By Erich Engert
Charcoal-grey clouds carried in a storm and the Thunder girls soccer team brought the boom on Sept. 13 against the Fleming Knights on the Algonquin College soccer complex.
With teammate support, captain and defensive player Melissa Harrison got the ball rolling with a goal early into the first half, of what would later become a 3 – 0 win.
“It’s important to get on top early in the game,” said Harrison. “Playing at home adds to it too. It’s important to never lose on your home turf.”
The rain barely bothered the Thunder as they gave it their all, sliding and splashing through the soaked field to maintain ball control. The girls danced around the Knights throughout the first half of the game and maintained a strong presence in the opposing team’s zone, only letting up by a small margin in the second half.
“There aren’t a lot of returning players this year so it’s a building process for now, but it helps that we have a lot of talent to work with,” said head coach Dominic Oliveri. “We’re trying to keep it together and we’re working a lot on keeping possession and passing which should help to bring us more goals.”
Some of the talent comes from defensive newcomer Emma Arsenault who held her own on the field, stopping several attempts by the Knights to enter the Thunder’s zone. She has been playing soccer since the age of five and can only remember missing a single year due to an ACL injury.
“It’s been a great experience playing on the college team so far and I’m learning a lot,” said Emma Arsenault. “Everyone on the team is really friendly and I’m looking forward to playing the next three years with them.”
Following the first goal by Harrison, midfield Amy Savage received an opportunity to double their score with a penalty kick. She didn’t disappoint and put the Thunder up 2 – 0. Then it was more ball play until the second half when forward Tori MacFarlane scored, bringing the Thunder up 3 – 0, effectively closing off the Knights’ comeback opportunity.
“It was when I scored the penalty shot that I started telling myself we were going to win this one,” said Savage. “We just need to sort out our runs, shape up a bit, but we moved the ball better as a team and we worked hard to get this win.”
The Thunder’s next game is against Durham Lords on Sept. 14 where the Thunder will defend their home turf once again. The following game will be a visit to St. Lawrence College to challenge the Vikings. The Thunder plan on making both big wins as they reach for provincials.
“We’re hosting provincials this year, win or lose, so we’ve definitely got to be there,” said Oliveri. “But we’re also looking beyond that to another chance at the National championship.”