Concordia’s women’s soccer team prevails after a spirited contest with UQTR
The Concordia’s women’s soccer team headed into last week’s emotional ninth annual Erica Cadieux memorial contest against the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR) with the singular focus of picking up a win. The game honoured the memory of the former Stingers player who was fatally struck by a vehicle in January of 2006. The team rallied together and delivered a 2-1 win against UQTR.
“The goal is to win, it’s just that simple. I think if we give a good effort, we’re going to win,” said Stingers head coach Jorge Sanchez before the game.
The pregame ceremony featured Cadieux’s family, widower Carlo Spadafora and daughters Bianca, 10, and Olive, 9, receiving gifts and donations from both teams on behalf of the Montreal Children’s Hospital.
The Stingers jumped out of the gate, frantically pressuring the ball and dictating the pace of the game. After a deep run into UQTR’s zone that resulted in a corner kick, Stingers rookie centre back Laurence Thivierge scored her first goal of the season off a great individual effort after the botched set piece play.
On the defensive side, fellow defender and Stingers captain Alex Dragan provided a calming presence on the back end, stymieing the Patriotes’ attack all throughout the first half.
The Stingers continued to roll in the second half overcoming an early Patriotes surge, which produced many key chances for the rival side. However, Concordia’s defence finally broke with five minutes left in the game. The Patriotes pressed, looking desperately for an equalizer. Then, a UQTR free kick lobbed in the box resulted in a mad scramble in front of Concordia starting goalkeeper Alexandra Lato. After she made the initial save, incidental contact with a slew of nearby UQTR attackers forced the ball loose. That’s when Patriots striker Marie-Laurence Ouellet buried home the equalizer on a feed from midfielder Gabrielle Lambert.
Tense moments arose immediately following the play as Lato went down to what appeared to be an apparent head injury. The emergency services were called as the crowd collectively held their breath hoping for the best. After the lengthy delay that saw Concordia lose their starting keeper, the Stingers regrouped to play out the final two minutes.
“When she went down, we just regrouped, we told ourselves it happens, it’s unfortunate, but we have to come back and respond,“ said Stingers midfielder Shauna Zilversmit.
And respond they did.
In a 90th minute surge, Zilversmit stormed up the field and delivered an immaculate strike past the outstretched arms of the Patriotes’ goalkeeper. Giving her team the win and moving Concordia into fourth place in the standings with a 3-3-1 record.
“You just have to stay calm and play as composed as possible,” said Dragan.
The Stingers’ composure in the face of adversity proved to be the difference in the match, which featured an emotional roller coaster of events.