Thunder Women’s Soccer Finish Sixth at NationalsPosted on: Nov 16, 2015
After a three year absence, the Concordia Thunder Women’s Soccer team returned to the national soccer scene this past week and placed a respectable sixth overall. The four-day Canadian Championship was hosted by Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario.
In the opening match of the tournament, Concordia lost to the PACWEST champions, Douglas Royals by a score of 6-0. Concordia conceded two quick goals before settling into their game. Unfortunately, after the 25 minute mark, Thunder Keeper Selina Verkland drew the tournament’s first red card and controversy as well, as she slid to deflect a 50/50 ball outside her 18 yard area with her upper torso and was called for a handball. Eliminated from the game, Concordia was forced to play short for the duration of the match. Regardless, they needed a victory for any chance of getting to the gold medal final, so they played more offensive in style. However, this made the Thunder more susceptible to counter attacks and the 6-Nil final score reflected that.
In the second match on day two, the Thunder ladies erased a two-goal second-half deficit at the hands of MSVU Mystics and roared back with three goals for the win. Ahlam Abubaker scored in the 66th minute and Jill Sander scored twice: 75th minute and the game-winner in the last minute of the match. Concordia Keeper Kathleen Lang – who replaced Verkland in the opening match – made some timely saves to secure the victory.
Game three match: Concordia versus Ahuntsic of Quebec. At stake for the winner was a spot in the Bronze Medal game. Trailing by a score of 2-Nil by the 59 minute mark, the Thunder ladies once again showed their ‘never give up’ attitude and scored in the 77th minute off the foot of Jaida Stasiuk. Unfortunately their comeback fell short and the Thunder lost 2-1. Selina Verkland returned in goal for Concordia and was named Player of the Game.
Concordia played its last match of the championship against Algonquin in what seemed like a ‘M.A.S.H.’ unit for the Thunder roster. Playing four games in four days is not a recipe for restoration and recovery and it was evident on the Thunder as their warm-up looked painful. Thunder Midfielder Laura D’Andrea scored a ‘Messi’ type free kick goal at the 29-minute mark to take a 1-0 lead into the half. The stresses of the tournament came to the fore in the second half as Concordia appeared to run out of gas and conceded four goals for the loss and finished in sixth place overall.
"Players need to learn how to win," said Coach Imbrogno at the conclusion of the season. "Our girls competed throughout the tournament and regardless of the score they were in every game. This week in Peterborough, last week in Grande Prairie and throughout this season, there has been a lot of growth opportunities that we will carry forward with us and continue to build the program."