The Dinos women’s soccer team went into their final set of home games Oct. 21-22 having won three and tied two on their home turf while avoiding any losses. However, like any resilient plague, it became evident that a loss was impossible to evade forever.
On Saturday, our ladies battled the University College of Fraser Valley Cascades–a team they had beaten 2-0 at UCFV earlier in the season. Despite the earlier win and the fact that this is UCFV’s inaugural season competing at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport level, Dinos head coach Robin Slot still expected a challenge.
“Especially being from B.C., they have such a large pool of players to draw from,” he said. “You expect them at least to be decent.”
As they set out to prove their decency, the enemy got on the ball early, showing they meant business. Most transactions took place with the Dinos on the defensive, somehow keeping the score drawn at nil going into the half.
The Cascades continued to control the ball during the second half, until a UCFV player’s shot cascaded over Dinos’ goalkeeper Alana Knowles and into the net. Dinos Shirley Blundell and Stephanie Hoogveld almost saved the day, applying great pressure and creating some opportunities in front of the net shortly after the UCFV goal. But no magical goals materialized from their efforts and the Cascades’ strong defence kept the Dinos at bay for the remainder of the game.
“If you don’t take the chances you get, it’s a difficult game,” commented Slot on the loss. “That’s what happened [on Saturday].”
On a positive note, the Dinos did manage to out-shoot the Cascades by a 23-10 margin. However, as Dino Annie Hayes noted and the 1-0 final score proves, it’s not always the quantity that matters.
“We couldn’t connect like usual,” she explained. “We had possessions, but not quality possessions.”
The Dinos did manage to improve on this for Sunday’s game against the Trinity Western University Spartans, playing an evenly matched game and going for quality over quantity. Our ladies’ first good chance at a goal came just less than 20 minutes into the first half as rookie Morena Ianniello charged past the Spartans’ defence and went mano a mano with the goalie, forcing a diving save.
The Spartans had their share of chances as well, with Dino defender Erin Harris stepping in to steer a ball away from the net about 40 minutes into the half as the goaltender got to her feet from a previous save.
The game remained scoreless at halftime, but neither team bothered testing the waters before diving straight back into things as the second half began. In the 66th minute a TWU player blew down the sideline and worked her way towards the goal, hitting the far corner of the net like she was playing pin the tail on the donkey without the blindfold.
The Dinos didn’t give up though, as Ianniello and Katie Blundell managed to beat the Spartans’ defence together and force another miraculous save from the goaltender. That was the story of the Dinos this game–many great opportunities, but no goals.
“We had a number of breakaways, but didn’t score on any,” Slot recalled. “That’s what it came down to.”
The game played out with equal opportunity for both teams, but the final goal went to the Spartans during extra time, making the final tally 2-0. Despite the loss, the Dinos still look good as playoffs approach. They play a final pair of games on the road Oct. 28-29 before Canada West playoffs take place Nov. 3-5.
“The effort is there, we just need to focus on the finishing,” he explained. “We’re playing good teams, so we’re not going to score three or four goals. But we’ve got good defence, so one or two is all we need.”