Women’s soccer finishes strong

It came as no surprise on Sunday when the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s soccer team snatched a win against the Waterloo Warriors. About twenty minutes into the second half, Kelsey Abbott was the first to put Laurier on the board after receiving a beautiful cross pass from Nicole Currie.

Not long after, Krista Cellucci showed off her skill when she received a long pass and used some fancy footwork to get around a lonely defender to sneak the ball just past the Waterloo goal keeper. That made the final score 2-0 for the Golden Hawks.

Having already locked up a first place spot in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) division west last weekend and heading into this game with only one loss on their record, the team’s assistant coach Niki Budalic saw this game as a great opportunity.

“We got a chance to play a lot of the players that don’t normally play,” he said. “I was very proud of them that they put in the effort. They stayed composed and they won the game.”

Despite not playing their starters, the team looked strong and was consistent in their ball control especially during the second half.

“To be honest all the girls stepped up but we had a couple of older players like Becca and Nicole that were captains today that led the team. Erica was also very, very good, but we just relied on the older players to give some guidance to the younger ones,” Budalic said.

Last season, the Hawks advanced to the OUA semi-finals, but suffered a hard loss. This year Budalic is confident that their team will prevail.

“Our next game is the playoffs so our expectation is to win. We are first place and we have shown all year that we are the best team in this division. We just have to go out there and prove it,” said Budalic.

“We are going to try to prepare. Now from our experience last year we know what we are getting into. So we are going to prepare for the teams during training and prepare for them tactically, and hopefully we’ll have a better result.”

The game’s first goal-scorer, Kelsey Abbott echoed Budalic’s confidence and enthusiasm for the upcoming playoff games.

“I think it was a good win to go into the playoffs. I feel good about it. We hope to go right through [the playoffs], obviously do our best and get good performances and get results throughout,” Abbott said.

With both the experienced veterans and the talented younger players, the Golden Hawks have high hopes and expectations for the playoff games ahead.

The Hawks begin their drive to the championship this Saturday when they host the lowest remaining seed from this Wednesday’s playoff in the OUA quarter-finals.