This past Saturday afternoon, the Brock Badgers women’s soccer team defeated the McMaster Marauders to improve to 2-2-2 on the season.
The Homecoming crowd was tense as they watched a sound and tight first half. Both teams shut down the other’s attacks.
There weren’t many scoring chances nor any signs that pointed to either team breaking through until the 51st minute. After a regular foul from about 35 yards away on the fight flank, Alex Crawford and her two teammates lined up behind the ball, as is customary in free kick deception.
As Crawford watched both of her teammates run over the ball and cause early jumps from the wall. Then she walked up to the ball and sent a knuckler into the top corner that left the Marauders’ goalkeeper frozen in place, a kick that can only be described as classy.
This was not expected from the Badgers as their set pieces have not been up to standard this year. Crawford acknowledged this fact as she was stepping up to the ball.
“It wasn’t working too well, so my thought was ‘might as well just go for it.’ I told the two girls beside me that I was going to go for it, and my mind was just, ‘hit the net, hit the net.’ I did and I was really happy,” said Crawford.
This moment of magic from Crawford awoke a crowd that was ready to roar and the pace of the game picked up as a result. Just a couple of minutes later, a cross in from Brooke Boekestyn, who had a spectacular day wreaking havoc down the right wing, caused a mad dash at the top of the six-yard box, before a Badger attack sent it just over the crossbar with an open net.
After a solid run of aggressive attacks and with time dwindling down, there was a clear shift from an offensive to a defensive mindset. The Badgers kept almost all 11 behind the ball and effectively parked the bus for the last 10-15 minutes of the game.
This tactical change worked wonders for the Badgers as they stifled any attacks from McMaster and only left feeble shots for goalkeeper Marilena Spagnolo to clean up at the back. Spagnolo was brilliant on the day, saving nine shots and picking up her second clean sheet of the campaign so far. She also has allowed just one goal in the last three games.
Trethowan was very excited when speaking about the team’s performance this past Saturday.
“The key to success today was our discipline. In recent weeks, we lost our discipline at times, but today we just grabbed it for 90 minutes. Massive clean sheet, Mac is a very strong team, but I think we dealt with them well enough.”
The Badgers now sit one point clear of McMaster for the last playoff spot, but the Marauders do have one game in hand. Brock travelled to York on Sunday, but dropped a 2-1 decision, giving York their first win of the season. However, on Saturday against McMaster, Brock certainly appeared to be a changed team.
Brock returns home on September 23 and 24 as host to Western and Windsor.