The Voyageurs women's soccer season came to a heart-breaking end on Sunday afternoon when they tied the Toronto Varsity Blues 2-2.
The Voyageurs came out firing, recording numerous shots but, unfortunately, were unable to find the opening marker. They controlled the ball more and had added pressure in the Blues' territory but, to their dismay, the ball simply would not enter the net. Adding to their misery, despite continued efforts from the Voyageurs, the Varsity Blues would be the ones who would open the scoring as their skipper, Chelsea Cheung, found the back of the net on an unassisted goal in the 13th minute.
The Voyageurs would not be deterred from this opening goal as they marched on towards getting an equalizer but, just ten minutes later, Chelsea Cheung would score a gorgeous goal from long distance to give the Blues a two goal advantage and some breathing room. This goal quite visibly deflated the Voyageurs for the next little while as they failed to surmount any meaningful attack. From the 30th minute on, the Voyageurs found their mojo and initiated a relentless offensive attack that would continue for the rest of the match.
One of the most spectacular chances came via third year defender Rachel Sheppard, who fired the ball from about the halfway point of the field toward the net but the ball took a high bounce and almost went in if it wasn't for the goalkeeper who had to stretch to make a good save. One of the final goal scoring opportunities for the Voyageurs came through a corner kick in the dying minutes of the first half when a good ball in from Brianne Rodrigue forced the opposing goalkeeper to once again make a good save to prevent the Vees from getting on the scoreboard. The first half would then come to an end with the Varsity Blues up two goals to nothing.
Whatever message Coach Gallo gave during halftime to his players seemed to ignite the fire within each Voyageurs' heart as they came out firing on all cylinders to start the second half. A tactical change paid dividends as Coach Gallo moved Mia de Gasperis to center from right. Thusly, just three minutes later; at the 48:05 minute mark of the match, de Gasperis (who has been enjoying a breakthrough campaign so far) stole the ball from a defender and then simply outran her to enter the penalty box and shot with her left foot to score a beautiful goal, getting Laurentian back into the game.
Just two minutes later, de Gasperis successfully undressed her marker and centered the ball to Cassandra Cristiano who had a wide open net but was unable to score. Roughly 20 minutes out from time, Brianne Rodrigue won a great battle to regain possession and then centered it to de Gasperis who rung it off the post. The disappointment of coming oh so close to an equalizer would not last long as only a few minutes later Laurentian would have their revenge.
It all started with Rodrigue who attempted a shot at goal but was cleared by the goalkeeper. However, it was played back to her and, in the process, Rodrigue, with a determined chase, collided with the Blues' goalkeeper as she grabbed onto the ball. The referee determined a foul on the goalkeeper by reasoning that she stuck out her arm to foul Rodrigue. Since, the foul occurred in the penalty box, Laurentian was awarded a penalty kick. Kylie Swain rose to the occasion and very confidently slid the ball in the bottom left corner to score her first University career goal and the equalizing goal.
With an energized and renewed sense of optimism, the Voyageurs intensified their offensive pressure in order to look for the go ahead goal. In the 76th minute a good cross from Rodrigue had a chance to go in but the Varsity Blues were just able to get it out of the box. In the 80th minute the Varsity Blues had a golden opportunity to pull ahead as one of their players was in alone on goal but a remarkable defensive play from first year forward Logan Medeiros, who came running in to break up the play kept the score knotted at two.
In the end, the Voyageurs were unable to score a third and the match ended tied with a score of 2-2 which also ultimately, ended the Voyageurs playoff hopes.
"We pushed it, we tried our best" said graduating defender Bianca Breiding post-game.
Coach Gallo was quite proud and rightly so of his girls as he said post-game: "We fell behind 2-0 after the 1st half, they believed and dug deep and came back to tie U of T. Mia scored and Kylie scored her first OUA goal I am so proud of these ladies, they gave a great effort. Unfortunately it is all over for 2018."