By: Ian McAlpine
Their perfect season is still alive.
The 6th nationally ranked Algonquin Thunder woman’s soccer team remained undefeated with a 3-1 win over the Seneca Sting on Sept. 22. Veteran midfielder Jaymie Baldree led the way for the Thunder with a goal and an assist. Strikers Amanda Greene and Rosa Navas also scored for Algonquin.
“We knew they were a tough team,” said assistant coach Carlos Avalez. “If anything they are the competition in our league right now. But coming down to the end of the stretch and going into the crossover game and possibly provincials we need more games like this.”
Baldree got the Thunder on the board early after bending a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box around the Seneca wall and into the back of the net. The Sting responded immediately as Andrea Runco tied the score 1-1 just one minute later. It was the first goal the Thunder have conceded all year.
“It’s always nice to have clean sheets after every game but I mean it is what it is,” said Avalez. “We knew it was going to happen. I’m just glad it happened sooner than later. Now it’s done and we move forward from this.” The Thunder retook the lead in the 39th minute when striker Amanda Greene took a through ball from Baldree and slipped it by the Sting’s goalkeeper for her second goal of the season.
The second half was all Seneca as they forced Thunder goalkeeper Jennifer Kelly to make a handful of crucial saves. “Jen Kelly plays a key role to our team,” said Baldree. “When she’s not there we definitely notice it. She always comes up with big saves, she’s a huge part of our team.”
Navas gave the Thunder a bit of breathing room in the 82nd minute when she buried a shot to make it 3-1. “I remember seeing the ball coming through the box and it slipped over a couple players and came right too me,” said Navas. “I remember having a girl grabbing my jersey and I just blocked her out, turned around and scored.” This was a match the team had circled on their calendars for a while.
“We knew that Seneca was a really big team that we were going to go against so we had to get our head in the game,” said Navas. “You know soccer is not just about skills and actually playing but it’s all in your head too so we had to focus really well.” The Thunder move to 5-0 on the season with just three games remaining.
A berth at the provincial championships is all but guaranteed, and with the tournament being hosted on their home field it’s that much more exciting. Avalez says that just like every year, the goal is to win a provincial and national championship.
The women know what they have to do. “Just to play our hearts out and put it all on the field,” said Navas. “It’s all we’ve got.”