Playing the StFX X-Women to wrap up homecoming weekend at ‘the Wick’ on Sunday, Oct. 18, the Tigers Soccer women came away with a gigantic 2-1 win. The win upped their record to 4-4-2 on the season and kept their playoff hopes alive.
“It’s nice to see a lot kinda come our way,” said Tigers head coach Jack Hutchison. “We’ve had some tough losses, some tough breaks and today everybody knew what was on the line and it’s nice to get a bounce go our way for a change.”
The match did not start well for the Tigers as the X-Women stormed out of the gate. X-Women forward Kelsey Ellis ran onto a pretty through-ball in the box behind the Tigers back line and moving to her left used the outside of her right foot to chip it back across the grain into the bottom right corner. The goal came in just the 4th minute of the game and made it 1-0 X-Women.
The Tigers generated some quality scoring chances in the first half. In the 23rd minute Shea Jeffrey-Novak had the ball behind the X-Women back line but couldn’t beat Keeper Erin Visser who charged to make the save. In the 28th minute the Tigers were awarded a free-kick from 19-yards out lined up with the left post, Kristy McGregor-Bales sent her try over the bar.
In the 45th minute, mere moments before the halftime whistle, the Tigers got their first goal of the match. Jeffrey-Novak got the ball from a throw-in deep in X-Women territory and sent a high cross into the box, Visser called for it but the ball took a high bounce out of her reach and found the back of the net. The goal gave the Tigers momentum going into halftime and made it a 1-1 game.
Most of the second half was uneventful as the two teams struggled to generate offense. On the few occasions they did Visser and Tigers Keeper Katie Morgan were up to the task.
In the 83rd minute that all changed as Jeffrey-Novak fed a beautiful ball to Jensen Hudder on the left edge of the six-yard box, Hudder took advantage and chipped the ball over the sprawling Visser for a 2-1 Tigers lead.
The Tigers proceeded to wind out the clock to pick up the much needed victory.
“We started off slow but it’s good to win this game and we beat SMU as well,” said Jeffrey-Novak. “It picks our team up a lot.”
The win left the Tigers tied with UNB for the final playoff spot with 14 points, though the Tigers have played one more game. With three games remaining in the regular season the Tigers still have a shot at the playoffs but it won’t be easy as two of those games are against Cape Breton who boasts a 6-2-1 record.
“I think if [you can make] the playoffs from where we are, I think you’re going in on a super high,” said Hutchison. “It [would be] great for the girls … if we can be fortunate enough to keep this streak going and make the playoffs I don’t think you’re going to have anybody there very happy to play Dalhousie.”
The men’s soccer Tigers had an impressive 3-1 victory over the StFX X-Men at ‘the Wick’ on Sunday Oct. 18. The win gave the Tigers a 5-2-3 record and has them sitting in second place in the AUS.
“It feels great,” said Tigers head coach Pat Nearing about picking up the win. “It was excellent to see two guys score who hadn’t scored for us this year. We’re scoring goals and winning games without [Bezick Evraire] or [Zach Mbolekwa] scoring so that’s a good sign for us.”
The Tigers got off to a fast start as Zach Shaffelburg picked up his first goal of the year in only the 5th minute of the match. Evraire made a spectacular back heal pass just feet from the end-line to Freddy Bekkers in the box on the right side of the net, Bekkers hit a hard shot on goal that X-Men keeper Thomas Pieroway dove to save, the rebound sat in the left side of the 18-yard box and Shaffelburg got their first to demolish the ball into that back of the net. The goal made it 1-0 Tigers early on.
Only 13 minutes later in the 18th minute Shaffelburg was at it again. He found himself with the ball one on one with an X-Men defender, he made a nice move to his left and delivered a spectacular left foot blast to the top corner of the net for his second of the match and the season. The goal had the Tigers up 2-0.
“Playing a team like StFX is always tough,” said Shaffelburg. “Coming out with a solid win like that is great moving forward.”
In the 29th minute Mbolekwa worked the ball to Mark Hagen up the right sideline, Hagen sent in a cross that landed square on Bekkers in the box, who delivered his second goal of the season. The goal made the score 3-0 Tigers at halftime.
The second half saw the X-Men try desperately to rally but Tigers Keeper Jason Ross came up with a number of monstrous saves.
“It feels great first of all. It was the first time we beat X in a little while so it’s nice to have that,” said Ross. “It’s really satisfying … to be peaking at the right time.”
The X-Men were able to find the back of the net in the 85th minute when Natneal Tecle curved a well placed strike into the back of the net to make it 3-1.
The win moved the Tigers one step closer to their goal of one of the top two spots in the AUS heading into the playoffs. If they can secure one of the spots they will have a bye to the semifinal and only need to win one game to reach nationals.
“That’s really been our goal since day one,” said Ross referring to finishing in one of the top two spots in the AUS. “Now we’re another step closer to that.”