Women’s soccer team loses a tough one
By Eric Wilkins, Sports Editor
Despite a solid team effort on an overcast Saturday afternoon at Cunnings Field, the Douglas women’s soccer team came up with the short end of the stick, losing 4-2 against the visiting Thompson Rivers University (TRU) WolfPack.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Coach Ciaran McMahon after the game. “We wanted the win and we feel we deserved the win… But credit to the team because they pushed and they looked for the opportunities and never got their heads down, which is a big shift from where we’re coming from.”
The game got off to a fast start, with Douglas’ Rebecca Mainardi stuffing a WolfPack forward on a breakaway in the eighth minute after the swift striker found room through the defence. The Royals were quick to go on the offensive themselves, though, seeing Marni McMillan (#21) finish a gorgeous through-ball from Nicolle Fraser (#13) in the 10th minute. In keeping with the torrid pace of the game, TRU went right back on the attack, forcing Mainardi to come up with a big save from in close off a volley. Unfortunately, the Douglas keeper was unable to keep out the subsequent corner kick, as Marlie Rittinger tied the game up at 1-1.
After a couple more saves from Mainardi, the Royals struck again. Fraser took a chance and got one into the back of the net in the 19th minute to put Douglas up 2-1. It wasn’t long before the WolfPack answered though, as a free kick just outside the 18 in the 22nd minute saw a spectacular strike from reigning PACWEST MVP Alanna Bekkering find the top corner. TRU closed out the half with several more chances but no goals, resulting in a halftime score of 2-2.
The second-half would not be as high scoring an affair as the first, but it would see the first booking of the day when Fraser ended up with her name in the referee’s notebook after a yellow card in the 52nd minute. The deadlock would be broken in the 73rd minute when TRU’s Jaydene Radu rippled the mesh. The WolfPack nearly went up another goal five minutes later when the forward found her way past the Royals’ keeper along the top of the box, but she snubbed the shot and the ball dribbled harmlessly away. Mainardi would do her part to keep the game in reach in the 87th minute, coming up with a huge save diving to her left. Unfortunately for Douglas, it just wasn’t enough. With the Royals pressing hard, Bekkering would find room to slot home her second of the day on a breakaway in injury time. 4-2, final score.
“I think we battled really hard for 90 minutes… that’s something we’ve been working on as a team. We usually battle hard for about a half and then fold, and I think we played well the entire game today. We really gave TRU a run for their money,” said McMillan after the game. In reference to her goal, Douglas’ No. 21 stated, “We really wanted to get that first goal and set the tone for the game and it was nice to make that happen.”
Criminology major Fraser concurred with McMillan’s thoughts and added, “It’s always a good learning experience playing the top team.”
McMahon was pleased with his squad in spite of the score, “We keep playing like this and we keep pushing like this and the chances are going to come our way. We took the top team in the league to within a goal down to the dying seconds and had them on their heels for most of the game.”