By: Ian McAlpine

The Algonquin Thunder women’s soccer team took to the pitch on Sept. 15 for their home opener where they shutout the Durham Lords 3-0 for their second win of the season.

Third-year midfielder Julie Paul scored the game-winning goal in the first half while rookie Jesalah Rada added two more in the second.

“It’s very important for the team to get the confidence and to set the tone right away,” said Thunder assistant coach Carlos Avalez. “It’s the home opener.”

Thunder fans were out in full force to watch their team dominate the Lords on both ends of the field. “As the game progressed we became more confident,” said Avalez. “Having said that, we have only seven veterans on the field of the starting 11 and the rookies complemented them very well.”

Paul opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a shot from the top of the box that landed just inside the left post. “Really I was just trying to stay level-headed because it was a set play,” said Paul. “We’ve practiced it a hundred times so it wasn’t anything new. I just had to make sure I stayed calm and executed properly.”

Paul also scored in the Thunder’s 2-0 win over the Cambrian Golden Shield in the season opener. “I’m just trying to be a leader for this team,” said Paul. We have a lot of new rookies so I’m just trying to lead by example.”

In the second half the Thunder didn’t sit on their lead, but instead attacked the Durham goal relentlessly, hoping to pad their lead. Twice they were awarded free kicks just outside the penalty area and twice Rada was able to find the back of the net.

“Well they were both off of free kicks and I really just wanted to be aggressive and go for the rebounds and they ended up coming right to my feet,” said Rada. She scored her first goal in the 56th minute after finding herself all alone in front of the Durham keeper after a great pass from Jaymie Baldree landed right on her foot.

Rada converted another goal in the 63rd minute on a header after the Durham goalkeeper let out a big rebound on the Baldree free kick. “It feels really good,” said Rada. “I’ve been wanting to contribute in pre-season and got close a couple times. It feels good to actually put the ball in the net.”

Avalez said he was very pleased with the team’s defensive effort. “They played very hard over the first two games,” said Avalez. “We have three rookies on the defense and they are doing very well.”

Veteran goalkeeper Jennifer Kelly who is the reigning OCAA Championship Top Goalkeeper was solid in posting her second straight shutout.

The Thunder move to 2-0 on the season as they attempt to avenge their second-place finish from last year.