By: Ian McAlpine
A season in which everything seemed to go right came to an end on Saturday with everything going wrong.
The Algonquin Thunder women’s soccer team was defeated 2-1 on penalty kicks by the Centennial Colts in the OCAA bronze medal match.
“The weekend was not what we expected,” said head coach Garth Gittens. “It’s heartbreak for the girls and it will take a while to get over for sure.”
For the second straight year the Thunder’s season would be decided by penalty kicks and for the second straight season their hearts would be broken.
“This weekend, we truly did give it all we could have,” said Thunder fourth-year midfielder and captain, Kelly Avalos. “We couldn’t have wanted it any more than we did. We weren’t able to get off the shots that we needed, and therefore weren’t able to score. It just wasn’t meant to be for us this weekend.”
Fourth-year midfielder Jaymie Baldree, third-year midfielder Julie Paul, fourth-year defender Chelsea McLean and third-year striker Kayla Marshall would all convert for the Thunder while first-year goalkeeper Erin Byers made a few key saves. It wouldn’t be enough, as the Colts went on to win the shootout 5-4 to capture the bronze medal.
“The effort was there,” said Gittens. “We just didn’t execute on the day where we had to.”
The Colts opened the scoring in the 14th minute when midfielder Nicole Campbell beat the Thunder’s goalkeeper. Byers was replacing usual starter Jennifer Kelly who was injured in the team’s 1-0 semifinal loss to the Fanshawe Falcons the day before.
“Today it was hard to recover from the game yesterday,” said Gittens. “The girls came out and we were sluggish from the start.”
Though after the goal, the Thunder began to dominate the game, keeping possession and generating multiple scoring chances.
It seemed as though the Colts put the dagger in the Thunder’s medal hopes when they scored again later in the half. The goal was however ruled off due to an offside call.
For most of the second half it seemed as though the Thunder would be unable to score a goal until finally they broke through.
McLean took a free kick from well outside the box that Baldree was able to get a head on, burying it by the Colt’s keeper.
At the end of 90 minutes the game was tied 1-1 and sent for 30 minutes of extra time.
With both teams playing tight, defensive soccer nothing would be solved.
Following the game, players took to Twitter to voice their opinions.
“I have been blessed to have spent every night since August with the most amazing teammates,” said Avalos. “Our season’s over, but our bonds are everlasting.”
“Not sad about the loss, those come and go, but sad that it’s over,” said Paul. “I’ll always be so proud of my girls.”