Brock University Women’s soccer team fell to the Windsor Lancers on Saturday by a margin of 3-1 in front of a disappointed but lively crowd at Alumni Field.
During a first half in which both teams looked sloppy with many loose turnovers and little regard for possession, the Lancers were the only team to capitalize on these lapses, converting a routine long ball over the top into the first goal of the game.
With enthusiasm stemming from a fiery halftime speech by first-year coach Kevin Trethowan, the Badgers came out strong to start the second half. This climaxed as Samantha Bayer displayed masterful ball control skills in the box drawing a wild challenge leading to a penalty put away by Kinley Wilson.
The deceptive shot by Wilson was so lethal that it managed to cause the Lancers goalkeeper, Kristina Brooks’ knee to buckle, resulting in a lengthy injury stoppage. This delay destroyed all momentum the Badgers had generated, and left them looking flat coming out of the restart.
The constant pressure by Windsor finally resulted in a goal off a corner kick, complete with poor marking and an open header. This would be the game-winning goal as the Badgers would be unable to replicate their comebacks seen in the two earlier draws this season.
The Badgers had rallied late in the opening game of the season against Laurier to respond with two goals in the last 12 minutes, dramatically levelling the game and salvaging a point at home. In their second game against Waterloo, the Badgers relied on a free kick in the second half to again save a point. In all games this year, a common theme has emerged of not starting the game strong enough and turning the proverbial switch on and off.
When asked about what led to the loss, Trethowan immediately responded with, “Everything on ourselves. The first 15 minutes of the second half we were strong and ultimately rewarded with a goal. Unfortunately, we switched off after. You can’t turn up for 15 minutes and expect to get a result.” Pressed for changes to turn things around next week, he referenced “Work rate…we want to condense the field and force them to play the long ball over the top, but the back four has to be able to identify those triggers and sweep in behind.”
“In terms of tactics, we’re going to come out and play the same. Obviously, this is my first year here and this is a process, but we’re definitely turning a corner.” Coach Kevin’s heart seems to be in the right place in his belief in his back four’s ability to hold down a high line, using mental lapses as an excuse, but eventually something will have to give.
The players have been asked by Trethowan to complete a self-reflection of their performance and highlight their own mistakes and deficiencies. If the Badgers cannot either prove their defensive prowess or blow teams away with their improved offensive efficiency, results against the elite teams in the conference will be hard to come by.
This defeat now leaves Brock winless in three games (0-1-2) and in desperate need of a win as they move onto a weekend where they travel to the top two teams in the conference. Guelph (September 8) and Western (September 10) are the only teams to have won a game before September 2.
Trethowan has maintained the objective is to still makes the playoffs and compete for a championship but the reality is that lackluster results in the early-going has already made this upcoming weekend crucial in the playoff pursuit, possibly even make or break.
-John Gobin, Assistant Sports & Health Editor