Brock slid past 'Stangs

Young women's soccer team looks to turn things around

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Western player holds her head as Brock players celebrate behind her

Jon Purdy

OH RATS, I HAD AN ENGLISH ESSAY DUE TODAY. Western's women's soccer team weren't left scratching their heads because of academic conflicts, but were searching for answers after dropping a game to Brock this past weekend.

The Western Mustangs women’s soccer team slipped up this past Sunday in an afternoon game versus the Brock Badgers.

The women took the field at TD Waterhouse Stadium where they battled in a low scoring game. Despite fighting off Brock’s strong offence, the Purple and Silver fell 1-0.

Mustangs centre defender Leslie Martin explained the team’s struggles.

“We should have been able to control the game more through the middle of the park,” Martin said. “We lost the ball a lot and then they were able to counter-attack.”

The Badgers bombarded Western’s end right from the opening whistle. Brock head coach Charles Ivanov explained his strategy in facing a strong positional team like Western.

“Our focus was to pressure everywhere on the field,” Ivanov explained. “To close their time and space on the ball.”

The Mustangs showcased a strong defensive line led by Martin, Stacey Bellemore and Robin Fischer. Despite good defensive passing and effective goalkeeping, the Mustangs were unable to move the ball down the field.

The Badgers continued to push play into Western’s end despite numerous goal kicks and free kicks awarded to the home side.

By the end of the first half, the game remained scoreless.

Western head coach David Peak commented on the Mustangs’ frustration.

“Basic soccer skills let us down today,” Peak said.

The second half held the same frustration. Western goalkeeper Emily Gillet was solid but saw more action than the Mustangs would have liked. Brock’s push paid off with a goal by freshman Cassandra Van Bakel in the 65th minute.

On the other end of the field, Brock’s goalie Tiffany Scriver denied Western’s late game attacks on net. By the last whistle, Western was shut out and defeated by Brock’s lone goal.

“We got beat by a better team,” Peak said. “Hopefully the girls can turn things around.”

Brock’s victory and Western’s defeat were monumental to both teams.

“We made history today,” Ivanov said. “[Brock University] has never won against the University of Western [Ontario]. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can achieve.”

Last season, the Mustangs faced Brock three times. Both regular season games ended in a tie; however, the Mustangs stepped up in the quarterfinals to eliminate the Badgers. Western and Brock have been evenly matched in the past and continued to display that same level of competitiveness on Sunday.

“We’re still a really young team,” Martin said. “Everyone’s getting used to the system that we play. This is a platform to move forward from.” The Mustangs now sit fourth in the OUA division with a total of four points. Brock is second in the same division with an accumulated nine points.

“We’ll just take it one game at a time,” Martin said. “The most important thing is making playoffs and then going from there. If we can develop from now until then, we should be good.”

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