A not-so-happy homecoming

Blues’ men’s and women’s soccer fall to Gaels
Varsity women's soccer Homecoming game. Justin Fontaine/THE VARSITY
Varsity women's soccer Homecoming game. Justin Fontaine/THE VARSITY

The Varsity Blues’ women’s soccer team fell 1-0 in a tough contest with the visiting Queen’s Gaels on Saturday. The Blues now stand in second place in the OUA rankings at 5-2-1, behind the undefeated Ottawa Braves.

The early game saw Queen’s seize the initiative, keeping possession well inside the Blues’ side and taking two shots on net in the first 15 minutes. The Blues rebounded quickly, however, and took the fight to Queens’ net.

Midfielder Nicki Parkes got off Toronto’s first shot of the game, launching a graceful arc that bounced off the crossbar in the 16 minute. Toronto kept up the offense as strikers Alexandra Rocha and Chelsea Cheung both found opportunities near the net, but it was Queen’s that drew first blood, when midfielder Jessie de Boer converted a rebound from the crossbar to send a shot past Blues goalkeeper Sara Petrucci 34 minutes in.

The second half saw both teams fight for a draw. Goal keeper Sara Petrucci had a standout performance in the second half, making a clutch save on a dramatic header from Queen’s forward Rachel Radu in the dying moments.

“Toronto’s a fantastic team, so to get a result here on an away [game] is terrific for us,” said Queen’s head coach Dave McDowell, who attributed his team’s performance to a strong offence. “I certainly think we’re good at attacking and have created a lot of chances offensively,” he concluded.

Blues’ goalkeeping coach Dave Ennis also offered a measured analysis of the game. “Obviously we’re disappointed — you want to win your home games, especially in front of a big crowd,” Ennis said, “we never really got going today, but I don’t think we have too many complaints… We’re unhappy giving up a goal… but you can’t take anything away from Queen’s today.”

After the women’s game, the Varsity Blues’ men’s soccer team took to the pitch and broke their five game undefeated streak in a 2-1 loss against the visiting Queen’s Gaels, in a game marked by tough weather conditions and even tougher play on the field. The Blues now stand in third place in the OUA rankings at 4-2-1, behind the first place Ryerson Rams and the second place Carleton Ravens.

The match opened up with a torrential downpour just before play started, sending spectators fleeing from the stands to covered locations — but the Blues started the game in an equally dramatic fashion, as striker Nirun Sivananthan scored his fourth goal of the season on a header in just the third minute of the game.

Queen’s responded in turn when forward Jacob Schroeter sent a strike past Blues’ goalkeeper Rab Bruce-Lockhart in the tenth minute. The heavy rain obscured visibility throughout the first half and lead to a more aggressive approach to ball control on both sides, with slide tackles as the weapon of choice. Queen’s notched up five fouls to Toronto’s four in the first half alone. The rain abated and the sun came out again with the start of the second period, but this didn’t translate to shots on goal until the sixtieth minute, when both teams began pressing hard for a decisive advantage.

Though the Blues fought valiantly, they could not score a tying in the remaining time.

After the game, Blues’ midfielder Hugo Vieira mulled over the results. “It was a tough loss,” Vieira said. “The weather made it pretty tough in the first 15-20 minutes, but the thing is, these conditions are for both teams, so you just have to push through it.”

Blues goalkeeper Rab Bruce-Lockhart agreed.

“It’s never nice when you lose,” he said. “It was definitely difficult circumstances, but that’s true for both teams [it] cleared up in the end, but it was not the easiest.”

The Blues’ men’s and women’s soccer team face Trent University in Peterborough on October 3.

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