November 9, 2012, VICTORIA (CIS) – The reigning two-time national champion Queen’s Gaels will have a chance to become the first team in history to capture three straight Gladys Bean Memorial Trophies on Sunday thanks to a stunning 4-1 win over the No. 1-ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees in the semifinal of the CIS women’s soccer championship, Friday evening, at the University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium.
The Gaels, who claimed the third and final OUA berth for the CIS tournament with a win in the Ontario conference bronze-medal game last Sunday, advance to Sunday’s title match at 2 p.m. PST, where they will face either Trinity Western or host Victoria.
Queen’s is the second team in the 26-year history of the CIS championship to reach the gold-medal game three years in a row, after the Dalhousie Tigers, who accomplished the feat from 1993 to 1995. However, the Tigers didn’t get a shot at a three-peat at the time as they won only one of three finals (1994).
Tonight’s result is especially shocking considering how dominant OUA champion Ottawa had been on defence so far this season. Including their 3-1 opening-round win over Cape Breton on Thursday, the Gee-Gees had allowed a grand total of two goals in 20 overall contests this fall, by far the best defensive record in the country. In 32 all-time CIS championship matchups before their lost to Queen’s, the Gee-Gees had conceded four or more goals only twice.
As for the Gaels, they equaled their best-ever offensive output at the CIS tourney. Playing in its 32nd game at nationals, Queen’s had tallied four times in a match only once before, in a 4-1 pool-play win over Western in 2004.
“Our finishing was very good even though I think they outshot us by a wee bit,” claimed Queen’s head coach Dave McDowell. “We had three really good goals in the second half and we defended pretty admirably I thought. I’m very proud of them. To beat an excellent Ottawa team took a lot of work. Hopefully we have a little bit left for Sunday.”
Both teams started out conservatively but Ottawa soon picked up the pace with three corners by the 12th minute. The third cross dropped perfectly for CIS player of the year Gillian Baggott, who had an unobstructed header from seven meters out. However, Queen’s keeper Madison Tyrell was in a perfect position to make the save without giving a rebound.
Ottawa began to take control of the game winning the 50-50 balls and getting first to the ball and were rewarded in the 22nd minute. The OUA champs earned a direct kick deep inside the Queen’s half. Baggott stepped up to the ball and hit a low knuckleball, which beat Tyrell on the inside to take the early lead.
Seven minutes later, Queen’s earned a well deserved free kick with what amounted to a short corner kick. The ball sat nicely for Alexis McKlinty on a rebound by a shot from Miklya Kay. She finished easily scoring the equalizer, her second goal of the tournament.
The remainder of the half was a back-and-forth affair with each of the familiar foes taking their share of possession.
Ottawa started the second half with pace but it was Queen’s which struck against the run of play. Second half substitute Breanna Burton corralled the ball made a turn and struck the ball with such pace that it shot past the outstretched hands of keeper Cynthia LeBlanc to put the Gaels up by one in the 52nd minute. Burton then took control of the game and the ball with another strike three minutes later to make it a 3-1 score.
Ottawa earned a direct kick just outside of the 18-yard box close to the sideline in the 75th minute but the scramble in front of the net failed to get behind the keeper. The Gee-Gees played with urgency creating opportunities and corner kicks but the Gaels’ defenders continued to put their bodies in the line of fire and blocked shots with determination.
Queen’s put the game out of reach in the 80th minute when Riley Filion placed a direct kick from 24 metres and sent it into the top right hand corner.
“I think we started really well and we also had some good performances from some individuals today,” said Ottawa head coach Steve Johnson, whose squad will face the loser of the TWU-Victoria semifinal in Sunday’s bronze-medal game at 11:30 a.m. PST. “Unfortunately, Queen’s was very tidy around their net and had four wonderstrikes. Despite the fact we created a number of chances we just didn’t finish them. We’ve got to take a deep breath and then prepare for the bronze medal match.”
GAME NOTES: Queen’s will go for a fourth CIS title overall on Sunday. The Gaels won their first banner in 1988… Ottawa claimed CIS bronze a year ago with a 2-0 win over McGill…