Women’s soccer primed for a run
The playoffs were looming large on the teams of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) as the No. 5 Wilfrid Laurier University’s women’s soccer team entered the final weekend of their stellar regular season.
They beat the York Lions 1-0 on Friday, snapping their two game losing streak and on Sunday they defeated the McMaster Marauders by a score of 3-0. McMaster (8-5-1) finished second in the OUA West behind the Golden Hawks (12-2-0).
As soon as the whistle blew it became apparent that the Golden Hawks were on their game, as within a couple minutes they had already earned two corners and were passing the ball with uncanny precision.
While on the other side of the ball, the McMaster offence was having trouble solving the Laurier defence and was unable to piece together a solid chance early on. The two sides then settled down into a battle of defences that lasted until the 28th minute when a ball punched out by the McMaster goalkeeper landed at the feet of the Golden Hawks’ leading scorer, Krista Cellucci of Mississauga.
Cellucci settled the ball and fired it into the back of the net to put Laurier up 1-0 and claim her team-leading tenth goal of the season.
The Laurier defence was shutting down McMaster so well, that the Marauders didn’t get their first shot until a few minutes before halftime.
At the half, Cellucci stepped off the field to rest for the playoffs, making way for Julie Maheu.
At the start of the second half McMaster surged, putting the Golden Hawks back on their heels and got a couple good chances. However, the tide quickly turned and McMaster found themselves once again hemmed in their own half.
The Golden Hawks’ efforts would bear fruit once more as in the 56th minute a beautiful cross landed perfectly at the feet of Laurier’s Becca Isaacs, who quickly dispatched it into the McMaster net, reinforcing Laurier’s lead to 2-0.
Then, on a free kick in the 65th minute from near the corner, the ball swung into the McMaster box. Tania Pedron found it and tallied her first goal of the season and ended the contest 3-0.
With the regular season over, Laurier can now focus on the playoffs, but prefacing it with two wins in a row is always a plus.
“We are going to prepare this week really, really tough,” said Cellucci. “I think we’ll have a great mentality going into it … and we’ll just feed off these two wins in the playoffs.”
Cellucci finishes the season tied for second in OUA scoring with her 10 markers.
Laurier now receives a bye through the first round of the post-season and will play an undetermined opponent in the quarterfinals.