The Laurentian Voyageurs were in tough against the fifth ranked team in the country, the Ottawa Gee-Gees, on Saturday afternoon as they dropped a highly contested affair by a score of 2-0.
Both teams started the game on even footing with Laurentian getting an early chance just two minutes in when a gorgeous free kick from Rachel Sheppard found a fellow Voyageur in the box but unfortunately, the Vees were unable to convert. Following this early chance, the Gee-Gees responded quickly by applying pressure and creating a number of chances of their own.
Laurentian's all-star goalie Caitlin McNamara had plans of her own, however, as she denied the Gee-Gees juggernaut to register a goal on the scoreboard. In addition to spectacular defence, the first nineteen minutes of the game were also highlighted by two marvelous defensive plays from Catherin Rocca and Victoria Galluzzo that surely prevented two possible goals.
Unfortunately, at the 19:41 mark of the game, a through ball from Ottawa's Delaney Rickert-Hall snuck its way past Laurentian's defence and to the cleats of Emma Lefebvre who rifled it into the net, giving the Gee-Gees a one goal lead. The opening goal proved to be a turning point for the Gee-Gees as it allowed them to gain momentum and really intensify their pressure on the Voyageurs.
Their persistence would pay off at the 31:40 minute mark of the game when Katherine Bearne rocketed a shot towards the net but was stopped by Caitlin McNamara. However, she was unable to hold on to the ball as the rebound found its way back to Bearne who very impressively chipped it over the Voyageur goalkeeper and into the net, giving the Gee-Gees a two goal lead. The Gee-Gees continued their onslaught for the rest of the half but failed to increase their lead as the 2-0 scoreline would hold going into halftime.
The second half saw the Gee-Gees build on their play from the first, recording numerous shots on net but to no avail. The Gee-Gees' dominating play allowed both coaches to give their non-starters an opportunity to get some valuable experience. When the final whistle was blown, the Ottawa Gee-Gees had much to celebrate while the Laurentian Voyageurs had much to reflect on as they build towards their next match.
Third year defender, Rachel Sheppard, reflected on her side's performance by saying, "I think overall we were lacking calmness on the ball; we kept trying to force plays too quickly or not taking a second touch when we needed to. I think if we were to have settled the ball on the ground, we could have had a more offensive game rather than sitting back and letting them possess the ball for the majority of the game."
Nevertheless, one positive that the Vees can derive from Saturday's affair is the 2-0 scoreline as a young squad restricted the best team in Ontario to just two goals, considering the fact that they lost 5-0 in their previous meeting. They should also take solace in the assessment of Ottawa Gee-Gees head coach, Steven Johnson's acknowledgement of Laurentian's good early play by saying "I thought Laurentian came out really strong in the beginning. Up until the water break, they were playing at a higher rate than we were. From then on, for the last three-quarters of the game, I was very happy with how we played defensively."
The Voyageurs now eagerly wait to take on the Carleton Ravens and right the ship on Sunday afternoon at 1 pm. The match will be broadcasted live on OUA TV.