The UTM Eagles women’s indoor soccer had an excellent display of skills at Redeemer College in the Royal Cup indoor soccer tournament this weekend on January 28. Unfortunately, the Eagles lost to the Sheridan Bruins in the quarter-finals, then watched Seneca Sting win the cup. Though, in the round-robin tournament style format, the Eagles won two games, lost one, and tied another, going 2-1-2 overall.
In the first game, UTM came into it knowing they were going to be facing a good team; St. Clair College advanced to the provincials last outdoor season, and UTM had struggled against them in previous outdoor seasons. However, the women came on the field with the right attitude, and performed with strong athleticism. The women trusted each other and the system, listened to their head coach Damian Yearwood, and were able to keep the game scoreless, solidifying a tie, which is a positive result for the Eagles.
In their second game, UTM beat Centennial College 1-0. Centennial and UTM have played each other a handful of times in the past two years, and have been close to beating them, but until this game they had never achieved that goal. The Eagles had a good understanding of how the team plays, and they used this knowledge and the energy and confidence from the first tie to come out and play strong. An honourable mention goes out to rookie player Kristina De Andrade from Mississauga, ON for displaying patience and finesse, scoring the lone goal.
After playing back-to-back games, UTM fell short against Sheridan College, losing 2-0. Unfortunately, they conceded a header goal off a corner kick early in the second half. They made the choice to switch their goaltender to fourth-year player Harnancy Dhugga, which resulted in multiple scoring chances for the team. Sheridan capitalized with a breakaway during the last seconds, ending the game 2-0.
In their final game of the tournament, the women learned that they were facing George Brown College, which was a team they were excited to play because they had met them on numerous occasions in the past. With their previous experience and their strong determination to win, the women won 3-2. Assistant coach Sonia Rocha provided the women with a strategy that played to the team’s overall strengths, as well as notifying them of George Brown’s strengths and weaknesses and exploiting them for the win. Third-year player Jayde Forde, who normally plays as a strong defender, illustrated her versatility and skill, scoring two goals. Vanessa Cesario was another force which posed a serious threat to George Brown, as she showed her technique and precision scoring the game-winning goal.
The women kept their strategy and didn’t let themselves break down. They played as a team, trusting each other and communicating well. Also, they were calm and made smart plays even though they were high on energy and confidence from some great displays of athleticism. Going forward, the Eagles believe that they need to improve on learning to read and understanding their opponents during the game, and alter their strategy to supersede them. This was an emphasis brought upon by their loss against Sheridan College.
The women play again in an OCAA Invitational tournament on Saturday, February 11 at Sheridan College.