By CLAUDE SCILLEY
Queen’s Golden Gaels are coming home from the Canadian Interuniversity Sport women’s soccer championship tournament as the fifth-ranked team in the country.
The Gaels ended there after they defeated the Atlantic conference champion Cape Breton Capers 2-1 in the consolation final at Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver Saturday.
As was the case in all three of Queen’s games at the eight-team competition, the Gaels were tied at the end of regulation time and 30 scoreless minutes of overtime. This time, they won the shootout 4-2.
In a splendid end-of-year run, the Gaels, who began the year without a win from their first four games, lost just one of their last 15 contests. They lost just three times all year, and had a terrific four-game blitz through the Ontario University Athletics playoffs, winning four straight games, all on the road, all against teams that had finished ahead of them in the regular year.
The only blemish on the Gaels’ record since Sept. 26 was a first-round defeat at the national championship, a 2-1 loss to Sherbrooke Thursday that required six rounds of a shootout to decide.
That loss, however, relegated Queen’s to the consolation side of the draw.
“I was telling the girls that we had a run when we were in the finals three years in a row and we won two of those,” Gaels coach Dave McDowell said, in a CIS release, “but the year before (that) we lost in the final on penalties to Trinity Western.
“It was a good experience in terms of understanding, for our younger players, what we have to do to win at this level, how hard it is to get here and what you have to do when you get here.”
Chelsea Currie opened scoring for Cape Breton about 20 minutes into the game Saturday, and the Gaels trailed until the 87th minute, when Jessie de Boer, playing her final intercollegiate game in her hometown, had a weak shot misplayed by Capers goalkeeper Rachel Yerza roll slowly in the the Cape Breton goal.
All four Gaels who participated in the shootout scored: Tara Bartram, Brittany Almeida and de Boer had Queen’s leading 3-2 when Gaels keeper Madison Tyrell stopped Cape Breton’s fourth shooter, Becky Hanna. Lidia Bradau then scored for Queen’s, giving the Gaels the victory.
“They counter-attacked very well and very quickly and they were a handful, particularly in the first half, ” McDowell said. “Then, in the second half, we played well. We made a small change in the midfield and I think it settled us down.
“For us, it was just about generating chances. I'd rather not go to penalties for the third straight game, but they handled them very well so I'm proud of them. ”
British Columbia, the tournament host, defeated Trinity Western 3-0 in the gold medal match Sunday. Quebec champion Laval, which came to the tournament as the defending champion, won the bronze medal with a 2-1 win over Sherbrooke.