By: Stephanie Taylor-Baptiste
The Algonquin women’s soccer team put on a ball possession clinic on Saturday, defeating Conestoga Condors 4-0 and stretching their perfect home record to 5-0. But it took Algonquin 20 minutes to capitalize on their dominance.
In the 23rd minute third-year left-winger Ginny Cass took a shot on a cross pass from the right wing to put the Thunder up 1-0. Cass also had another chance immediately thereafter, when she burst through the defence and fired a shot that forced the Condors’ keeper, Caitlyn Schlegel, to make a great save.
Algonquin benefited from a typically strong performance from third-year midfielder Julie Paul, punctuated by a beautiful goal from 30 yards out to give the Thunder a 2-0 lead after 34 minutes. The Thunder continued their command until half-time outshooting the Condors 7-3.
The team came out booming in the second half, after coach Garth Gittens implemented some tactical adjustments.
“I told the girls to play with the ball on the ground,” said Gittens. “We had the ball in the air a lot. We have our plays built with the ball on the ground.”
The start of the second half saw fourth-year midfielder Jaymie Baldree get an early chance. She cut through the defence with a nice cross pass to midfielder Melissa Harrison that drifted just out of reach.
Forward Kayla Marshall had a great turn shot from 25 yards, which screamed inches over the crossbar. Minutes later Paul sent Marshall through on a partial breakaway with her shot going wide.
In the 62nd minute defender Erin Sorrill made a clever interception and pass to forward Victoria Marchand who skilfully turned and hooked a shot over the keeper from the edge of the box to make the score 3-0 for the Thunder.
The Condors’ keeper Schlegel kept the deficit from getting worse by tipping a long distance blast from Harrison over the crossbar and deflecting another long attempt from midfielder Sam Disipio.
After a corner kick in the 77th minute, Marchand was able to break through the scramble and tuck the loose ball into the bottom left corner.
By the 80th minute, Conestoga appeared demoralized, overrun and simply overworked. While Gittens took advantage of a deep bench and numerous substitutions, Conestoga head coach Aldo Krajcar had no such luxury, with only two available spares.
The Thunder did not let up on their opponents, forcing corner kicks during injury time. Algonquin’s suffocating ball possession meant an easy afternoon for its keeper Jennifer Kelly, who did not face a shot on goal in the second half.
One of the team’s keys to success was great communication, as encouraged by the coaching staff. Paul indicates the emphasis on communicating with each other is the reason for her teammates were aware of her position, which allowed her to score her goal.
“It’s really important to communicate on and off the field,” said Paul. “We really work to make sure we know where each other are at all times. I was yelling for the ball because I knew I could get the ball in there.”
Marchand reinforced this point in describing her two goals.
“I focused on my position and making sure my teammates knew I was open so that we can cover each other well,” said Marchand.
The Thunder now advances to the semi-finals Oct. 26 and the team is already focused on improvement.
“Over the next week we’ll be training very hard and staying focused,” said Paul. “We did well today, but next week is a whole new week and whole new team and we need to be prepared for that.”