Host Martlets stun No. 2-ranked Spartans

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mcgill martlets_logo

Michel Belanger

MONTREAL (CIS) – The tournament host McGill Martlets stunned the heavily-favoured Trinity Western Spartans 4-1 on kicks to prevail 1-0 in the fourth quarter-final matchup of the CIS women’s soccer championship at Percival Molson Stadium, Thursday night.

Official championship website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wsoc/index

Martlets goalkeeper Victoria Muccilli, a 5-foot-9 history sophomore from Mississauga, Ont., made eight saves and added two more in the shootout to preserve the victory which sets the stage for an all-Quebec semifinal between McGill and the Montreal Carabins on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

That contest between the cross-town rivals will be preceded by an all-Ontario matchup between Ottawa and Queen’s in the other semi at 1:30 p.m.

The result snapped an eight-game win streak at the Nationals (seven of them via shutout) for the Spartans, who joined CIS in 2001 and have won three national titles. The Canada West champions entered this year’s tourney with a 10-1-1 all-time record in their four previous appearances.

Julia Bahen of Vancouver, Kelsey Wilson of Pincourt, Que., Laura Bland-Lasso of Ottawa and Selena Colarossi of Burlington, Ont., all scored for McGill in the shootout.

“The girls were absolutely great, they followed the game plan,” said McGill head coach Marc Mounicot, whose team finished third in the RSEQ in both the regular season and playoffs. “We’ve been working on PKs for three weeks and I know that they were confident about that, even if they were going up against probably the best PK-stopping goalie in the country over the last few years. We beat them and the girls deserved the victory because they worked like lions today.”

TWU ‘keeper Kristen Funk, a first-team all-Canadian from Calgary who had won six straight games at Nationals, including five shutouts, injured her back on McGill’s third shootout goal. She gamely hung in for the last shot but was removed from the field on a stretcher, as a precautionary measure, amid the hoopla of McGill’s unexpected victory.

The Spartans’ lone goal on kicks was scored by Jillian Dietrich of Calgary. Natalie Boyd and Colleen Webber were both robbed by Muccilli, who dove right to save the first one and then made a sliding feet-first save to her left for the latter stop.

“I knew that I’d made a save going right, so the chances were pretty high that she was going to shoot the other way,” said Muccilli. “Marc (Mounicot) gave me a signal and I went left. It was amazing, especially since we were the underdogs going in. To know that we came out with a victory was a real team effort.”

TWU’s Daniela Gerig of Fort Langley, B.C., and McGill’s Alexandra Morin-Boucher of St. Gabriel de Brandon, Que., were selected players of the game.

“It was tough circumstances for us to play tonight. I give credit to McGill. They defended us very well and made it tough for us to find space,” said TWU head coach Graham Roxburgh, named the CIS coach of the year on Wednesday night. “They worked really hard and sometimes soccer is that way, we just have to pick-up the pieces and get ready and show why we are a good team. We had one or two chances that could have put us up 1-0 and their keeper’s save on Alexi Foster’s header was probably the difference-maker in the match.”

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