The sweet taste of one victory

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Defender Miryana Golobovich writes about breaking a 79 game winless streak

Natalie Dabit is a great soccer player. She’s been MVP of the Ryerson women’s team twice. She’s played on some of the premier club teams in Ontario, and won most of what there is to win at the club level. She was an all-star while at George Brown College. But because she plays for Ryerson, none of that matters.

Now that she has won a university game, Natalie can graduate. She only needed two credits to graduate, but took a third to be academically eligible to play soccer this year. The win against Brock on Sunday exorcised her demons. When she receives her diploma, she won’t be thinking about the four years she spent in class. She’ll be thinking about a miserable October day, where on a muddy and slippery St. Catherines Ont. field, her team beat Brock University 4-2.

Everything about Sunday started out wrong. A lot of people were late getting on the bus, and when we finally left, our bus driver took us for a little tour of Toronto. The Toronto marathon took precedence over motorists on Sunday, and we drove around for 45 minutes trying to figure out a way to get on the Gardiner Expressway. We arrived in St. Catherines at around 12:15 p.m. Kick off time was at 1 p.m.

A couple of girls got taped on the bus to save time. Things that couldn’t be tended to on the bus weren’t given any attention at all. Natalie just put a sock over her fractured toe. Stephanie Lyle never got her IT band messaged to prevent her kneecap from moving out of place. We walked into the change room and left our uniforms on the bus. Our warm-up was shorter, and maybe flatter than usual. Dave Rumack, the goalie coach from the men’s team, warmed up our goalies, as opposed to one of our assistant coaches. And it started to rain as we walked out of the change room.

Michelle Anderson played striker in eight games this season. On Sunday, our head coach, Jon Sanderson, started her in the midfield. In her first ten minutes as her new position, she dribbled past three or four girls wearing red shirts and scored a goal. It was the only time all year that Ryerson scored first in a match.

Brock equalized when a bad bounce in our box went by Denika Moncion, who was playing her first game in goal. It was the first goal against us all year that we where we didn’t hang our heads.

Kirsty Black scored a couple of minutes later by intercepting the Brock keeper’s attempt to clear the ball to put us ahead.

The only thing better than watching a teammate get a goal in soccer is watching the heads of the other team’s players go down. First the goalie. Then the defenders. Then the midfield. But the forwards at Brock are a cocky bunch. They were our motivation. They were our reason for being that day.

They started the cheapshots when we lost to them a couple of weeks ago. They cried to get the ref’s sympathy. When one of them asked me for clarification as to how long the losing streak was all I could do was smile and tell her I play soccer because I love to kick things. You could say there’s a rivalry between us because it wasn’t just about winning the game. The fact of the matter was that we had to beat Brock. And we did it with a vengeance.

Half time ended with us up 2-1. I don’t remember what Jon told us at the half. I don’t think anyone remembers. I’d be surprised if anyone was listening. Jeff Phillips, one of our assistant coaches, told us that the score was tied at zero.

I thought we needed some insurance. And then Michelle kicked another one in off a Brock defender’s back. Katie Galvin scored shortly after on a cross from Cindy Phelps.

Brock’s second goal came late in the second half. The ref didn’t see who scored. Cindy told him it was number four. “It doesn’t matter anyway,” he told her as he glanced at his wristwatch. “It’s over.”

For our services as varsity athletes, Ryerson pays us an honorarium of 14 dollars to be spent on post game nourishment. Jon distributes this money to each player in an envelope, which also contains a gift from him. It’s his version of the prize in your cereal box, in the form of a 8X11 white sheet of paper, neatly folded in three places. After four years of watching his team come up short, he couldn’t have chosen more fitting words that day. On Sunday, the big, bold letters read: “You will never have to worry about your feet if your head and heart are in the right direction.”

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