The Concordia Stingers women’s soccer team’s tremendous play in the second half couldn’t erase a two-goal deficit in their 2-1 season-opening loss to the McGill Martlets Sunday at Concordia Field.
The Stingers dominated the second half of play, getting most if not all of the chances. Concordia got their only goal when they were awarded a free kick just outside the goaltender’s area in the game’s 70th minute after Melanie Poirier was outrunning the McGill defense but was hauled down from behind by McGill’s Shari Fraser. Fourth-year Stinger midfielder Amy Lagendyk took the free kick and promptly booted it past McGill keeper Victoria Villalba. Concordia continued their pressure for the remainder of the game, but couldn’t put in the equalizer.
The second half belonged to Poirier, Concordia’s leading scorer for each of the past two seasons. The third-year midfielder had two chances when she ran around the goaltender who came out to challenge her. Poirier’s shot was saved by a McGill defender and the rebound got right back to her but Villalba got back to her net in time to make the save.
The Stingers fell behind 20 minutes into the game off of a corner kick that bounced around until Fraser found the loose ball and kicked it in. Five minutes later, after Stingers rookie Stephanie Cote had a chance to score, McGill came right back in transition on a crossing play that was converted by Vanessa Salalsky.
The Stingers took a while to get going, something that head coach Jorge Sanchez attributes to the level that McGill, the 2004 CIS silver medal winners, plays at.
“I think every time that Concordia plays McGill there is still that inferiority complex. You’re on your heels afraid to make a mistake,” Sanchez said. “I feel you have to play with no fear and I feel that in the second half we played like we had nothing to lose and that is why we improved our play.”
Concordia did have some chances in the first half, but Villalba shut the door and the McGill defense tightened up.
The Stingers had a free kick with twenty minutes remaining in the first half which was taken by Lagendyk, but it sailed just over the net from about 25 yards out. Concordia followed that up with a corner kick, but Skye Moseley’s shot was saved by the McGill goaltender. Concordia was outshot five to two in the first half.
Concordia goalkeeper Diane Ouimet, a 2004 QSSF All-Star, was solid in nets, making key saves, and she kept her team in the game and the deficit at two.
The Stingers go on the road to Sherbrooke and Trois Rivieres before coming back to play the University of Montreal at 2pm on Sept. 25 as part of a soccer doubleheader.