Wesmen and Bison best Cougars in first games of the Canada West season
Author: Stephen Hodgson — Contributor
Final Score: Regina Cougars (1) vs. Winnipeg Wesmen (2)
Castro – 38′ Johnson – 10′, Bulloch – 29′
On a superbly sunny Saturday in September, the University of Regina Soccer team took to the field, in the hopes of opening their season with a victory over their rivals from the east. Preseason games had seen a mixed bag in terms of performance, but the Cougars were hoping to start their season with a victory, regardless. Winnipeg would provide a good test of the squad’s game acumen, the nature of which would still require some perfecting.
The first half didn’t go entirely to plan for the Cougars. Following a good spell of play in the opening minutes, the team was dealt a major blow when they went behind in the tenth minute. A quick ball whipped across the field to the left side of the penalty area was taken advantage of by Winnipeg’s Tyler Johnson who, after winning a hard fought 50-50 battle on the ground, calmly slotted the ball past the onrushing Kasey McFee. Trailing after ten minutes, the Cougars stepped up their play a notch, and were almost rewarded for their efforts eleven minutes later when, after some good play between Olivia Bolen and Karlee Vorrieter down the right hand side, Vorrieter forced the goalkeeper into a save which was palmed onto the crossbar.
After ten minutes of back and forth play, part of which saw McFee deny Winnipeg’s Brianna Krieger from close range, the Cougars found themselves behind by two in the twenty-ninth minute when Winnipeg’s Danielle Bulloch was able to find time and slot the ball into the bottom left corner of the net, from the centre of the area. The Cougars stepped up the tempo following the goal with Brianna Wright, having beaten the offside trap, sent the ball just wide to the left of the goal.
In the thirty-eighth minute, the Cougars’ play was finally rewarded. Unable to deal with an ongoing attack, Winnipeg brought down Daniela Castro in the penalty area for a clear-cut penalty. Castro calmly climbed to her feet and did her duty to the team, rifling the resultant penalty kick into the top-right corner of the goal, past a goalkeeper that didn’t stand a chance. Halftime came around and the team was left to ponder a host of untaken chances.
The second half saw the Cougars hot out of the blocks, and they were almost rewarded for their efforts in the fifty-third minute when co-captain Celia Michaud forced a great save from the Winnipeg stopper. Castro followed up well, but her effort was denied by a defensive block. Shortly afterwards some great work by Sienne Krynowsky, introduced into the game at halftime, headed the ball onto fellow substitute Brianna Wright who, despite clearly having her shirt dragged by an opposition player, was still able to get a shot off. Unfortunately, it was wide of the mark.
McFee was on hand again in the fifty-ninth minute, stopping a good shot from Winnipeg’s Rachel Dunsmore to keep the Cougars in the game. Her efforts were almost rewarded two minutes later when Shayla Kapila hit the crossbar from distance. After a close shave, with McFee again denying Dunsmore, Regina’s Nikita Senko was able to find space down the right and drag the ball across the face of goal. A fairly innocuous looking cross was missed by the Wesmen’s goalkeeper, and an agonizing chance went begging as the ball rolled across the face of goal with Krynowsky having already decided that it wasn’t going to make it.
The remainder of the game was relatively muted, with both sides obviously straining under the hot September sun. The first game into the new season saw the University of Regina Cougars play a good game of soccer, which was tainted by the frustration of being unable to find the right touch in the final third. Ultimately, the team did well to shake off the scares of having so much new talent this year and, once they’ve gotten their finishing honed, they should have a relatively successful season.
MVP: Daniella Castro. Competitor throughout, forcing the error for and converting the penalty kick.
Hon. Mention: Celia Michaud. Led the game from the front, fighting for possession going forward and in defense. Winnipeg’s Rachel Dunsmore. Dominated midfield for long spells.
|#||Name||Substitutions: Player # (Minute’)|
|7||Brianna Wright||#19 Olivia Bolen (67′)|
|8||Daniela Castro||#9 Nikita Senko (67′)|
|10||Karlee Vorrieter||#22 Alex Ensign (HT)|
|12||Tove Werner||#28 Olivia Hunt (67′)|
|19||Olivia Bolen||# Sienne Krynowsky (HT)|
Final Score: Regina Cougars (1) vs. Manitoba Bison (2)
Michaud – 68′ Robinson – 13′, Mavignier – 15′
Following their defeat to the Wesmen the day before, the Cougars were keen to make an impression on the Manitoba Bisons in their second game of the weekend. The Bisons were fresh from a 3-2 defeat at the hands of our neighbours to the north, and were equally keen to get some much needed points on the board before returning back east.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, the first half would see them go behind by two goals in two minutes. After some rough and tumble defending in the first ten minutes, with a fine save from McFee to deny the Bison’s Alanna Shaw from a free kick on the edge of the area, the Cougars were finally making some headway. Karlee Vorrieter managed to make some space on the right wing to lift the ball across to the far post, just shy of the onrushing Celia Michaud who was unable to get her head on it.
After Kayla McDonald was adjudged to have brought down the Bisons’ Chelsea Dubiel on the edge of the area, McFee was on hand to save comfortably from the resultant free kick. Despite McFee’s efforts, the Bisons would go ahead moments later, courtesy of Alyssa Robinson. After initially denying the efforts of Bruna Mavignier, Robinson was on hand to finish the rebound in the 13th minute of play.
The Cougars’ eagerness to get forward and find the equalizer proved to be too much, and once more they conceded two minutes later. Daniela Castro forced the Manitoba stopper into a tough save shortly after the restart of play following the first goal, with Alex Ensign being unable to take advantage of the rebound. Quick to find their bearings, the Bisons took possession of the ball and countered straight away. A long ball downfield from Inga Christianson found Mavignier, who was able to find space to finish the shot off. The Cougars had been hit hard, and now had a hill to climb to get back into the game.
The Bisons were lucky not to have conceded shortly after the restart of play following the second goal. Olivia Bolen wrestled possession away from the opposition before beginning a jinking run down the left wing. Sadly, Wright was unable to make the most of the cross that followed, her header going clear high and wide of the goal. The Bisons almost punished the Cougars once more when Selina Speranza found herself unmarked in the centre of the area, but her header was comfortably wide of the mark.
Taking the game in her stride, Tove Werner was able to work some magic into the game and her dipping shot struck the crossbar. Once more, the Bisons came forward in numbers and were able to get the ball into the net. Fortunately for the Cougars, Mavignier was ruled to have been offside and the goal didn’t stand.
The last major attack of the half came following some great work by Werner and Castro down the flank, who were able to set up Bolen for a shot. The resultant strike saw the Bisons stopper Martie Arran struggle to make the save, and the Cougars finished the half trailing.
The second half saw the Cougars almost completely dominate the play, with chances for Bolen, Cassie Longmuir, and Werner all within the first twenty minutes of the game. The pressure of the attack would eventually prove to be successful, but it would be the Bisons that gifted the Cougars their lead. A casual pass across the back four would prove to be their undoing, as co-captain Michaud dispossessed the opposition back line and slotted the ball comfortably into the bottom-left corner of the goal.
The rest of the game was a tale of chance after chance, as the Cougars were unable to find the net. Kayla McDonald skied a free kick from distance, and Shayla Kapila shot wide of the mark in the 81st minute. Vorrieter had a chance to level the game in the 86th minute, when she was presented with a glorious opportunity. A cross-field ball from the left wing found her unmarked on the edge of the goalkeeper’s area. Vorrieter, perhaps not realizing that she had time and space to control the ball, took the shot quickly and put the ball high over the top-left corner of the goal. Nail-biting stuff.
The last five minutes of the game petered out as both sides ran out of steam and the Bisons began running the ball into the corner to waste time. This game was a tough one to watch, as the Cougars certainly deserved more out of the result. They must now wait until Saturday to test their skills once more against the University of Calgary. Judging by their performances this weekend, it could prove to be a memorable game!
Joint between Olivia Bolen and Shayla Kapila. Great perseverance and effort from both.
Karlee Vorrieter. Linked up well with Bolen to create a good host of chances.
Tove Werner. Ran herself ragged to keep possession and slow the opposition.
|#3 (90′)||#7 (38′)|
|#||Name||Substitutions Player # (Minute’)|
|1||Kacey McFee||#30 Savannah Williams (22′)|
|5||Angela Lalonde||#16 Kassidy Boyle (HT)|
|8||Daniella Castro||#17 Jet Davies (75′)|
|19||Olivia Bolen||#09 Nikita Senko (70′)|
|22||Alex Ensign||#24 Brigit Sinaga (HT)|