On Sept. 10, the McGill Women’s Soccer team lost 2–0 to Laval in a hotly contested match, as the eventual winning goal did not come until the 59th minute. Mireille Patry of Laval pounced on a rebound after a Laval free kick to give them the lead. Thirty minutes later, Audrey Genois put the game to bed with a composed finish past first-year goalkeeper Brenna Bordeniuk, cementing their victory with a –0 final score. McGill registered six shots compared to Laval’s 16, only one of which was on target, compared to Laval’s six. However one-sided these stats sound, they do not tell the full story of the match.
Before drawing any conclusions from the score, it is crucial to note that the Martlets went into Friday’s opener with a roster of 12 first-years, nine second-years, four third-years, and four fourth-years.
“For the first game of the season, with a squad composed primarily of rookies, the game went well,” first-year Bordeniuk said. “I think we became a bit scattered in the second half, but against tough opposition, I think we performed well.”
The quantitative stats show that Laval dominated, but the qualitative side of the game supports Bordeniuk’s points. In the first half, it was anyone’s game: McGill’s press in their 3-5-2 formation was effective in slowing down Laval’s buildup in their 3-4-3, as McGill’s formation gave them an extra player in midfield. This led to some chances, including McGill’s only shot on goal which came from first-year forward Zoe Gardiner. However, as time went on, the Martlets struggled to hold onto the ball and lost the very formation that had initially slowed Laval down.
“We performed well in the first half and forced Laval to play a style that they did not appear to be fond of,” McGill head coach Jose-Luis Valdes said in an interview with McGill Athletics. “We had two or three clear chances in the first half but couldn’t convert. But after Laval scored in the second half, we kind of pushed the play too much. We rushed the play, lost our [structure] and didn’t wait for them to come to us.”
This was the first time in over a year that the Martlets took to the pitch in front of a crowd. Bordeniuk noted how fans have an incredible way of influencing the game from the sideline.
“Fans always help the atmosphere for us down on the pitch. Whether that’s cheering for a good tackle or a nice play, it’s exhilarating to feel some momentum from the crowd. The more fans, the better,” Bordeniuk said in a message to //The Tribune//.
However, there was a noticeable gap in fan attendance in the women’s game compared to the men’s game immediately following. The student ticket was valid for both games, yet most people only showed up for the men’s match.
“It’s always hard to see people show up for the men’s game and not ours,” Katherine Chadwick, second-year midfielder, said in an interview with //The McGill Tribune//. “Considering how Canadian women have dominated athletics lately, it’s totally time for people to start getting excited for women’s games.”
Looking forward, the Martlets hope to secure their first win this Thursday versus UQAM. If they play as strong as they did in the first half against Laval, they have a real chance of taking home their first win of the season—especially if a strong fan section comes out to support them on September 16th at 6 p.m. at Molson Stadium.
Moment of the Game
In the 59th minute, Laval’s Mireille Patry was the first to a rebound from a dangerous free-kick and was rewarded with a tap-in that became the winning goal.
“Coming from last game, I think we need to work on staying more composed with the ball, rather than forcing plays that are not on. The defense was a brick wall, so keeping that up will be crucial to our performances this week.” — Brenna Bordeniuk, first-year keeper.
First-year keeper Brenna Bordeniuk made five saves in her home debut for the Martlets.