WINNIPEG — After a scoreless first half, the Manitoba Bisons women's soccer team (3-3-1) found the net three times in the second as they cruised to a 3-0 victory over the Mount Royal (2-5-0) on October 1, 2016 at the U of M Turf Fields West Field. Bison captain Amanda Wong's game winning goal in the 54' minute gave Manitoba all the confidence they needed to carry on to victory as they scored twice more late in the second half to secure their third win of the season.
"We started really well and created many chances in the first half. The only problem we had is that we didn't put it in," said Bisons head coach Vanessa Martinez Lagunas.
"Second half we finally found the back of that net. I think the first goal was crucial, an early goal that gave us the confidence and time we needed and then the girls just started playing their game."
Wong's goal came off a great pass from Selena Speranza, who was a driving force for Manitoba's attack throughout the match. Manitoba's other goals came from Camille Plett at 78' and Sara MacLennan at 83'. Maddie Wilford was outstanding in net for Manitoba, and did everything needed to keep a clean sheet on the day.
Both teams came out aggressively to start the game. Manitoba's offence started rolling early as a shot from Alanna Shaw hit Mount Royal's goaltender Cailyn Leeson rebounded straight to Speranza, but Speranza's shot would drift just wide. It was an early example of how effective Speranza would be against the Cougars defence, either delivering or receiving good stretch passes through the Mount Royal's back line.
At the other end of the field, the Bison defenders did a good job disrupting the Cougar attack. Wilford was forced to make a number of clutch saves off of free kicks and corners, but was up to the task and backed up by smart play from her defenders.
Good countering by both teams was the dominant theme of the day. Mount Royal nearly took the lead midway through the first half on a quick counter off a Manitoba turnover, but Erin Holt's kick from 30 yards out drifted just wide. The intensity steadily increased in the final 15 minutes of the first half as both teams pushed hard to take a lead into the break. Manitoba closest chance in the first came around the 30', as Bruna Mavignier and Speranza connected on a brilliant give-and-go opportunity right in front of the Cougar net, but Leeson was positioned well to snuffed out the threat. Mavignier would get another touch on the ball in the box in added time, but could not get a solid shot off as the game remained scoreless after at the half.
"At the half I just told them to be patient — that was it — because we were creating the chances and playing really well," said Martinez Lagunas.
After a hard fought first half, it was all Manitoba in the second. Wong's goal early in the second half certainly lifted the confidence for the home side as Manitoba continued to press and dictate the pace of play. Defensively, Manitoba kept the Mount Royal attack to the sidelines and Wilford continued to shut down any threats in front of the net. Mount Royal tried to pick up the tempo in the final 15 minutes, but it was all Manitoba as Camille Plett notched the insurance goal at 78' after a wild scramble in front of the Cougar net. Sara MacLennan's rainbow shot from way out found the perfect bounce just over Leeson to cap of the game's scoring in the 83'.
Martinez Lagunas was happy her team picked up the important win, but made sure to emphasize that the weekend was far from over.
"i told them enjoy the win right now," said Martinez Lagunas, "but the preparation for the next game starts right now."
The Bisons return to action Sunday, October 2 as they host the MacEwan Griffins. Kick-off is scheduled for 4pm CST.