It took extra time, but the McMaster Marauders stunned the Université de Montréal 1-0 Thursday afternoon at the U SPORTS Women's Soccer Championship. It was an own goal that ended the Carabins drive to repeat as national champions.
The first 45 minutes was quiet, with Montreal having the possession, but being unable to break through a solid McMaster defence. Emmanuelle Alcindor tried a shot from distance, but it was blazed wide.
Montreal began taking control of the game and seeing plenty of the ball in their attacking third. A couple of last-ditch tackles for Marauder defenders kept the game scoreless.
The Marauders looked comfortable inviting pressure on to themselves for the majority of the first half. In stoppage time, a long McMaster shot looked to be curling in, however, Carabins goalkeeper Claudia Dubé-Trempe, who hadn’t faced a shot yet during the game, made a diving stop.
The tides had distinctively turned in the second half. McMaster were much more aggressive offensively, all while maintaining their air-tight defence. Stephanie Roberts showed some nice individual skill by spinning and shooting from the top of the box, forcing Dubé-Trempe into a diving save.
Dubé-Trempe was called into action again in the 80th minute, when she made a nice save on a shot that found its way through a maze of legs.
The second half ended in frantic fashion, with Montreal hitting the crossbar off a long-range attempt. After 90 minutes, there was nothing to separate the defending national champions and the OUA bronze medalists.
In the first five minutes of extra time, the Carabins were on the brink of taking the lead. Catherine Proulx found herself one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but Juliana Hifawi made a terrific save with her legs, quite literally saving the game.
With time about to expire, a harmless-looking cross was shot into the Montreal net by a Carabins defender. The error gave McMaster a hard-earned victory, and a spot in the semifinals.
The Marauders bounced the defending national champions in the quarterfinals. It was the first game the Carabins have lost in 368 days.
“Our mindset the entire season has been that if we give it our all, anything can happen,” said Hifawi, who was named Player of the Game for the Marauders. “In the second half, our coaches really told us this is our game.”
McMaster moves on to the semifinals and will meet the winners of the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees-Calgary Dinos quarterfinal. That semifinal game will go Saturday. The Carabins are joining the consolation bracket and will meet the loser of the uOttawa-Calgary matchup.
Players of the Game
- Montréal: Mégane Sauv
- McMaster: Juliana Hifawi