t has become routine, almost inevitable. She slips through defenders like a spectre, haunting the opposing 18-yard-box with her presence. Concordia ties the game up at 1-1 with just 15 minutes to play, but you know that time isn’t an issue. Sure enough, there she is: Audrey-Ann Coughlan, sophomore striker, handling a perfect pass from senior forward Rebecca Green and firing the game-winner into the net at the 85th minute. It’s her second goal of the game.
“She’s a clutch player,” Head Coach Jose-Luis Valdes said of Coughlan. “From the start of this season, she’s been on fire; and right now […] we know we can count on her to change the game at any point.”
The late goal gave McGill (6-2-2) a thrilling 2-1 victory over Concordia (3-6-1) on Friday night, running the Martlets’ undefeated streak to four straight contests. Sitting at 3-2-1 in late September, it looked as if the Martlets were headed towards another underwhelming season. Since then, however, the team has hit its stride, going 3-0-1 since its last loss. This squad is firing on all cylinders, and it’s out to prove that it belongs with Laval (8-0-0) and Sherbrooke (7-1-2) at the top of the RSEQ.
“We have a sense of urgency,” Valdes said. “When we need to get something done, we make it happen. Last year we would’ve finished this game with a tie, or maybe even a loss. This year we’ve shown that when things are close, we hold on. The girls are strong mentally. They train hard throughout every practice, and it shows.”
Coughlan’s first strike came on a corner kick in the 33rd minute. The arcing shot curved over the heads of the players bunched in front of the net and collided directly into Stingers goalie Maria Kaperonis. The crowd barely had time to let out a sigh of disappointment before they realized that the ball had bounced out of Kaperonis’ hands and was rolling past the goal line.
McGill dominated possession of the ball for the entirety of the game, mounting attack after attack in the Stingers’ territory. Concordia’s only real threats came on corners and free kicks, and all were turned away by junior goalie Sarah Dubois, whose record improves to a perfect 4-0 when she starts over veteran keeper Cassandra Fafalios.
Valdes attributed the team’s superb defensive effort to the return of captain Zoe Fasoulakis, who had missed several games due to a concussion.
“[It was] great to have that maturity in the [backfield],” Valdes said of Fasoulakis. “The girls always refer to her to get information, and she always has an answer. The experience shows on the field. It’s calm in the back, there’s no risk, [and] there’s never really a feeling that we’re in trouble. She keeps things under control.”
The Martlets stretched their undefeated streak to five games on Sunday with a 1-1 draw against second-place Sherbrooke. With a playoff spot all but secured, they will get a chance to make up ground next week in the race for home-field advantage against weaker competition in UQÀM (3-6-1) and Bishop’s (0-8-2).
“[Daphnée’s] been out for three weeks now. [She] had a great start to her season, probably her best season in four years, so it’s unfortunate.” –Coach Valdes on the lingering concussion that has kept veteran forward Daphnée Morency-Roussin out of the lineup.
Play of the game
Coughlan’s game-winner in the 85th minute sealed the deal for the Martlets.
Stat of the game
With her second multi-game effort of the season, Coughlan now accounts for 10 of the 18 goals the Martlets have scored all year.