponent in their division at least once in the regular season except for the Badgers, who they tied twice, both by a score of 1-1.
The Hawks played the Badgers again on Saturday in the Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) quarterfinals.
This time, the Badgers couldn’t deny the Hawks the victory as Ali McKee and Heather Malizia continued their high-scoring ways from the end of the season, each contributing a goal in the 2-1 win.
To come away with the win, the Hawks had to battle through frigid winds and inconsistent refereeing as many off-sides, handballs or foul calls were not addressed as such, and sometimes missed altogether.
“The refereeing was a disaster, but we handled the game very well,” said coach Barry MacLean.
“It’s tough when you get bad refereeing, but I mean, you’ve just got to work with what you get,” added McKee, who scored the Hawks’ first goal of the post-season, nine minutes into the match.
McKee’s goal gives her a streak of four consecutive games with a goal, as she finished the regular season first on the team with nine.
“I just try and go out and work my hardest every game, and I’ve just been getting some pretty good results so far. I haven’t done anything differently,” said a modest McKee.
With the Hawks up 1-0 in the 45th minute, the Badgers were given a free kick just inside midfield. Laura Tirone took the kick, and nailed it right on net. Laurier goalkeeper Tristin Vogel made the save, but couldn’t corral the rebound, and Alexandra Esposito buried it into an open net to tie it for Brock.
In the 55th minute, Malizia would take the game over as she carried the ball with unmatched speed down right field and slid it far side past a sprawling Rhoden to give the Hawks the lead once again.
That marker would be all the Hawks needed to ensure the win.
The Hawks shut-down the Badgers’ offence throughout the game with steady defence from Tania Pedron, Sadie Anderson and Liora Berger.
Their swift transition game to the midfielders and forwards proved to be too much for the Badgers to handle.
“[Our defence] was well-organized, and didn’t give up too many chances,” said MacLean. “We created way more chances than they did and it was a fair result for us.”
The Hawks now set their sights on the semi-finals as they face the Queen’s Gaels on Saturday at York University field.
However, they will have to play the rest of the playoffs without star midfielder, Alyssa Lagonia.
Lagonia was called up to train with Canada’s national team until Nov. 14. The third-year will likely only be able to return to the Hawks this season if they make the medal round at the national championship, which runs from Nov. 12-15 at the University of Toronto.