Lady Vees remain in hunt for top-four

By Ron Guillet

The Laurentian Lady Vees’ soccer team split their four-game homestand with a .500 record, but remain in the race for a top-four finish, which would grant the team a home playoff game.

The Lady Vees started their homestand against the Ottawa Gee-Gees, ranked first in the OUA East by an 11-point margin, on Saturday, Oct. 6. The Gee-Gees crushed any hope of a Laurentian victory after they scored two goals in the first 25 minutes. The Lady Vees had some chances in the second half, but had a difficult time puncturing Ottawa’s backline, which only conceded one goal all season for a +39 goal differential. Julie Francki put the final nail in the coffin when she curled a shot in the top corner from 30 yards out for the 3-0 victory. The Lady Vees then played the Carleton Ravens, ranked fourth in the East, on Sunday, Oct. 7. Laurentian striker Julie Lopez scored the first goal in the 30th minute after she received a through-ball past the Ravens’ backline and beat goalkeeper Rachel Bedek with a clean shot. Lisa Watson provided the insurance goal in the 79th minute, scoring her fifth goal of the season in the 2-0 victory. The win placed Laurentian fifth in the OUA East, just one point behind the Ravens to secure a home playoff game.

On Saturday, Oct. 12, the RMC Paladins were up next on the schedule and the Lady Vees were looking to build on its win against the Ravens. Julie Lopez found the back of the net early as she put Laurentian up 1-0 in the 9th minute. Laurentian applied continuous pressure on the Paladins’ backline and forced the team to fall back into their own end, limiting offensive chances for the opposition. The Lady Vees entered the second half up 2-0 after a goal by Renee Jacques, and they continued to increase their lead as the game progressed. Lisa Watson stripped the ball from the Paladins goalkeeper and delivered a cross to Amanda Kwan for the game’s third goal. Watson joined the goal scoring fray with one of her own, which was followed up with a goal by Kwan who unloaded a low shot that beat the goalkeeper to solidify the 5-0 victory.

On Sunday, Oct. 14, the Lady Vees took on the Queen’s Gaels, ranked second in the East, on a rain-soaked turf. The Gaels took control from the onset and pinned the Lady Vees in their own end. The Gaels hit the post on a free kick but the ball bounced to an unmarked Riley Filion who slid the ball into the open net in the 12th minute. The goal seemed to have lit a fire under Laurentian, who played with more composure from that point onward. Watson came close in the second half after she connected with a volley, but the shot just missed the far post. The Lady Vees’ backline limited the Gaels’ opportunities and Amy-Lynn Pitton was frequently carrying the ball out the defensive end and sending it forward. Watson had another chance late in the game but she had little left in the tank and shot the ball wide with a defender right on her heels. The Lady Vees dropped the game 1-0 and remain in fifth place in the East with a 8-5-1 record, just one point behind the Ravens.

Laurentian coach Robert Gallo was pleased with his team and hopes they can use this effort as momentum moving forward.

“We battled hard,” Gallo said. “I thought the girls came up with a great offensive display yesterday but today the game was won on a free kick. Otherwise they didn’t get a lot of sniffs at our net, and we didn’t get the ball in the box to get what we wanted. These guys are the past national champions, so we’ll build from this. The girls battled hard and gave everything they possibly could and if we would have gotten a little more offence behind their defence, who knows what could have happened.”

Laurentian will close out their season with two road games against the Ryerson Rams and Toronto Varsity Blues on Oct. 20 and 21, respectively.