On Saturday, Varsity Blues women’s soccer team’s performance showed why they are not only one of the top teams in the province, but also in the country. In contrast, the RMC Paladins’ performance showed why the “beautiful game” isn’t always so pretty.
On an overcast day on the pitch at Varsity Stadium, dozens of fans were treated to more of a demolition derby than a soccer match. The big-wheeled Varsity Blues’ relentless attack ran over the Paladins like they were cheap, rusty Chevys, handing them a lopsided 6-0 defeat.
Perhaps having the football grid still painted on the Varsity Stadium field inspired the Blues to put up a football score against their opponents. How badly did the Blues outplay the Paladins? Less then four minutes into the match, the home side had already buried two goals behind Paladins keeper Olivia Clarke.
In the third minute, Melanie Seabra, inexplicably left unmarked inside the 18-yard box, buried her sixth of the year into the twine from 15 yards out. On the Blues’ very next possession, Arin King lobbed a perfect pass from almost 40 yards out to teammate Jesse Fantozzi. All alone, at point blank range, Fantozzi made no mistake with her team-leading eighth goal of the season, bringing the score to 2-0 Blues.
Those early two goals clearly rattled the Paladins, as they looked hesitant, sloppy, and scared on each possession afterward. Not once in the half did their forwards mount anything resembling a challenge on Blues’ goalkeeper Mary Anne Barnes.
Credit must also go to the back four on the Blues, as they easily brushed aside any rare Paladins venture into U of T territory, and all match they frustrated the Paladins’ only striker, Katrina Searle. Fifth-year defender Heidi Borgmann added a little offence to the defence, with several strong rushes up the field, setting up her teammates for several scoring opportunities.
The Blues forwards would continue to pick apart RMC’s defence for the remainder of the half, resulting in several close calls and culminating in a 26-minute strike with Mel Bowen tapping in a world-class cross from Fantozzi just inside the six-yard box.
The half-time whistle finally gave the Paladins a chance to breath as the Blues poured it on until the end, forcing Clarke into action several times, but she managed to keep the Blues advantage stalled at three.
However, deja vu would strike Clarke so hard in the second half that in the 49th minute she was injured during a collision with a teammate on another Blues scoring chance and had to leave the game.
After that, head coach Eva Havaris’ super-subs took over.
In the 72nd minute, Jen Siu ran it in from 30 yards out, crossed it to Christina Fantozzi who tapped it to Natalie Law. Law calmly dribbled it by a Paladin defender, before slickly chipping the ball to the back of the net.
Moments later in the 74th minute, defender Jackie Miklovich found Siu from 20 yards out. Siu quickly stopped and netted the ball for a score of 5-0 Blues.
Before anyone could blink, in the 78th minute, RMC fouled Christina Fantozzi as the Blues pressed inside the penalty area, setting up a penalty shot for the senior. She made no mistake, and the score was 6-0 Blues.
Nearing the end of the match, it was clear the Paladins couldn’t wait to hear the final whistle and get back to their base in Kingston. Their offence was anemic—unable to manage a shot on Barnes all match.
The final whistle gave the Blues a team record 11 wins, breaking last season’s total of 10. However, with the Queen’s Golden Gaels 2-0 victory over Carleton and the Ottawa Gee Gees 2-0 win over Ryerson, the Blues can place no better than second.
This set up a dramatic second place showdown on Sunday: The Blues played to a 1-1 draw with the Gee-Gees, earning a first-round bye in the OUA playoffs.