Mark Janzen

July 8, 2013, KAZAN, Russia (CIS) – For the second consecutive game at the 27th Summer Universiade, the Canadian women’s soccer team had to play catch up and ended up on the wrong end of a one-goal contest, this time dropping a 1-0 decision to Ireland, on Sunday afternoon.

In the loss, both current Trinity Western women’s soccer midfielder Natalie Boyd (Surrey, B.C.) and former Spartans defender Jilian Dietrich (Calgary) played the full 90 minutes for the Canadian side. Former TWU goalkeeper Kristen Funk (Calgary) was also on the pitch for the duration, stopping two of the three shots on target. 

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Despite the 0-2 start to the tournament, which saw Canada fall to Mexico 3-2 Friday, the Canucks can still advance to the quarter-finals but will need a big win Tuesday at 5 p.m. local time (9 a.m. ET) in its Pool B finale against China, which is currently third in the group with a record of 0-1-1. The Canucks need to leapfrog China in the standings and finish with a goal differential good enough to be one of the top two third-place squads at the end of the opening round.

The duel against Ireland was only seven minutes old when Sara Lawlor scored what stood as the game-winner on a low shot from just inside the box that left no chance to goalkeeper Funk.

“We’ve talked about the need to come out stronger at the start of each half. We need to be more focused right from the get go,” said head coach Liz Jepsen. “Our possession game was much better today but we struggled getting behind their back line and couldn’t really generate great scoring chances.

“I don’t even want to do the math and figure out the margin of victory we need on Tuesday. We just need to score some goals and win,” added the University of Alberta sideline boss.

The Irish almost doubled their advantage in the 18th minute but Julie-Ann Russell’s shot sailed just left of the post.

With their rivals content to defend their slim lead, the Canadians dominated play in the second half but just couldn’t solve keeper Eve Badana.

Jackie Tessier of Winnipeg (Queen’s) sent a hard shot a few feet to the right of the net in the 47th minute.

Four minutes later, Ireland had its best chance of the second frame when Lawlor hit the left post after a few nice moves in the box.

Striker Julia Ignacio (Alberta) came in to replace Tessier in the 55th minute and seemed to provide an instant spark. Three minutes after taking the field, the Edmonton native tested Badana with a high shot from 20 yards out.

Canada had a number of good runs in the final 10 minutes which resulted in three corners but couldn’t get the much-needed equalizer.

“It’s always tough to come from behind, especially in such a competitive tournament,” Ignacio said. “We had a good chat at halftime to make sure we came out strong in the second half. We just couldn’t find the back of the net.”

BOXSCORE: Canada vs Ireland