The Dalhousie women’s soccer team ended their regular season on an eight-game winning streak, blanking Mount Allison 2-0 on Oct. 27. But what began as a cheerful, victorious afternoon soon took a more sombre tone.
Five graduating Tigers played their last game at Wickwire Field. Cheering erupted as those players were recognized for their accomplishments. Among them was starting back Rieka Santilli. With flowers in hand, the captain says she is excited for what’s to come, but sad about leaving her teammates.
“A lot of people are throwing down the word ‘bittersweet’ and I’d have to agree with them,” she says. “This team’s great so it’s going to be hard to leave them.”
Stephanie Crewe, Beth O’Rielly, Emma Landry and keeper Taryn McKenna, who was named player of the game, are also set to graduate this year.
Although neither team scored in the first half, the Tigers dominated, outshooting the Mounties 8-3. With less than 18 minutes remaining, middle Lauren Landry scored an unassisted goal for Dal. Joanna Blodgett then added a tally in the final minute to close the deal.
Landry—no relation to the graduating Emma—was proud of the way her team played. She says losing veteran players will be difficult moving forward.
“There are a lot of real awesome players that have been there for four or five years and they make a big impact on the games,” she says. “They’re definitely going to be missed.”
The defending champs, however, still have this weekend to worry about before saying goodbye. The Tigers have a bye into the semi-finals Nov. 3 in the AUS championships in Cape Breton.
Dal head coach Jack Hutchison says in order to win, the women will have to play “football.”
“It’s about keeping the ball on the floor, knocking it around,” he says. “You’ve got to play some football and just have that confidence that you can do it.”
The Tigers finish their season with a 10-2-1 record. They placed second in the league, two points below the undefeated Cape Breton Capers.