The Dinos women's soccer squad drove north to Edmonton as Canada West champions and returned home Sun., Nov. 13 disappointed. They had an amazing run, but in the end a Canadian Interuniversity Sport Women's Soccer Championship was just out of reach.
The Dinos began nationals Thu., Nov. 10 facing the St. Francis Xavier University X-Women, the Atlantic University conference finalists, and didn't disappoint. They carried in their momentum from the CW championship and got on the board with an early lead. A beautiful pass from Renae Hunter set up Jessica Horning, who, in the 21st minute, wired a shot off the crossbar and into the net.
The Dinos kept up the pressure and almost doubled the lead in the 40th minute, but Erin Harris put her shot just wide of the net.
The X-Women finally found their powers in the second half, putting on some pressure of their own. Their best opportunity came when they received a free kick in the 53rd minute after Megan Gould received a yellow card. But no group of super heros could out-play our Dinos.
Karen Sturk sealed the game with a goal in injury time. Sturk's stellar play earned her a gold star and Player of the Game honours. With this victory the Dinos advanced to the semi-finals on Friday.
This game was a real heartbreaker for the Dinos as the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees ended their hope of becoming national champions. Both teams had several good opportunities during the game, but neither was able to take the upper hand and the game would end in a 0-0 tie.
The Dinos' best chance of the game came when Susan Wandler received a pass from Katie Blundell in the 72nd minute and one-timed it off the crossbar. The Gee-Gees had their best chance in the 98th minute when Dinos keeper Taryn Swiatek dove to get a hand on a shot, deflecting it into the post.
For the third time in four playoff games the Dinos were faced with a shoot-out. Fate was no longer on their side as they fell 3-1 to the U of O. Dinos midfielder Jessica Horning received her team's Player of the Game honours.
There was still a bronze light at the end of the tunnel Sunday as the Dinos faced off against the McGill University Marlets. But the Dinos came out flat, and were unable to mount any serious scoring opportunities in the first half. Swiatek had to work for her Player of the Game status in the 20th minute when she denied McGill's Carolyne Pelletier's good scoring opportunity.
The second half saw much of the same. The deciding goal came late in the game with its fair share of controversy. Swiatek fielded a corner kick in the 85th minute, but was contacted by a McGill player, popping the ball loose and allowing Anna Gruending to put the ball into the net. A sense of urgency was felt by the Dinos as they tried desperately to tie the game.
Both Katie Blundell and her sister Shirley had near misses with the latter's shot rolling mere inches wide of the goalpost. But as the final whistle blew the Dinos left the pitch without a national medal.
It was a sad finish to an amazing season.