Before meeting the Université de Montréal (UdeM) Carabins at Molson Stadium on Friday, Sept. 15, the McGill Martlets soccer team hoped to continue their momentum from a 4-1 win over Sherbrooke on Sept. 8. The fiercely fought contest ended goalless, with neither side able to get the better of the other, and pushed the Martlets’ record to 1-1-1 on the season.
The close proximity of McGill and UdeM has facilitated a rivalry between the two teams. Martlets coach Jose-Luis Valdes spoke after the game about the unique threat the Carabins pose.
“It’s a very physical battle against Montreal,” Valdes said. “They play a lot of long balls. We needed to win our 50-50s and I think we did very well about winning those battles. They didn’t push us around too much, and when they did the referee did a good job about calling fouls.”
From the moment the first whistle blew, it was clear that the two sides were evenly balanced and that it would take something special for the Martlets to win on their home turf. In the first half, clear-cut opportunities on goal were few and far between. UdeM had the first sight on goal when a free kick in the early minutes forced McGill goalkeeper and fifth year chemical engineering major Sarah Dubois into a dive to defend her near post.
McGill’s most threatening moment came in the 15th minute when some good teamwork on the left flank freed up forward Claudia Agozzino, who dribbled past a few defenders before laying the ball off for defender Nathalie Brunelle. Brunelle’s shot sent the opposing keeper scrambling but sailed just over the bar.
As the game wound down, both sides had last-ditch opportunities to break the tie but couldn’t convert them into points. A clearance from a Carabins defender fell to the feet of Martlet captain and fifth year nursing student Lisa Perrett in the 88th minute, but her well-timed effort flew just over. At the other end, a scramble for the ball in the McGill box caused the ball to break free for a Carabins attacker. Her shot smacked the crossbar in what was the closest chance of the game.
Valdes believed that the scoreboard was representative of the way both teams played.
“A draw was probably a fair reflection of the game, but we always want to win at home,” Valdes said.
However, Martlet forward Tia Lore was pleased by their efforts.
“I thought we played really well today, it was a tougher game but I think we came out on top and mentally we were in it to win it,” Lore said.
The Martlets currently sit in the middle of a competitive RSEQ division and are set to hit the road for a matchup against the Laval Rouge et Or on Sept. 17. Students can catch the Martlets in action in their next home game vs UQAM on Thursday, Sept. 21st at Molson Stadium.
Moment of the game
Lore was played in behind the defence and found herself one-on-one with the goalkeeper, only for the offside flag to be raised. The third-year sociology student explained her frustration with the call.
“I was really upset, I’m not sure if I was offside,” Lore said.
“With the ball we need to be better. We’ve got the qualities, but today we didn’t show as much. The few times we did move the ball properly, we were in dangerous areas and positions, and we came close and threatened a few times.” – Head Coach Jose-Luis Valdes.
Dubois saved eight attempts, contributing to a shutout effort from the McGill defence.