It was an important weekend for the Brock women’s soccer team. The Badgers had hit the skids recently as they found themselves in a 0-3-1 funk following an encouraging 2-0-1 start to the season, and the team was out for redemption.
The first opportunity to get back on track was a match this past Saturday against the Windsor Lancers. In spite of an effort that saw them outshoot the Lancers 16-9, the Badgers, once again, found themselves on the losing end by a 2-1 score. Kaylea Cunliffe was a major threat from the Windsor team, as she was credited with both Lancer goals. She opened the scoring and also netted the winning goal after Alysha Bonany had evened the game for the Badgers in the 71st minute.
A stiffer test awaited on Sunday, as the undefeated Western Mustangs rolled into town looking to take advantage of a slumping Badgers squad.
“We always have to come in firing because we know that Western is a very strong team,” said Badgers head coach Kevin Trethowan. “They are one of the best teams we’ve played in the league. It’s just a game when the girls come in and they know they’re always going to be up for a fight.”
Dating back to last season under Trethowan’s watch, the Badgers have had three results against the Mustangs — each of them ending in a 1-0 loss. The most recent edition of this rivalry started out quite evenly, with no dangerous opportunities presenting themselves in the first half.
“Every game we’ve been very much a defensive team, and today we managed to make sure we were defensive just that little bit stronger,” said Trethowan.
Things started to shift in the second half, as Western started applying the pressure that helped them to the 5-0-3 record they had entering the game. Though the scoreboard remained at 0-0.
“We rode our luck, a couple of times they hit the post, but I think it’s about time we got those lucky breaks,” said Trethowan.
What occurred after those breaks was far from luck. Following a Brock handball in their own box, the Mustangs were awarded a penalty kick against Brock goalkeeper Marilena Spagnolo.
“Marilena pulled off the big penalty save. That was huge for us,” said Trethowan. “You saw as soon as she saved it our energy went up and Western’s went down. It really gave us that big boost.”
With the help of Spagnolo, the Badgers were able to maintain the zero on Western’s side of the scoreboard. While they weren’t able to generate the offense required to a record a win, a 0-0 draw is still a positive in Trethowan’s eyes.
“We dominated the game against Windsor yesterday. We didn’t deserve to lose in my mind, so picking up this point today is massive for us,” Trethowan said.
It’s the mentality of a team with their eyes set on the playoffs, and in spite of a couple rough patches, that’s still the goal for this Badgers team.
“We’re in [eighth] place at the moment and we’ve definitely got some winnable games coming up,” Trethowan said. “And then when it comes to playoffs, you know, it’s one game for who turns up on the day, so anything can happen,” said Trethowan.
“Many teams are going to look at this result and just be a little bit shocked, but this makes up for the loss yesterday. This point could be critical at the end of the season.”
So it’s an 0-1-1 weekend for the Badgers after a couple of hard fought efforts, that Trethowan describes as “a frustrating Saturday but a successful Sunday.”
The Badgers will look to build towards more success in their next test at Guelph and York this coming weekend.