Surprises and Adventure At Day 1 In Kingston
Day number 1 of the U Sports 2023 Women’s Soccer Championships did not disappoint with excitement and surprises at Queen’s University’s Richardson Stadium in Kingston, Ontario.
The seeding may have had something to do with this year’s parings for the games and the results in the final conference games has turned the seeding on its head to create exciting first round match ups that would normally be later on in the competition, and eliminating all three Ontario based teams from the championship round. So we’ll have to see what it does for the semi-finals and the gold medal game, one thing that we can say about this year, it will be exciting to see how everything shakes out..
All stories are courtesy of U Sports and Queens University.
QF1 – Defending champs open title defence with a win
The defending champion Montréal Carabins defeated the STFX X-Women, 2-0, on Thursday in a chilly opening game at the 2023 U SPORTS Women’s Soccer Championship in Kingston. The Carabins came away with the shutout after a hard-fought battle on both ends.
The sixth-seeded Carabins started the scoring early with a goal from Mia Tessier after only 32 seconds. From there, both teams settled into the game and swapped shots on goal and STFX even found the back of the net, but their apparently goal was disallowed for being offside.
The end of the first half looked troubling for the X-Women; however, their keeper Christina Gentile showed remarkable poise to keep the Carabins’ multiple shots and corner attempts at bay, keeping the score 1-0 for the Carabins.
In the second, Montreal had five corner attempts, but the STFX defense shut them down each time.
Finally, in the 72nd minute, Montreal tallied another. Erika Bastien, one of Montreal’s leading scorers this season, found the back of the net after a pass from Lorie Thibault.
Although the third-seeded X-Women kept up their pressure to the final whistle, they couldn’t convert for a goal and Montreal finished on top 2-0.
With this win, Montreal advances to the semifinal round, and the next step in their title defence will see them play either Ottawa or UBC on Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern. The X-Women will have a consolation game on Friday at 11 a.m.
QF2 – UBC edges Ottawa to advance to semifinals
The seventh-seeded UBC Thunderbirds edged the Ottawa Gee Gees 1-0 in the second game of the Women’s Soccer U SPORTS championship on Thursday in Kingston, Ont. UBC advanced to the semifinal round with the win.
You can only play the team in front of you, but given that the teams that were ranked Number 1 and 2 all season in the U Sports national rankings, coupled by UBC’s loss in the Canada West final a week ago, we got this match up and now someone goes home.
Both teams showed good control and rhythm in the opening plays. UBC’s Jayda Thompson made good advances in the first half and took a breakaway shot which Juliann Lacasse saved in the 26th minute. As for Ottawa, Jenna Matsukubo and her speed caused problems for the Thunderbirds as she got three shots off in the first half.
Then, in the 30th minute, UBC took a strike and this time it went through. With an assist from Taiya Dennehy, Katalin Tolnai found the back of the net for the first goal of the game.
In the second half, Tolnai, the U SPORTS women’s soccer player of the year, continued her assault on Ottawa with a spin move in the box to clear her defender, but her shot landed just wide and hit the post. A few minutes later she took another which the post stopped again. Despite these misses, however, UBC held onto their lead with no more goals scored by either team in the second half.
UBC’s Dakota Beckett kept a clean sheet with the win totaling seven saves in the 1-0 UBC victory.
QF3 – Top-seeded Laval remains on top after win over Western
The top-seeded Laval Rouge et Or beat the Western Mustangs 2-0 in the third quarterfinal at the 2023 U SPORTS Women’s Soccer Championship on Thursday in Kingston, Ont.
The match was aggressive with both teams getting multiple shots off, but Anne-Marie Laroche’s dominance in the net kept Laval’s sheet clean in the win.
In the fourth minute, Laval opened the scoring with a shot from Mathilde Rousseau. For the rest of the half Western responded with a barrage of their own and got a few good shots off. Laroche, however, dominated her box with huge stops each time.
Both teams played an aggressive first half, and even though Western did a good job of keeping the ball out of their end, Laval’s few through balls were brilliant. In the final minutes of the half, Lea-Jeanne Fortier of the Rouge et Or dropped a perfect cross to First-Team All-Canadian Daphnée Blouin who put in Laval’s second goal of the game.
In the second half both teams kept up the pressure but even their continued aggression didn’t spot either team another goal. The play ended 2-0 for Laval after a hard-fought battle on both ends.
Laval will play next in their semi-final game at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. Western’s consolation semi-final will be at 1:30 p.m. on Friday as well.
QF4 – Spartans prevail in extra-time thriller over hosts from Queen’s
The final quarterfinal match at the 2023 U SPORTS Women’s Soccer Championship needed extra time to be settled, with the Trinity Western Spartans coming out on top over the host Queen’s Gaels 2-1 (AET) Thursday night in front of a large crowd at Richardson Stadium.
Olivia Kranjcec scored the winner for the Spartans on a penalty kick after a 110th-minute handball in the Queen’s 18-yard box.
After a scoreless first half that saw both teams with strong chances on the offensive end, the Gaels opened the scoring early in the second half. A beautiful cross by Vita Naihin was met with a header by Kendra Couto that found the back of the net and gave the Gaels the one-goal lead.
Trinity Western responded to the Gaels’ goal with steady pressure on offence and several close chances before a highlight-reel free kick from the far-left side of the pitch by Sophie Crowther found the back of the net to even the score in the 80th minute.
With the victory, the Spartans advanced to the Championship semifinals where they will take on the Laval Rouge et Or on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Gaels, following the loss, will move on to the Consolation Semifinals and take on OUA rivals, the Western Mustangs, Friday at 1:30 p.m.