Last Friday, January 25th, the UTM women’s varsity soccer team had their second tournament of the indoor season at Redeemer University in Ancaster. The women had a successful tournament the week before where they placed third overall and were hoping to place even higher at this tournament.
The first game of the day was against the hosting team, Redeemer Royals, who the women hadn’t played in a couple of years. With many new faces on the Redeemer team, they came out harder than expected by UTM. The game was fast paced with Redeemer taking over the middle of the pitch and not allowing for any distribution by the middle player. UTM wasn’t attacking the space when given opportunities and continuously opted to passing it off for their teammates to run onto, which Redeemer was always quick to shut down. Redeemer ended up scoring in the first half off a shot that went just under the arm of UTM goalie, Nida Zaidi. This left the score at 1-0 at halftime.
The second half was stronger for UTM as they began making more runs and attacking the space. A beautiful threw ball was given by midfielder, Kayla Rice, to a running Vanessa Cesario down the line. A shot was taken near post that went just over the goalie’s hands, making the game tied at 1-1. Despite other chances from both teams during the second half, the scored remained 1-1 until the final whistle blew.
The game proceeded with UTM still pressing and trying to scrape one in, but they were never able to bury it in the back of the net. Centennial managed to get another goal and ended up winning the game 2-0, crushing any chance for UTM to advance to the next round.
The second game of the tournament was against the George Brown Huskies—a rival team for UTM as they also play them in the outdoor season. UTM outplayed George Brown the entire game from their crisp passes to stellar movement on and off the ball. However, an unfortunate unmarked Huskies player was near the top of the box with a clear shot which she buried in the back of the net. UTM still continued to press, desperately needing to at least tie the game but, alas, the game was over and the women lost 1-0. Leaving them with only 1 point in two games.
The Centennial Colts were the third game of the day for UTM and an absolute must win in order to have a chance of making it out of their group. The women had beat Centennial 1-0 at the tournament the week prior so the Colts were hungry for revenge. The game started off slow but began picking up as they got deeper into the first half. Towards the middle of the pitch, the Centennial player managed to flick the ball to her teammate, splitting the UTM defenders where a clear shot on net was given. Centennial scored, marking this the first goal of the game.
The fourth game of the day was essentially pointless for UTM since regardless of the score, they were not going to advance. However, the effort the women still put into the game did not go unnoticed and almost led to a win. They played the St. Clair Saints—a team they will face off against at Regionals in March. Once again, the women played well but were never able to gain the upper hand as St. Clair managed to score a goal off of a lucky deflection early on in the game. As the game progressed, both teams were given opportunities to score but could not bury them. Rice made a tackle on a St. Clair player near the top of the UTM box that led to a yellow card, forcing the women to play with a player down for two minutes. UTM remained composed for most of the penalty until a 2-on-1 led to the UTM defender getting beat and a 1-on-1 with Zaidi. The St. Clair player placed the ball perfectly in the bottom right corner, making it 2-0. Although Rice managed to scrape a goal in for her team off a rebound, UTM was not able to get another goal and they lost their third game of the day.
Please note that this article was written by a member of the UTM women’s varsity soccer team.