Matt Johnson, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – The Mount Royal Cougars women's soccer team controlled the proceedings right from the opening whistle as they defeated the Saskatchewan Huskies 3-0, on Sunday, Sept. 23, at Griffiths Stadium in Nutrien Park.
"We didn't get the result we wanted and now we just have to regroup and focus on the next game. We've done a lot of good things this season and today just wasn't one of our best days," said Huskie head coach Jerson Barandica-Hamilton. "The key for us is what we learn from this game and how we move forward."
Janai Martens, Julien Ramirez and Natalie De Marco marked the goals for Mount Royal in the win.
Huskies goalkeeper Jaden Steinhauer was strong, despite the loss, as she recorded six saves. For the Cougars, Rose Hermans picked up the cleansheet, registering eight stops.
The win is the second of the weekend for the Cougars after they defeated Regina on Sept. 22, which moves the club to 4-2-0 on the season. While the loss for Saskatchewan capped an unsuccessful home stand where they failed to pick up a point, despite a well-fought effort against Alberta on Sept. 22.
After a slow start to the match, Mount Royal's Erin Holt had the first real scoring chance in the 15th minute as the fourth-year forward broke in on net but was shut down by Steinhauer.
In the 25th minute, the Cougars got on the board as a Martens crack from outside the box deflected off a body in front and found the open net.
The Huskies were looking for a response in the 30th minute when Taniel Gay spotted Jacqueline Altrogge making a run down the left side of the pitch, Altrogge's well-designed cross found the foot of Haley Mercier whose well-struck look on net f was stopped by Hemans.
Just minutes into the first half, a great ball Cassidy Hayward sprung second-half substitute, Megan Ripplinger alone on net, but Hemans robbed the second-year midfielder who was looking for her first goal of the 2018 Canada West campaign. The ball rebounded back to fellow substitute McKenna Olson, however, the Saskatoon native narrowly missed the net.
Unfortunately for Saskatchewan, play was quick to go back the other way when De Marco broke in on net. Her shot was stopped by Steinhauer, however the ball rebounded back to Ramirez who looped the ball over top of the Huskies goalkeeper, scoring her second goal of the year, and second of the game for the Cougars.
Mount Royal kept the pressure coming as De Marco made no mistake on a beautiful right-footed curling crack from outside the area which got past Steinhauer and sealed the victory for the Cougars as it made the score 3-0.
The win sealed an extremely successful road trip for Mount Royal, who came away with all six possible points.
"We were pleased, it's a long bus ride for us and this weekend is always tough so it's great to get six points," Cougars head coach Tino Fusco said. "We were happy there was no snow, we wanted to move the ball and felt like we did that today. It was a good performance for us moving forward."
The Huskies will take their team on the road next weekend, as they will battle the Calgary Dinos and Lethbridge Pronghorns on Sept 29. and Sept 30. Meanwhile, Mount Royal will play host to two Prairie Division foes in Calgary, as they'll look to continue to build upon their positive momentum.
"We didn't play to our potential today, I thought we were half a second late in pressuring tackles. We started well but an unfortunate goal set us back and we seemed a little bit young today, we were timid and half a second late, when you do that against a team that's physical and direct like Mount Royal you get exposed," Barandica-Hamilton said.