A week after their home opener defeat to Laval, the Martlets took to the pitch in hopes of earning their first points of the 2021-2022 season. While they hoped for a win, the Martlets came home with a singular point following a 0-0 draw to UQAM. Similar to the game versus Laval, McGill played well in the first half but lost their shape and patience as the game wore on. UQAM was able to slow down McGill’s build-up and the game entered halftime at a stalemate that neither team seemed ready to break. In the second half, the Martlets came out energized, playing long balls and pressing high. Despite several high-quality chances in front of goal, the Martlets were unfortunately not able to capitalize.
“We deserved a better fate,” head coach Jose-Luis Valdes said in an interview with McGill Athletics. “We didn’t necessarily have a lot of possession and turned the ball over too much, but we didn’t allow them too many scoring opportunities in the first half. After the intermission, we decided to press and that gave us a little more confidence, which resulted in our side getting the ball higher up-field and created more chances to score.”
According to spectator Shaz Kassimali, U4 Science, McGill’s press on offence added an energy in the second half that was noticeable from the stands.
“The girls’ effort was relentless, they pushed through till the end, and their resilience is inspiring and admirable,” Kassimali said.
In addition to the team earning their first point of the season, first-year goalkeeper Brenna Bordeniuk earned her first McGill clean sheet. Bordeniuk delivered a commanding display in nets, making a key save from close range on UQAM forward Eve Levesque at the end of the first half. Second-year team captain Olivia Mazzarello also spearheaded a talented backline, helping Bordeniuk with added protection.
“I think we were able to create some more goal-scoring chances,” Mazzarello wrote in a message to The McGill Tribune. “We’re going to continue looking to improve our creativity up top and working on our collective play all around.”
The game was the first of a doubleheader with the men’s team, yet the stands only started to fill toward the end of the Martlets’ game. The men’s team went on to win behind two incredible penalty saves, which are proven to be influenced by crowd noise.
“The energy in the stands was impeccable and really affected the outcome of the game,” said Safa Khalifa, U1 Arts, who attended the men’s game. “Everyone was standing and cheering for even the smallest things, saves, steals, good passes [….] I think it really encouraged the guys on the team to keep doing what they do. The crowd’s passion really motivated the team to score that game-winning goal.”
The Martlets began a series of away fixtures with a 3-0 win on Sunday, Sept. 19 versus Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). In a little under two weeks, on Oct. 1, the Martlets will return home to face rival Concordia under the Molson Stadium lights at 6 p.m. A packed crowd certainly would help spur our Martlets on to their first home win of the season.
Moment of the Game
In the 58th minute, first-year forward Annika Schmunk forced a top-drawer save from UQAM’s Andreanne Dubeau to keep the game at 0-0.
The Martlets went into this fixture having lost their last three contests against UQAM, dating back to 2019.
“It feels great and it’s motivating because we are expecting to get a lot more wins and [to] just keep getting better as a team,” said first-year defender Stephanie Hill regarding their first point of the season.