The Algonquin Thunder clinched a spot in the Ontario championships by defeating the Mohawk Mountaineers by a slim 1-0 final score on Oct. 20.
Thunder midfielder Anita Abubakar Bakare scored the eventual game winner 32 minutes into the first half, while goalkeeper Vanessa Cavanaugh stopped all 10 shots she faced.
The win over Mohawk followed a historic loss to Seneca on Oct. 13. Carley Uddenberg had two goals for the Sting while Ellie Hayes had the other goal.
Hayes’ goal came six minutes in and had the Thunder chasing the game right from the start. They managed to stay in the game until the 38th minute when Seneca got two quick goals from Uddenberg just under two minutes apart.
Uddenberg’s first goal came off a great individual effort. She dribbled her way to the net and fired a strike into the top right corner, giving Thunder goalkeeper Kirsten Skinner no chance. Her second goal came off a screened shot from the left side that went in the bottom right corner.
Skinner made an important save around the 24th minute when the score was still just 1-0 that kept the Thunder in the game. The Thunder had some chances late in the game but were unable to convert.
Coach Basil Phillips thought his team played a decent second half but didn’t respond well after the two quick goals.
“We lost the shape, we lost the intensity, we lost the desire,” he said. “The heads went down, and at that point they were just able to run through us.”
Both teams were undefeated coming into the game but Phillips insisted that that was not a factor in the Thunder game plan.
“We know they’re a good team,” he said. “We couldn’t catch them for first but we had a chance to get the bye and not play the qualifying round so that’s probably the biggest thing. The record is the record, we were just looking to finish on a good note.”
He said they played a good game the day before in a 2-0 win over Fleming but didn’t follow that up with a good effort on Saturday.
“We just gotta get everyone on the same page, everybody working together,” he said. “If we do that, then we’re good, if we don’t do that we can be poor.”
The loss broke a 56-game winning streak that spanned nearly a decade. The last time the Thunder lost a regular season game was a 7-0 loss on Oct. 17, 2009 against St. Lawrence College. Because of that, the players were emotional and refused to the media.
The loss to Seneca followed a hard-fought victory over the Fleming Knights on Oct. 12, coming away with a 2-0 win in their second-to-last regular season game.
The Thunder improved to 6-0-5 on the season at the time, sitting in third place in the OCAA East division.
The first half saw the Thunder largely in control, preventing the Knights from creating scoring opportunities and keeping the ball in the offensive half of the field. Unfortunately, they were unable to capitalize and went into the locker room tied 0-0.
“We played a good first half, we just weren’t creative enough in the final third (of the field). We controlled the game, we just didn’t create a lot of opportunities,” said coach Basil Phillips. “Our last game we played was similar, but we had more opportunities, we just didn’t score them. This game, we just didn’t create as much.”
The second half of the game was more productive for the Thunder, with second-year forward Jazmine Short scoring in the 54th minute, along with third-year defender Hailey Martin scoring in the 68th minute.
“I think we played well, we had to win. So, we dug deep, pulled out that win. We have a hard time finishing, but we got two goals,” said Martin following the game. “It was good for us to get that result, but as a team, I think we did good and we showed up when we had to show up.”