Get ball, pass, shoot, score-- the most important aspects of many sports and ones the Dinos women's soccer team are figuring out just in time for a push towards the playoffs. On a windy weekend in Calgary, the Dinos scored plenty of goals, but lost their first game to the Trinity Western University Spartans 4-2 and won the second game 1-0 against the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades. The win puts the Dinos into the sixth and last playoff spot with only four games remaining.
A late second half surge by TWU deflated Calgary in the first game.
The teams traded goals in the first half with Calgary getting early goals by Katie McKilligan and Tessa Miller. Miller's third goal of the season and third in three games bounced off the TWU post before squeaking by the netminder. Her efforts were good enough to get her a Dinos female athlete of the week nod.
In the second half, the crowd witnessed superb offensive chances by both teams, which ultimately saw TWU put away two goals to take the game. In the 59th minute, Alexi Foster blew a shot behind Dinos goalkeeper Courtney Heffernan. Thirty minutes later, Nikki Wright dove through the air and headed the ball into the net to put the game away for good.
The Dinos defence was caught napping on the Foster goal as they believed her to be offside. Foster capitalized on the mistake for the game-winning goal.
The Dinos did not give up in the second half as they produced numerous chances to score. They were thwarted by excellent goalkeeping and perhaps a little bad luck.
The second game of the weekend was a defensive battle from start to finish as extremely windy conditions hampered passing. The Dinos managed to produce five shots on net with UFV only mustering two.
"The wind was the same for both teams," said Fraser Valley head coach Colin Miller. "It's never easy, you ask any coach, any conditions pertaining to wind make it very difficult to play. But it was not [the main] contributing factor for us."
The Dinos came out of the gate flying and grabbed the crucial early lead in the game. Lindsay Burrowes' corner kick bounced off a UFV defender and past the bewildered netminder. UFV was barely able to mount any offensive charge throughout the game and were lethargic on the pitch.
"I think it was a combination of their back four playing well and our front players not getting forward quickly enough," Miller said about his team's lack of offence.
Despite the wind and the defensive play, it was an entertaining battle. The crowd enjoyed excellent skirmishes for the ball, wild headers off goal kicks and a full effort by both teams.
"I didn't think we deserved to get beat, I didn't think we deserved to win, a draw would have been a fair result," said Miller.
The next Dinos game is Oct. 18 against the University of Manitoba Bisons at the Calgary West Varsity soccer pitch. The final four games will be crucial to the Dinos as they contend for a playoff spot.