Stingers Women’s Soccer Season Over After Heartbreaking 2-3 Loss to UdeM

An intense back-and-forth game did not end in good fashion for the Concordia Stingers

An intense back-and-forth game did not end in good fashion for the Concordia Stingers, who will not be going further after losing their final regular season game.An intense back-and-forth game did not end in good fashion for the Concordia Stingers, who will not be going further after losing their final regular season game.

The women’s Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec soccer playoffs will officially take place without the Stingers, as a loss to the Université de Montréal Carabins on Oct. 23 vanquished any further hopes of the team staying in the top four.

The team was under immense pressure coming into this final game of the regular season. With the McGill Martlets knocking on their door as both teams were tied, a win on either side could be the determining factor for a playoff berth. The discrepancy in matchups was also noticeable, as McGill was taking on the winless Sherbrooke Vert et Or while Concordia was facing the juggernaut Montréal Carabins.

“We knew we needed a win,” said Stingers head coach Greg Sutton after the game. “We were keeping our eyes on the other games and that’s why we were asking our girls to get up [to the carabins end of the field]” Indeed, the other games being played that day also acted as coercion for the Stingers to perform better than ever.

UdeM was known for their incredible prowess on both sides of the field, at the time having a season total of 29 goals scored and only three conceded. The only team remotely close to such an impressive stat line were their Laval Rouge et Or rivals, with 27 goals scored and 8 conceded. 

Knowing their underdog status didn’t seem to phase the Stingers too much, as their performance proved they were ready to dig deep and fight hard until the end for a favourable result. 

The game didn’t start too well for the Stingers, conceding two goals as the defence had no answer to the Carabins’ surging attacks. Some adjustments allowed the team to put up decent offensive pushes of their own, finally paying off when defender Rachel Vermaire scored to keep the team’s hopes alive.

Trailing only by one goal going into halftime, the Stingers' offence showed heart coming back from the break, as they applied relentless pressure on the Carabins’ impenetrable defence. A beacon of hope came to the Stingers in the form of a massive goal by midfielder Kyara D’Anessa in the 70th minute, tying the game and signalling that all was not lost.

“We tried to keep pushing, we did everything we could to win,” said Sutton after the game. Despite the result, he was very proud of his players’ efforts and ability to stay in contention. 

“I can’t fault their effort in the second half. To be able to come back and almost get the chance to win the game is a testament to these girls,” he said. “We knew we played a hell of a game against one of the best teams in the country.”

Concordia fought hard, but the Carabins were top-dog for a reason, and they were just as determined to leave without another blemish on their impressive record. 

The urgency with which the Stingers played at game’s end left their defence more exposed. The team could only hope for disaster not to strike. Coach Sutton acknowledged the double-edged sword nature of this playing style after the game but knew what had to be done for the team to score a ticket to the playoffs. Unfortunately for them, a Carabins counterattack in stoppage time resulted in a goal, ultimately sealing the Stingers’ fate with less than two minutes left on the clock.

An emotional scene unfolded when the final whistle sounded. The Stingers team broke down on the sideline realising this was the end of their campaign. Sutton did his best to comfort his disappointed players, but the disillusion was brutal for everyone involved. 

Although he was upset by the outcome, the coach remains adamant about the bright future of this team. “Keep an eye on us, we’re going to keep getting better and better,” he said. “This is just another step in our story.”

The RSEQ women’s soccer playoffs kick off on Oct. 28th with Université du Québec à Montréal facing UdeM and McGill going to Laval to determine which teams will face off for the championship in the Nov. 4th final.