McGill 3, Concordia 0: Stingers Women’s Soccer Still Looking for Offensive Spark

Stingers Struggle to Find Ways to Score After Disappointing Loss to Rivals McGill

Concordia striker Sarah Humes redirects header in middle of field as teammate Chama Sedki watches on. Photo Caroline Marsh

On Sunday Sept. 15, just two days after their first win of the season, Coach Greg Sutton’s team could not come out as strong against an evenly matched opponent.

As most of the team returned to the locker room after the final whistle, Sutton and his assistant Wilfried Monthew spoke to the team’s captains privately. After coming up short again, the head coach turned to his leaders to carry the squad out of the hole they’ve found themselves in early this season.

“There’s some frustration among the girls and among the staff, for sure,” Sutton said. “In the end though, it’s about accountability and holding everyone to a higher standard if we want to get better.”

With a young team still finding its footing in a competitive league, preaching accountability has been important for Sutton.

Most of the offensive responsibility is carried by prolific striker Sarah Humes, who was able to notch her first goal of the season on Friday night in Sherbrooke. Her height and skill is ideal for a forward who is able to hold up the ball like she does. Flanked by speedy wingers Sara Carriere and Haley Wheatley, expectations were that the forwards would create good chances like they did in their win two days earlier.

“We couldn’t produce much in the first half because the ball was in our end almost the whole time,” Humes said. “In the second half, Coach and I thought it’d be a better idea if I dropped deeper to get on the ball a bit more to help us move forward.”

This tactical change helped the Stingers put together more threatening attacks, with Humes threading the ball behind McGill’s backline, looking to feed Carriere in stride.

Concordia was building good momentum until a penalty was awarded to McGill in the 50th minute. It was converted by McGill captain Nathalie Brunelle to put her team up 1-0.

All momentum the Stingers had developed at the start of the half was gone, as a visibly demoralized squad headed back to midfield to kickoff. Too many times in this young season, the team let a goal against affect their motivation and confidence to bounce back.

“When you get in that situation and you’re down, you have to have the mental resilience to bounce back,” Sutton said. “That’s when we look towards our leaders to step up and push the team to be better.”

No one understands this better than team captain Chama Sedki. Her presence in the midfield makes the team tick, but this season’s challenge for her is to inspire her young teammates to focus and perform for 90 minutes every game.

“My job is to motivate them to work harder and play better if I think we’re not giving our all out there,” Sedki said. “We still have a lot of games to play and a lot of points to get, so we just need to put this behind us and be optimistic about what’s to come.”

McGill went 2-0 up with 20 minutes to go, ending the Stingers’ chance of getting a tie. A third in the 90th minute just added insult to injury for Sedki’s team.

After being shut out for the second time in five games, the Stingers are now tied for the worst offensive output in the league, with five goals scored. Humes, last season’s top scorer, is still looking for answers to her team’s struggles.

“We’re still looking to mesh as a team, especially considering how many new faces we have,” Humes said. “We’re going to need a lot more practice to build the chemistry we need if we want to be a good attacking team.”

With nine games remaining on the schedule, the Stingers hope to resolve their issues sooner rather than later, as they need to start winning games if they wish to reach the playoffs.
On Friday, they visit the league leading UQAM Citadins at Stade Saputo, before suiting up less than 48 hours later on Sunday to take on Montreal.