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(Noah Sutton / McGill Tribune)

Martlets gear up for playoff race

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The McGill Martlets (4-3-2) soccer team converted on a myriad of offensive opportunities in the second half to best the UQTR Patriotes (1-4-2) 2-0 at Molson Stadium Thursday evening.

The first half of the game was dominated by the Martlets as they continuously out-ran the UQTR defence to create scoring chances. Senior forward Rebecca Green led the offence in the first half, keeping constant pressure on the opposing team. She narrowly missed several chances created by fellow striker Meghan Bourque.

“We knew this was a game for us to win and we were all pleased with how we took control early on in the game,” Head Coach Jose-Luis Valdes said. “We created very good chances, but their keeper made the saves somehow to keep them in the game at the half.”

The Martlets came out even more determined in the second half, with Bourque, Green, and rookie forward Audrey-Ann Coughlan creating legitimate scoring chances. Bourque dominated the game offensively, creating multiple chances for both herself and her teammates.

“Meghan was determined and had an extra gear over everyone today,” Valdes said. “You could see she wanted to make a difference and players just feed off that attitude.”

UQTR cobbled together a rare offensive chance in the middle of the second half, but were turned away in front of the net by a tight Martlets defence led by junior Zoe Fasoulakis.

The Martlets quickly recovered, taking control of the game again soon after. Turning on her burners, Bourque sprinted down the left side of the field, blowing by several defenders and beating the UQTR goalkeeper before leaving the ball on a tee for Coughlan, who made no mistake finding the back of the net to put McGill ahead for good. The goal came with 15 minutes to spare and, despite their excellent play from the outset, the Martlets let out a collective sigh of relief.

“From that point on, you saw the weight come off our players’ shoulders and […] we did not force the play anymore,” Valdes explained.

Indeed, the Martlets appeared visibly looser, and were able to take advantage on their next scoring opportunity, with Hannah Kirby kicking home the insurance marker a few minutes after Coughlan’s go-ahead score. A goal by sophomore forward Taylor Anderson was disallowed due to an offsides call. Despite seeing limited action, sophomore goalkeeper Cassandra Fafalios stood tall in the Martlet net, making one save on the night. She was credited with her third shutout of the season, and continues to shine for McGill with consistently sharp play. The Martlets dominated the game in terms of possession, but as Valdes notes, possession is only consequential if scoring chances are created.

“[The team] still needs to work on pulling the trigger, as we sometimes just try to do things a little too pretty or tend to watch others and see what they will do,” Valdes explained following the Martlets’ Thursday night victory.

“We saw this in the first half and corrected it in the second. Hopefully versus Concordia we will play ninety minutes with the intention of making the difference in front of their goal.”

The Martlets were partially able to do live up to Valdes’ expectations as they drew 2-2 against the Concordia Stingers (2-3-3) on Sunday. Next weekend McGill hosts the RSEQ leading Laval Rouge et Or (7-1-0) on Friday night before travelling to Sherbrooke (5-2-0) on Sunday in hopes of gathering steam ahead of a post-season run.

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