Queen’s Golden Gaels found themselves in familiar territory Saturday afternoon, and perhaps because they're comfortable playing there, they’re going back to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport women’s soccer championship tournament.
The Gaels, going to overtime for the sixth time in their last eight playoff games, finally prevailed in an eight-round shootout to claim a 2-1 victory over the previously unbeaten West division champion York Lions at the Ontario University Athletics Final Four tournament in Ottwa.
Queen’s will face Laurier, the No. 6-ranked team in Canada, in the conference final Sunday. Laurier upset the East division’s regular-season champion, Ottawa, 2-1, in Saturday’s other semifinal.
Both Queen’s and Laurier will advance to the CIS tournament in Vancouver. Queen’s was last there in 2012, when the Gaels lost 1-0 to Trinity Western in a game that was decided by penalty kicks.
The game-deciding format was kinder to Queen’s Saturday—ultimately. After the teams ended 90 minutes of regulation time and 30 minutes of overtime deadlocked 1-1, they entered a shootout. Queen’s goalkeeper Madison Tyrell stopped the first shot she faced, and Lions keeper Taylor Grant stopped the second one she faced, but through the next five rounds, everyone on both teams scored.
In Round 8, Tyrell dove to her right to stop a shot by York’s Marilyn Grammenopoulos, and then Lidia Bradau scored for Queen’s to end the ordeal.
For Bradau, a rookie midfielder from Woodbridge, Ont., it was her first goal of the season.
Regiopolis Notre Dame grad Brittany Almeida of Queen’s had the game’s first good scoring chance, a shot that hit the inside of a goal post but bounced away in the game’s 33rd minute. It wasn’t until 17 minutes had been played in the second half that a goal was finally scored, as a high cross by Jessie de Boer carried into the far corner of the net from outside the box to give Queen’s a 1-0 lead.
It was de Boer’s ninth goal of the year, her first of the playoffs.
After a splendid save by Tyrell on Nour Ghoneim—who led the nation with 18 goals this year, five more than anybody else in Canada—preserved the Gaels’ lead, Colleen Beesley, who had just come off the bench, put the rebound of another Ghoneim shot into the goal to tie the game for York, with less than 10 minutes left in regulation time.
For Beesley, it was her 11th goal of the season.
The Lions, who entered the game as the second-ranked team in Canada, controlled the play during most of the overtime, with the best scoring opportunity coming from York’s Sydney Hoareau, a five-goal scorer with two game-winners in the regular year, who hit the crossbar with a shot in the 13th minute of extra time.
Grant, who made a diving save to her right to send the game to penalty kicks, made six saves, the most she’s been required to make in a game all year. Tyrell made 12 saves, a number of them difficult ones, in regulation time, plus two in the shootout.