X-women bat­tle to tie in game against Dal

The Casket - - Sports - SAM MAC­DON­ALD sam­mac­don­ald@the­cas­ket.ca

Satur­day, Oct. 13 was a com­pet­i­tive day for the St. F.X. X-women Soc­cer Team, re­sult­ing in a 1-1 tie game against the Dal­housie Tigers.

Coach Gra­ham Kennedy said the tie was the re­sult of two very good teams bat­tling for con­trol of the ball, and very ag­gres­sive of­fen­sive plays against an ex­cep­tion­ally strong de­fense, but he be­lieves St. F.X. de­served a win.

"If we had fin­ished up one of our many chances to score, and maybe cleaned up our act in the 18-yard box, it was a game we could have won. Over­all, we had a re­ally strong team ef­fort. It was a com­plete game for us, with the ex­cep­tion of one clear­ance in the 18-yard box."

It was a par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing game for the X-women, Kennedy noted, given that they were shoot­ing against one of the best goal­keep­ers in the league, Kate Fines.

"She’s ag­gres­sive, and comes off her line a lot. She con­trols the 18-yard box and gets out to col­lect balls," Kennedy said. "She moves in a hurry, and is an as­sertive, hard goalie to play."

St. F.X. ended up locked in a tie with Dal around the 73rd minute, let­ting in a cor­ner kick.

"It was dis­ap­point­ing, but we failed to clear the ball and paid for it," Kennedy said. "Some­times, in a woman’s soc­cer game, one goal is the dif­fer­ence. If you get one goal, you have a chance to win the game."

Kennedy stressed the im­por­tance of clos­ing out games, say­ing, "the goal is scor­ing. But that’s some­thing that is hard to fix. That can some­times take years to fix. I think there’s a cou­ple of ar­eas we can fo­cus on – one is set plays."

Although Kennedy doesn’t fo­cus on co­or­di­nat­ing set plays early in the sea­son with the Xwomen, he said the fo­cus of his coach­ing will move to­ward set plays as the play­offs draw nearer.

Think­ing back to how Satur­day’s game played out, Kennedy cred­ited for­ward Kelsey El­lis, a lead­ing scorer this sea­son, for St. F.X.’S sin­gle goal. It was the first in the game, and one that es­tab­lished a lead over Dal by the 38th minute.

"[Kelsey El­lis] is the sec­ond lead­ing scorer in the league, on seven goals now, and three as­sists for 10 points. She gets a lot of shots," Kennedy said. "She, her­self, would like to see a few more shots go in, but she has had an ex­tra­or­di­nary sea­son over­all."

Kennedy also cred­ited mid­fielder Mercy Myles for her skills in tran­si­tion­ing St. F.X. to "an at­tack" from a de­fen­sive play, some­thing that kept the game con­tested and close.

"Mercy is a can­di­date for league MVP. She’s a fan­tas­tic mid­field player who can help us tran­si­tion from de­fense very quickly. She’s also im­proved her abil­ity to win back the ball for us," Kennedy said. "She’s ex­cep­tional in both direc­tions, and be­cause of that she sees a lot of the ball. She earns her­self a lot of the op­por­tu­ni­ties." On Satur­day’s game, for­ward Chloe Bren­nan was moved to left full back po­si­tion, where she was "an of­fen­sive threat from deep, both through pass­ing, for­ward runs and driv­ing for­ward with the ball," Kennedy said. "She had an out­stand­ing game."

Kennedy also cred­ited Amy Rowe for her at cen­ter de­fense – an ef­fort that kept the ball out of St. F.X.’S net for the rest of the match.

Sam Mac­don­ald

Mid­fielder Mercy Myles passes the ball dur­ing a match against Dal­housie, Oct. 13.

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