On the second day of the women’s soccer OCAA championships, the Thunder played through to a thrilling finish by overcoming the Cambrian Golden Shields 4-3 in overtime at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg, ON earlier today.
In the third matchup of the season between Algonquin and Cambrian, you could tell early on that these teams had experience playing against each other. But just six minutes into the game, Melissa Harrison opened the scoring by securing her own rebound off the post and gently putting the ball past Cambrian’s goalkeeper.
was any indicator of what the OCAA provincial championships were like, then the Thunder would have put away the game early – but it was quite the opposite. Although the Thunder were up 2-0 right after half-time with a goal by Algonquin’s top scorer, Vanessa Macmillan, the Golden Shields bounced right back to tie the game in the 90 minute off a controversial call resulting in a free kick.
Dom Oliveri, head coach of the Algonquin Thunder, felt that it was a bad call to begin with. “I don’t understand why every time we come here it is an issue [penalties], the reality is the players deserve better than what they had out there today,” said Oliveri. “The foul calls against us were like 40 to three, it’s impossible in football that there is that much of a gap without any yellow cards.”
Cambrian came out to play and went head-to-head with Algonquin throughout, and early into the first half of overtime they took the lead 3-2 when Chelsea Sargeant powered a shot past the Thunder’s goaltender.
This lead would hold until the second half of the extra time when Jenna Baldree toe kicked the ball near the Cambrian net, ricocheting off the opposing team’s defender and into the goal.
Breanna Humphreys, a third-year veteran on the Thunder, was shocked to see the ball go in.
“I had a mini heart attack honestly,” she said. “I’m still in bliss, and at the time, it was like ‘Let’s go’. I think at that point, that was the hope for us.”
With a tie game in the closing minutes, Harrison took control and scored the final goal of the game in the 119 minute to seal the deal.
Macmillan and the other returning players on the team have experience in the finals after winning first place last year. But her team had discussed their level of play so far in the championship.
“I think we just need to play our game. We’ve talked about how we haven’t really played Algonquin College soccer so far,” Macmillan explained, “It’s a lot harder, and we haven’t really been up to standard with the provincial play, so I think we just need to step it up and play our game.”
This win follows a 5-0 thrashing of the Mohawk Mountaineers just a day earlier to spring them into semi-final action.
The Thunder will face-off against the Humber Hawks tomorrow at 3 p.m. for a chance at the gold medal.