Aaron Walsh- The Brock Press
At the halfway point of the season, John Durish’s side needs to start to pick up three points to have any sight of getting into the playoffs. After last weeks disappointing loss to the Guelph Gryphons, the ladies could not have asked for better occasion to get the lift they need in front of a large Homecoming crowd.
The heavens poured throughout the morning and would not stop before kickoff. With such heavy downpour, the playing surface became slippery for the ball. It was vital for the Badgers to take care with possession and play it into feet as much as possible.
The Badgers lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, indicating an attacking mentality, the only change to the starting 11 was in-between the posts as Jenna Vasiliaskas (Burlington, Ont.)rested and Alexa Jackman (Niagara Falls, Ont.) stepped up to play a very well organised Western Mustangs side. Kelly Miller (Brantford, Ont.) recovered from her injury from last week to partner Lindsay McDonald (Burlington, Ont.) up front.
With the first half underway the rain kept tumbling down, possession was scattered early as both sets of players struggled to control such a slippery ball. The Badgers pressed quickly from the front line that forced the Mustangs to play loose passes to no one.
The first chance fell to the Badgers around the 15th minute mark. A free kick just inside the Mustangs half was taken by right-back Alex Crawford (Markham, Ont.). The ball curled in from the right at pace, leading to a scrap in the box and the Mustangs failed to clear the ball.
Centre-back Nadia Bathish (Keswick, Ont) powered her way through several Mustang players inside the 18-yard box with the ball, allowing McDonald time and space to bury the first goal in from five yards out. Confidence was high and with more of Isaac’s army marching into the vicinity, it was only getting better for the Badgers.
However, disaster struck when less than 10 minutes later the Mustangs levelled it. Pace was in abundance going forward for the Mustangs and a lot of their attacks came down the right flank and the Badgers failed to stop the cross from their left side. Anna Keller (Bayfield, Ont.) was able to lose her marker in the box and tuck the ball in the bottom left corner of Jackman’s net.
As the first half came to a close, McDonald had arguably the best chance of the entire game. With less than five minutes to go, a beautiful play from back to front cut open the Mustangs defensive line in the centre of the pitch. The ball was threaded into McDonald’s feet and played back to Alana Wong (Mississauga, Ont.). Wong found Miller bombing down the left flank and sprayed a lovely through ball into her path setting Miller up nicely to deliver the cross. Miller played a teasing cross along the Mustang’s six-yard box and into the path of McDonald who failed to connect cleanly with the ball putting it wide.
Despite conceding a soft goal by their defensive standards, the Badgers had the momentum going into the second half. The rain was relentless and the Badgers soccer seemed to suffer more for it. Both sides again failed to take care of the ball, but the pace of the Mustangs was starting to hurt the Badgers in possession.
With so much pressure, the Badgers defensive line broke. In the 86th minute, Brock’s defensive left side misjudged a ball from the midfield. The pass slid into the penalty box and forced Jackman to come out and commit to clear the loose ball.
Unfortunately she was beaten to it by the pace of the Mustang’s attacking midfield. Jackman was then able to force the ball wide but the defence would fail to clear the loose pass across goal. Lauren Winquist (London, Ont.) was then able to score the winning goal for Western shooting the ball into the bottom left corner dampening the Badgers Homecoming in the dying minutes.
The next home game for the Badgers will take place on Sept. 29 when York University travels to Brock. The game starts at 1:00 p.m. as the ladies look to rebound from this past weekend’s performance.