Women’s Soccer: U SPORTS Rankings And Playoff Preview
And so it begins… PLAYOFFS!!!
With a new number 1 Nationally in Ottawa U in the Women’s USports rankings, Let’s take a look at what could possibly unfold on the travels for teams to book their ticket to Kingston in a couple of weeks to crown an eventual champion for 2023.
So with Canada West starting the preliminaries on Saturday, let’s start there with a pair of games.
The University of Regina’s women’s soccer team took a 4-3 road victory over Alberta on Saturday afternoon in a Canada West play-in game in Edmonton. In a battle where Regina led early in the ninth minute and then after Alberta tied it in the 15th minute, Regina were threatened by the Alberta Panda’s but never did relinquish the lead after they went ahead in the 17th minute for good. After the half where Regina went in with a 3-1 lead, the Panda made it interesting by cutting the lead to 3-2 in the 66th, but the Cougars put the game away for good in the 76th. Alberta did add a goal in injury time but it was a little too late.
The win sends Astrid Baecker’s Cougars into the Canada West quarterfinals and for the third consecutive year, they’ll fly to the West Coast to square off with UBC. This year’s Thunderbirds were 13-1-0 in conference play, finished first in Canada West’s Pacific Division, and are this week’s Number 2 ranked team U SPORTS after being replaced by Ottawa U.
The Thunderbirds have been the consensus number 1 all season and it will be a very tough task for Regina against Jesse Symons’ group that are primed to take it all in Kingston.
In Victoria, dramatic goals at the end of each overtime period forced penalty kicks to decide the winner of the University of the Fraser Valley at University of Victoria Canada West women’s soccer play-in game, Oct. 21 at Centennial Stadium. The Vikes advanced after the 1-1 (3-1 PK) result.
“That was a tough, tough game,” said Vikes head coach Tracy David. “Credit to Fraser Valley, they made it very, very difficult and did really well in pushing us until the final minute of overtime. I’m proud of our players for persevering through this, they showed a lot of grit and determination, and we’re going to need that going forward.”
Though chances were had by both sides during the 90 minutes of regulation, both the Vikes and Cascades used the overtime periods to find the back of the net.
Nearly the full two minutes into stoppage time of the first overtime period, a free kick near the centre circle was given to the Vikes. A quick pass out to Vikes player saw the defender send a high-arcing shot straight to Emma Skalik near the top of the six-yard box. Amongst all the bodies in the box, Skalik used her head to guide the ball to the back of the net and put the Vikes ahead, 1-0, with one overtime period to play.
With seconds winding down in the final overtime period, Dessa Peterson’s free kick from the left side found a moving Kiana Langston along the top line of the six-yard box. Timing it exactly right, Langston’s head sent the ball over the line on the left side of the net for the equalizer, 1-1, in the 120th minute to force a shootout to decide the winner.
It’s not ever easy to lose in the playoffs, but first year Head Coach Ari Adams can take some stock in what she is building at Fraser Valley given where they were a year ago.
Next up, the Vikes head to MacEwan University for a Canada West quarterfinals matchup, Oct. 28th.
MacEwan’s 10-2-2 record is the second best in the program’s Canada West history.
“I’m proud of the team,” said head coach Dean Cordeiro. “This league, this conference is so tough. It’s a lot of effort and I’m just proud of the team and what they’re able to accomplish.
“We definitely wanted to secure top of the table. Our short-term goal has been achieved. Now we turn the page to bigger things ahead. We’ll enjoy top of the table, but we’ll need to get ourselves ready here for the quarter-final in a couple week’s time.”
The women at MacEwan have something to prove after last years’ season was derailed by a heartbreaking mistake in a clerical error within the school cost the team a chance at the playoffs and to defend their 2021 crown. Guaranteed, there are players that want to prove something by getting to Kingston in two weeks time, so the run should be something to watch.
In the final week of AUS women’s soccer action, the U Sports No. 5 ranked StFX X-Women earned their 12th straight victory, remaining undefeated on the season to finish atop the standings.
The U SPORTS No. 5 ranked StFX X-Women played to a dominant 8-0 shutout victory over the Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleues Friday night. Then on Saturday, the X-Women then sealed their perfect undefeated with a 2-0 win over the UNB Reds.
Not to be outdone, the Number 7 Nationally Ranked Cape Breton Capers finished the season with a 10-1-1 record, to finish just behind the X-Women and clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs. Friday night, they visited the UNB Reds, where the match ended in a 2-2 draw as the Reds rallied late to tie the game.
The Acadia Axewomen clinched third in the standings with back-to-back wins over the Memorial Sea-Hawks in St. John’s this weekend. Friday night, the Axewomen earned a 2-1 win and Saturday, the Axewomen held on for another 2-1 victory.
A 4-2 win for the Saint Mary’s Huskies over the Mount Allison Mounties Saturday afternoon allowed the Huskies to clinch the final AUS playoff spot and an appearance for the second straight season.
All of the playoff teams will assemble at Cape Breton University in Sydney, Nova Scotia this weekend from Oct. 26 – Oct. 29 for the 2023 AUS Women’s Soccer Championship – presented by Bell, For game times and more information, click here.
1. xy-StFX X-Women (12-0-0)
2. xy-Cape Breton Capers (10-1-1)
3. x-Acadia Axewomen (8-2-2)
4. x-Dalhousie Tigers (5-4-3)
5. x-Memorial Sea-Hawks (5-6-1)
6. x-Saint Mary’s Huskies (4-7-1)
7. UPEI Panthers (3-6-3)
8. UNB Reds (2-6-4)
9. Mount Allison Mounties (1-9-2)
10. Université de Moncton Aigles Bleues (0-9-3)
No defeats. The Rouge et Or completed a dream season Sunday at Bishop’s by gaining a 12th win in 14 games to finish in first place in the RSEQ with a perfect record of 12-0-2.
This 3-0 victory was the Rouge et Or’s eighth shutout victory this season, a record in Quebec. Laval will begin the playoffs without having given up goals in its last three games of the season. David Desloges ‘ team finished the campaign with an impressive total of 36 goals scored against only six against in the competitive RSEQ.
This is the seventh undefeated season in program history for Laval and the first since 2017. The Rouge et Or begins the playoffs on Friday October 27th at 7 p.m. against the Citadins de l’UQAM at PEPS.
The other semi-final looks to be a “barn burner” with rivals Montreal hosting McGill.
Montreal finished the season on a sour note last Friday October 20th. The Citadins de l’UQAM came to spoil the party at CEPSUM by defeating the Carabins by a score of 2-1, Friday evening.
According to Coach Nadege Akamse, “It was important to win this match and we didn’t do it”. Akamse admitted, “we must be more efficient with the ball and more intelligent in front of our goal. We cannot afford to give the other team penalty shots. We’re going to get back to work this week and make sure we’re ready for our playoff game.”
The last time that the teams met McGill took home the victory after Montreal won earlier during the season. The third place McGill Martlets (6-2-5), sits five points ahead of UQAM (5-5-3) who finished in fourth.
The Carabins will be in action next Friday evening, during the provincial semi-final against the McGill Martlets, at CEPSUM
The RSEQ final will be played on November 3.
It’s never simple in the OUA.
The playoffs start Wednesday with four games that all can be exciting contests.
Ontario Tech @ Nippising
This one may have the opportunity to be the most lopsided of the four gams.
When the two teams met the Lakers took the match and decided that they wanted to send a statement: We can score… often and they won the game 6-0. Tech bounced back with a pair of wins after a narrow loss to U of T 1-0, and have had decent showings versus the likes of Queen’s (3-0 L), and Ottawa U (4-0L). But we are also speaking about the “Crème de la crème” of the OUA much less the country, so it all depends how well Coach Audra Sherman can prepare the Ridgebacks for this latest challenge.
Toronto @ Carleton
This game is a “pick ’em” game. Both teams are fairly evenly matched as they finished 4th (Carleton) and 5th (U of T). They played at the beginning of the season, it was a 1-0 win for Carleton at Carleton, and they have both played fairly evenly throughout the season against some of the “like” opponents.
This one should be very entertaining at “Hogsback High” with a goal separating the two in the end, but whomever comes out of this will get Ottawa U and unless there is some crazy wind and snow storm that alters the field at Ottawa U, (and face it folks, it is late October in Ottawa, it is possible, so send all the hate mail you want, you all know it’s true, it’s just an extension of the season for one of these teams.
Brock @ Guelph
How Guelph got here, MAC owned the tiebreaker by losing to them 4-0 back October 7th in the only meeting this year. Coupled with MAC’s late game heroics on Friday evening in their come from behind win over Windsor, Guelph gets Brock, who they played and won their game 2-0. Guelph should win this game, as Brock although have had a better showing than recent years, do not quite yet have the firepower to overcome the Lady Griffins.
Windsor @ Laurier
The meeting last Sunday between the two teams was more about resignation of who was going to be hosting who for today’s tilt. With Coach Dan Mendonca suspended from Friday’s game with MAC due to yellow card accumulation, Coach Demetri Vascratis took charge and took the game to Laurier. The coaching staff thought that they only needed a tie to gain home field for the first game and changed the tactics to save players for Wednesday’s match. .However, a misinterpretation with the convoluted OUA tie breaking rules, took it to point d, e, or f, and Laurier is hosting the game. This game is a “pick ’em”. There was not much in the Sunday match, so when they play for real tonight, it may get nasty. There may be some bad blood that was spilled due to some poor officiating, that players on both sides were taking exception with each other, but that’s another story for AFTER the playoffs are complete in November.
Enjoy the games and stay tuned.
2023 U SPORTS Women’s Soccer Post-Season
|Sat. 21||Regina * %||4||Alberta||3||Final|
|UFV * %||1||Victoria||1||Final – 2OT|
|Victoria won the shootout 3-1|
|Wed. 25||Ontario Tech %||Nipissing||5:00 PM EDT|
|Windsor %||Laurier||6:00 PM EDT|
|Brock %||Guelph||6:00 PM EDT|
|Toronto %||Carleton||7:00 PM EDT|
|Thu. 26||Memorial %||Dalhousie||11:00 AM ADT|
|Saint Mary’s %||Acadia||5:00 PM ADT|
|Fri. 27||TBD %||StFX||11:00 AM ADT|
|TBD %||Cape Breton||5:00 PM ADT|
|McGill %||Montreal||6:00 PM EDT|
|Calgary * %||Trinity Western||7:00 PM PDT|
|Sat. 28||TBD %||Queen’s||TBA|
|TBD %||Ottawa||12:00 PM EDT|
|Quarterfinal – Terrain Matt Anthony Field|
|TBD %||McMaster||1:00 PM EDT|
|TBD %||Western||1:00 PM EDT|
|Victoria * %||MacEwan||12:00 PM MDT|
|CW Quarter-final (Clareview Field)|
|UBC Okanagan * %||Saskatchewan||2:00 PM CST|
|Regina * %||UBC||4:30 PM PDT|