Sunday, October 27 2013
The Queen’s Gaels needed penalty kicks to knocked off the top-ranked team in the CIS in OUA quarter-final play on Sunday. Neither team could find the back of the net through 120 minutes of play and were forced to decide it in the most suspenseful of ways.
Coming into the game, both teams knew it wouldn’t be easy to score given there was only one scored between their two regular season meetings. “It’s difficult to score against a well-organized team and certainly that was the case today,” said Gee-Gees head coach Steve Johnson after the game. “Their season record didn’t reflect the quality of them as a team. They’re coming on strong at the right time of the year.”
The action was back and forth throughout the game with both teams creating great chances on goal but unable to convert.
“We had good communication in the back, we were solid and confident,” said Gee-Gees goalkeeper Cynthia LeBlanc. “We’ve been practicing playing against their style of play so we were ready for that.”
Queen’s had an opportunity with 18 minutes to go in the second half as Riley Filion directed a free kick on goal. It was deflected on its way and LeBlanc had to make a sprawling save to keep it out.
Soon after, the Gee-Gees turned it the other way and created some opportunities of their own, including a great run by Pilar Khoury where she made three Gaels miss on her way to the goal.
The Gee-Gees continued to press into the 30 minute extra frame. They saw a couple tough shots stopped and got the ball into the box but couldn’t get it past the keeper. Queen’s had a couple opportunities of their own, one in which Tara Bartram found herself wide open in front but skied her kick 20 feet over the net.
So it was down to penalties. The first two tries went off the bar, the second two were turned aside by the keepers. Chiara Quadri stepped up next and converted. Queen’s responded by scoring next. Sara DeCarufel was robbed when she tried to go straight down the middle on the Gee-Gees’ kick that followed. Queen’s scored again to make it 2-1.
Cynthia LeBlanc buried the next Gee-Gees kick herself to tie it back up. Leblanc then returned to the line and needed to stop the Gael’s fifth shooter, Brittany Almeida, to extended it. But she drilled it to the left to send Queen’s on their way to the OUA Final Four.
“We had been practicing penalties but they were not the quality that we’ve seen in preparation,” added Johnson. “You’ve played 120 minutes and your legs are exhausted, it’s not like you’re shooting penalties when you’re completely fresh. So some of the players just didn’t get the same placement they would normally.”
The Gaels advance to the 2013 OUA Final Four which will be held at Western University from November 1-3, while the Gee-Gees miss out on the Final Four for just the fourth time in twenty seasons of play.