The 2019 OUA soccer season kicked off on Saturday where the Laurentian Voyageurs visited their long-time rivals, the Nipissing Lakers. However, the Voyageurs came up short as the Lakers edged them by a score of 1-0.
Both teams were evenly matched during the first half with the Lakers holding a slight advantage in the shots on goal, corner kicks and saves departments (4-1, 3-1 and 4-1, respectively). Even with this slight advantage, the Voyageurs defence stood its ground and denied the Lakers the opening marker of the game. The Voyageurs got a golden opportunity toward the end of the first half when second year forward, Amanda Cuthbert, rifled a shot past the goalkeeper, only to be denied by the post. She recounted the event by saying: "It looked like it went in but unfortunately it trickled out just past the other post." the ball hit the post and took an awkward bounce as it trickled past the other post and stayed out. The first half would then come to an end with the score all level at 0-0.
The Vees came out swinging in the second half as they earned more corner kicks than their opponent but their efforts went unrewarded. Meanwhile, fortunes would turn around for the Lakers in 62nd minute when Sabrina Chabot scored with an assist from Ashley Mlinaric to break the deadlock. The Voyageurs would continue their efforts for an equalizer the rest of the but Mykaela Volpe would shut the door to earn her first clean sheet of the season.
Spirits are high in the Voyageur locker room as evident by the comments made by Amanda Cuthbert: "We played really well, especially considering this was our first time playing together as a team. I thought we outplayed them for most of the game and we had a few good plays but unfortunately, they had a nice shot in off the post that made the difference. Overall, I'm proud of the way we played together as a team and if we keep it up, we're going to have a good season."
The Lakers drew first blood in both the Riley Gallo Cup and the 705 Challenge Cup but the Voyageurs will have an opportunity to avenge their defeat and tie the series when they host the Nipissing Lakers on September 22. In the meantime, they are right back at it tomorrow at 1pm for their home opener when they take on the Trent Excalibur.