Source: StFX Athletics
Antigonish, NS – The AUS sixth seeded UNB Varsity Reds are off to the semifinals after a thrilling 3-2 victory in penalty kicks over the Dalhousie Tigers.
V-Reds keeper Rebecca Duda (Halifax, NS) came up with a big save in the shootout to give them the edge as all the UNB made their marks.
The Varsity Reds had opening the scoring in the game in the very first minute of play as Jelisa Joncas (Burlington, ON) brought down a great long-ball pass by defender Emily Burton (Halifax, NS). Joncas had a great first touch then fired a strong shot past Dalhousie keeper Kate Fines (Halifax, NS).
Dalhousie responded with two well-played corner kicks by AUS second team all-star Rachelle Lalande (Halifax, NS). The first one was put out of play by the UNB keeper Duda, while the second corner kick just missed wide.
Tigers striker Jensen Hudder (White's Lake, NS) almost tied the game in the 16th minute of play, but her shot on net sailed just wide.
Midway through the half, Varsity Reds midfielder Jesse Ballamy (St. Catherine's, ON) had a long ball directed right at the Dalhousie net but the attempted header was scooped up by Fines.
Dalhousie got on the board in the 31st minute as Amanda Bowles (Burlington, ON) headed the ball past Duda off a Lalande corner kick.
The score remained deadlocked at 1-1 at halftime.
The teams exchanged scoring chances throughout the second half. Five minutes into the second frame Varsity Reds striker Abby Sullivan (Orleans, MA) had a good strike off a Sylvie Fecteau (Moncton, NB) corner kick, but the shot went just wide.
Haley Birrell (Hammonds Plains, NS) had a couple good scoring opportunities for the Tigers but could not find the back of the net.
UNB took a 2-1 lead in the game after they were awarded a penalty kick in the 65th minute. Dalhousie keeper Fines fouled Joncas next to the Tigers goal line and MJ Miller (Hammonds Plains, NS) took to the penalty spot for the UNB shot. After Fines made the initial save, Miller followed her own rebound and made no mistake burying into the back of the net.
The Varsity Reds were pressing for the winner as a Danika Lefebvre (Hanwell, NB) header went just over the Tigers cross bar after a nice corner kick by Cierra Thomas (London, ON) late in the game.
With the score still tied at two goals apiece, the 15 minute overtime periods ensued.
Maya Venkataraman (Summerland, BC) had an excellent scoring chance for Dalhousie in the first overtime period. Her shot from 25 yards out was tipped by Duda, hit the cross bar and just went out of bounds.
UNB second half substitute striker Amanda Kenny (Fredericton, NB) had a great chance for her squad as she broke in alone on Fines on a nice feed from Clarisse Ramirez (Ottawa, ON). Fines came out to challenge her and made the save, then with the ball open in front of the Tigers net, a defender cleared it out.
McKenna had a quick shot on goal for DAL in the overtime period as Duda had to be sharp on the save.
The Varsity Reds thought they had scored the go-ahead goal 23 minutes into overtime as Thomas booted a corner kick into the Tigers box which was then headed by two consecutive V-Reds players with the second header finding the back of the net. But the sideline official ruled the play offside and the goal was called off.
Venkataraman almost ended it for the Tigers at the end of overtime as she broke in alone on net but UNB defender Emily Burton (Halifax, NS) made a nice tackle and kicked the ball out of play.
With the score still 2-2 after overtime, the teams exchanged penalty shot goals until Duda came up big against the Tigers second PK shot. That save was the difference in the shootout and gave the Varsity Reds the win.
UNB defender Clarisse Ramirez received Subway player of the game honours for her squad while midfielder Paige Jamieson was the Tigers Subway player of the game.
The Varsity Reds will now meet the top seeded Cape Breton Capers at 4:00 pm on Friday in the first semifinal game. Acadia, who earlier in the day defeated StFX 2-0, will meet the No. 2 seeded Memorial Sea-Hawks in the other semifinal at 7:00 pm.