by Troy Langstaff
The Dalhousie women's soccer team defeated the University of New Brunswick (UNB) Reds by a score of 2-1 Saturday afternoon at Wickwire Field. The Tigers won their fourth-straight season opener in front of a limited 250 fans.
Dalhousie came flying out of the gates and were one step ahead of the Reds for the first 15 minutes of play. UNB managed to catch their feet and after that forced a turnover in the 30' minute just outside the Tigers 18-yard box that resulted in their first good chance of the game. A cross into the goal area that was thwarted by Dalhousie's goalkeeper Annabel Gravely (Toronto, ON).
The Reds kept their foot on the gas but would only be rewarded with a few corner kicks.
After some sustained pressure of their own the Tigers were rewarded with a goal in the 40' minute by Kaitlyn Woodworth (Bridgewater, NS). Riley Donovan (Toronto, ON) tipped the ball into a perfect area for Woodworth to fire into the bottom left corner.
UNB was pressuring before the half for an equalizer, but the Reds' Madison Goertz (Saskatoon, SK) fired a shot a foot too high that rang off the crossbar and went out of play.
The Tigers lead 1-0 at halftime.
At the start of the second half UNB continued their pressure from the end of the first 45 minutes with one short range cross into the box. This chance for the Reds resulted in the best save of the game up until that point by Gravely off a header from UNB's Jesse Bellamy (St. Catherines, ON) in the 46' minute.
Dalhousie was sharp defensively stopping UNB chances before they could really get started. This transferred into some strong offensive play of their own with quick, precise passing.
The 61' minute saw the Tigers extend their lead to two off a tap-in goal by Chloe Richardson (Calgary, AB).
Once again, the Reds responded with some strong play. Gravely had to be sharp making incredible back-to-back saves off of a free kick and close range rebound chance by the Reds. Gravely would make a total of 5 saves in the match.
The middle of the second half saw both teams slow down the play. Dalhousie was keen to play safe and not force any passes while holding the 2-0 lead whereas UNB seemed nervous to make any mistakes, keeping control of the ball and making safe passes and plays.
In the 81' minute Richardson was looking for her second goal of the game as she flew by the Reds defenders on the right side of the pitch and fired a shot into the side of the net. She kept on the offensive and minutes later received a beautiful pass from Charlotte Spencer (Kingston, ON) that forced Reds' keeper Brynn Nash (Saskatoon, ON) to make a remarkable save. One of her seven in the match.
That save from Nash seemed to change the tide for the Reds as one minute later in the 89' Madison Goertz fired a long ball from 10 yards inside half that was just out of reach of Gravely and flew under the crossbar and into the back of the net.
Unfortunately for UNB that's all they could muster in the last few minutes of play as the Tigers took the match by a score of 2-1.
Dalhousie's Josie Oickle (Lewis Lake, NS) earned Subway Player of the Game honours.
UNB will look to turn their luck around tomorrow when they visit Acadia in another afternoon kick-off at 1pm.
Dalhousie's next match comes this Thursday when they visit St. Mary's for an evening match-up at 5pm.