The Dalhousie University Tigers soccer teams kicked off their home season this weekend at Wickwire Field.
On Saturday, both teams faced off against the Cape Breton University Capers in windy conditions.
The women’s team fell 2-0 to a dominant CBU squad that came into the 2019/2020 season as Atlantic University Sport (AUS) defending champions and the second ranked team in the country.
“It was a good test for us,” said Tigers head coach Cindy Tye.
A goal in each half from Capers’ Alliyah Rowe, one from a curling corner kick that she converted into a header, and another tapped from close range, proved too much for the Tigers to handle.
“I think we were slow out of the gate today,” said Tye after the game. “Second half was better for us for sure, but a lot of lessons learned today.”
Despite the score, Dalhousie put together some dangerous attacking plays, especially in the last third of the match.
Dalhousie’s Morgan Leon was the player central to many of these attacks. She was named Dalhousie’s player of the game.
“She’s always looking to get on the ball. She’s been a bright spot for us for sure,” said Tye.
After Saturday’s loss, the Tigers seemed unsure of themselves when they played the St. Francis-Xavier University X-Women the next day. The visitors took the lead early in the game with a shot from Mercy Myles that hit the crossbar and bounced back into the net.
Settling down in the second half, the Tigers were able to get their offence clicking and after several chances, Rachelle Lalande headed one home after connecting with a corner kick.
A late goal by StFX, however, would prove to be the game winner as they took this one 2-1 and remain undefeated in the regular season so far.
Dal, meanwhile, now has a record of 1-2-0 and fell to seventh place in the AUS conference.
On the men’s side, the Tigers also faced some tough competition: on Saturday, they played the Capers, the number one ranked team in the country, and battled out a 0-0 tie.
A rough opening half saw chances for both sides. Perhaps the most threatening was for Dalhousie as Jacob Bolton’s one-on-one with the Capers goalkeeper ended with a deflected shot before play was stopped for a foul.
Capers captain and former Halifax Wanderers defender, Peter Schaale, controlled his team’s defence but couldn’t capitalize on a late chance inside Dalhousie’s box and the game ended in a draw.
Playing against the StFX X-Men the next day, an early foul cost the Tigers the game. On a penalty kick, Dan Hayfield sent a low ball into the corner of the net to put the X-Men on the scoreboard.
StFX dominated play for most of the game, keeping the Tigers hemmed in their own end. Dal mustered up a couple of chances but fell 1-0 in the game. One bright spot, however, was their defensive line: along with goalkeeper Ben Grondin, fourth year Jeffrey Arkin and first year Callum Legge made their presence known, clearing away most crosses and shots from danger.
The Tigers now have a record of 1-1-1 and sit in sixth place in the AUS.
Both Dal teams are back on the road for their next games when they play Acadia University on Sept. 20 and Saint Mary’s University on Sept. 22.