Stingers 0, Gaiters 0: Mother Nature Takes Centre Stage in Women’s Soccer
Both Teams Compete Against the Elements in Cataclysmic Home-Opener
It started with a whimper, and ended with a roar.
The Concordia women’s soccer team expected rain in the forecast when they took on Bishop’s University on Tuesday, Aug. 30. What the team didn’t expect, was a complete and utter downpour.
“We expected it to be a game with a lot of rhythm and flow, but we had to make sure we didn’t have any mistakes either, and that can be a challenge in this type of weather,” said Stingers head coach Greg Sutton post-game.
Opening action saw nerves getting the better of both squads. The jitters of early season action were apparent. Both sides were trying to force the ball ahead, looking for opportunities to present themselves before they could evolve.
In the sixth minute, Stingers defender Lauren Curran was assessed a yellow card after she hauled down Gaiters forward Michaela Meranchin as Meranchin made her way on goal. This event would spark aggressive play between the two competitors as the game progressed. The free-kick from Bishops’ defender Marijke Meindertsma sailed just over the crossbar, and the play resumed.
“Lauren [Curran] is strong,” said coach Sutton after the match when asked about the Stingers’ defender. “She’s had some injuries that have kept her out of her first two years. And so, we finally got an opportunity to get her back in and play. She played great this summer and we know that she’s going to be a big valuable asset for us defensively.”
By the 15th minute, the weather turned from a trickle to a downpour, as the inclement scene made controlling the ball far more complicated for both sides.
“We expected it to be a game with a lot of rhythm and flow, but we had to make sure we didn’t have any mistakes either, and that can be a challenge in this type of weather” — Greg Sutton, head coach of Concordia soccer
Initially, Concordia looked to be the fortunate of the two teams. After a corner kick, Bishop’s goalkeeper Anne Marie Ulliac made a desperation goalline save, just keeping the ball from crossing the scoring line. At the end of the first half, the score remained 0-0.
Entering the second half of play, the elements settled down. This goes for the Stingers as well, as the team came out with composure absent from the start of the game. Concordia put pressure on the Bishop's defenders and tried driving balls through their opposition as they fought for position. The Gaiters were staunch and held the Stingers off the scoreboard.
Concordia goalkeeper Anna Fox saw more action in the later stages of the match. As the fatigued Stingers’ squad inevitably started to run out of steam, the Gaiters took advantage.
In the 83rd minute, a corner attempt by Bishop's centred a beautiful ball that found the right foot of a Bishops player amongst the crowd. If it were not for Fox’s acrobatic presence, merely being able to get a glove on the ball, the Gaiters would have the lead. Fox’s efforts kept the game scoreless. As the final whistle blew, it cemented the final score of 0-0.
“I found that in the first half, when it was really pouring rain, we definitely were panicking a little,” said Stingers’ forward Osa Iyare post-match. “Because we were so eager, and it’s also our first game so we really wanted to get after it.”
The Concordia Women’s squad looks to regroup, and dry off, as they prepare to take on the Sherbrooke Vert et Or on Sept. 8. Game time is set for 6 p.m.