History was made for Concordia’s women’s soccer team on Thursday night. The team visited Percival-Molson Stadium for the second leg of back-to-back matches against the McGill Martlets. Jennifer Duff’s goal in the second half brought the Stingers to victory.
The Stingers came into this match shorthanded after missing players due to injury as well as other reasons. Head coach Jorge Sanchez had to make a few adjustments to his team’s starting line. Duff and Gabriela Padvaiskas paired up once again as striker. Shauna Zilversmit, Elizabeth Allard, Kayla Myre and Melissa Kedro were in the midfield. Valerie Ishak was a new face to the back line. The usual centre midfielder played as a defender with Alexandra Dragan, Philippa Lyttle and Shannon Travers. Saby Dagenais got the start in goal.
Concordia had a poor opening 45 minutes. McGill threatened with chance after chance, but was ultimately unable to get a clear shot on goal. The Martlets controlled the play from the opening kickoff and attacked through flanks.
McGill’s attacking trio of Julia Conzon, Hannah Rivkin and Meghan Bourque were responsible for all of the Martlets’ eight threatening scoring chances. Most plays came from crosses, however, the ensuing shots or headers were never on target.
The Stingers new back line was busy all half, defending waves of McGill attacks. Fortunately, the team was able to keep the score leveled at the interval.
In the 50th minute, the home side was close to finally getting the first goal of the match. Rivkin controlled a pass, cut towards the goal and curled a left-footed shot inches from the top corner.
On the hour mark, Concordia would make the most of their only significant opportunity. Duff received a flick-on pass by Myre in the midfield. The redirected ball split McGill’s two centre backs leaving Duff alone with the goalkeeper. Concordia’s leading scorer made no mistake slotting in her seventh goal of the season.
In the 77th minute, a bad Concordia foul gave McGill a free kick from a dangerous location near the Stingers goal. The kick was struck from the left and was heading straight for the near side’s top corner. Dagenais made a spectacular diving save denying the Martlets once again. McGill ended up putting the rebound in, but the goal was cancelled due to an offside. Dagenais would end up getting ‘player of the game’ honours.
McGill kept threatening and ultimately could not finish any of their chances. Concordia’s 1-0 win over the Martlets is the first time the team has been able to beat their rivals since 2002. The Stingers beat McGill in a penalty shootout in the semi-finals that year.
“We have a game plan and we’re going to play to our strengths,” said Sanchez. “We’re going to give up a lot of possession and chances. Our goal is not to give up chances from in close, to not make key mistakes in our third of the field and to take advantage of the few chances we get. And we did.”
With the win, Concordia is undefeated in their last four matches. The team currently sits in fifth place and one point out of the playoffs.
The Stingers will look to carry this confidence into their next match on Sunday against league-leaders Montreal Carabins at Concordia Stadium. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. following the men’s game.