The home season closed on a positive note for the Dinos women’s soccer team last weekend.
The Dinos, who won the national title a year ago, are still battling for a playoff spot, and a win and tie against two highly regarded division rivals helped that battle significantly.
On Saturday, the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds dropped by the Calgary Soccer Centre, only to be held scoreless by Dinos goalkeeper Taryn Swiatek. Only one goal was needed for the Dinos to register a victory, and that was supplied by Jessie Norrie 29 minutes into the second half.
"In the first half, we didn’t play all that well," admitted coach Robin Slot. "In the second half we played better."
Sunday’s game saw the University of Calgary host the University of Victoria Vikes in a game the home team almost ran away with.
"We could have maybe pulled it out," said Slot.
Instead, the Dinos settled for a 1-1 tie, with U of C forward Leanne Pelosi notching a second half marker to preserve the draw.
"In the first half, it was back and forth," Slot described. "[UVic] had a little more control. In the second half, we dominated a good portion of the game. We just had a few misses."
Slot credited the Dinos’ play in their own end for the rather successful weekend.
"Defensively, we were keeping most of the shots from outside the goal area," he explained. "If we can do that, Taryn will have an easier time."
Currently holding a 3-3-1 record, the Dinos have three games remaining on their schedule, all on the road. Slot’s desires for the Dinos’ sojourn through the universities of Alberta and Saskatchewan next weekend are simple.
The Dinos are currently tied with the Vikes for the third and final Canada West playoff spot, but UVic outscored the Dinos in the season series, meaning that the Dinos will have to move ahead to clinch a post-season berth. The Dinos’ upcoming schedule looks a little lighter than that which the Vikes face, but in this conference, anything on paper is deceiving. The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns, who appear to be an easy win for the Dinos, beat UVic last weekend, and will have homefield advantage against the U of C.
"This league is so competitive," said Slot. "There isn’t really a team that’s standing out. It boils down to who wants to win the most."
While team cohesiveness and offense have been problems for the Dinos this year, Slot feels things can still come together, based on what happened when they faced adversity as an underdog at last year’s national tournament.
"They’ve been under the gun before and they pulled through. They have to do it again this year."