Bishop’s 2, Concordia 1: Stingers Struggle Without Their Top Players
Stars Sarah Humes And Chama Sedki Left Out of Starting Lineup in a Game Stingers Should Have Won
Having started slow out of the gate this season, Coach Sutton’s squad looked to get their first win against a struggling Bishop’s team.
Perhaps the Stingers head coach took his opponent a little lightly, fielding an inexperienced starting eleven who struggled to find cohesion and chemistry throughout the game.
The first half was a sloppy affair, as neither team could string together a series of passes without giving away possession. No threatening scoring chances were created until the 15 minute mark, when Bishop’s midfielder Kayla Kyle used her imposing height to get on the end of a corner kick and head it past the Stingers keeper to put her team up 1-0.
Much of the Stingers’ offensive emphasis in the first half depended on playing through rookie forward Sara Carriere. Her impressive speed and technical ability rarely led to good chances though, as she often found herself surrounded by two or three opponents and little to no support from her teammates.
“Sometimes we don’t go forward as a unit and some of us are left stranded with the ball,” Carriere said. “We need to work on our confidence and focus on attacking as a unit if we want to create more chances.”
The first half ended with Bishop’s up by one, with the Stingers desperate to make a change if they wanted a chance to get any kind of result by the end of the night. Coach Sutton decided to bring on midfielder Chama Sedki for rookie striker Haley Wheatley, who failed to make any kind of impact on the game up to that point.
The game changed drastically as soon as the Stingers’ number 10 entered play. Her composure and leadership in the middle of the park helped Concordia keep possession and threaten the opposing defence much more than in the opening half.
“When she’s on her game, she’s as good as anyone in our league,” Sutton said about Sedki. “We’re trying to figure out how to surround her with the right skill and consistency to make us a better team going forward.”
Despite the Stingers’ control of the game, Bishop’s were able to double their lead after midfielder Penelope Cabana surprised Stingers’ goalkeeper Carmen Milne with a shot from outside the box. Heads hung with disappointment in the Stingers camp as captain Sedki tried to encourage her team to keep going.
Just two minutes later, Sedki brought the crowd to their feet when her long-range effort found the top corner to put the Stingers on the board. The squad believed in their chances again as they swarmed their leader to celebrate.
The Stingers kept up the pressure on the Bishop’s backline, who thwarted attack after attack. Much of the scoring opportunities came on the right flank, where forward Audrey-Ann Cardinal and midfielder Dayne Lebans advanced into positions to provide crosses for teammates waiting in the box.
With 8 minutes to go, Cardinal dribbled past four Bishop’s defenders before putting the ball over the crossbar from six yards out.
That chance ended up being the Stingers’ best shot at tying the game. Ultimately, Concordia’s second half push was not enough to bring them level with their opponents, losing the game 2-1.
After the game, coach Sutton was visibly disappointed with his team’s performance and told them they must be better in their effort if they hope to turn their season around.
“You’re going to have some players that have off games here and there, but when all 11 players don’t play well, you can’t win,” Sutton said. “You can blame it on youth and say we have a lot of first-year players, but we have to understand that this is a 90-minute game and the quality has to be consistent.”
After losing their first game 10-0 and tying the second 1-1, it can be argued that the Stingers’ most disappointing game so far was this one against Bishop’s. A win was there for the taking, but Concordia came out flat and did not play with any urgency until the end of the game.
“Today was actually a downgrade from where we were after our first game,” coach Sutton said. “It’s a work in progress and we knew that, but we haven’t been taking our chances and we’ve been making mistakes where we shouldn’t be.”
The Stingers will look to bounce back with their first win on Sept. 13 in Sherbrooke.