By Devin Jones
Despite strong play throughout, the Ryerson Rams women’s soccer team lost their season opener 4-2 against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, Saturday afternoon.
The Rams new roster played a tough defensive game, showing off skills the coaching staff has been implementing in pre-season. But weak goaltending and a lack of ball protection ultimately cost Ryerson its first game of the season.
“We’re in a tough spot with goaltending right now and that’s fair, it happens,” said assistant coach Kristina Cook. “We’ve pulled a few goaltenders out of retirement so they’re a little rusty which is understandable. Right now we’re dealing with injuries to our starting goaltenders.”
The Blues wasted no time, scoring 20 seconds into the match courtesy of striker Chelsea Cheung. But the Rams responded in similar fashion, scoring at the six-minute mark. Applying offensive pressure and generating quality scoring chances, Ryerson’s first goal was set up from a Valeria Muniz Saavedra corner kick that went off the head of defender Heather Brown to tie the game at one.
“I couldn’t be happier, who doesn’t want to go into their CIS game and in the first three minutes put one in the net,” said Brown. “I just looked at Val (Valeria) and had a feeling it was my time, especially after the [first] goal they scored, that really shouldn’t have gone in.”
Both teams settled into a defensive back and forth game until U of T began to take over in the 21st minute, and from there on out it was all Blues. A goal off the crossbar from midfielder Nicki Parkes made it 2-1. Goals from Natasha Klasios and Brenda Murillo put the Varsity Blues ahead 4-1, which would be the score leading into half time.
The second half of the match saw much of the same strong defensive play from the Rams, as well as second goal from Muniz Saavedra off a corner kick that the Blues keeper bobbled and let in. Ryerson held Toronto off the board for the rest of the game and managed further offensive chances — something Cook took as a learning experience.
“Soccer is obviously about offence and defense but our first priority this season is going to be defense. I think we had some great offensive plays this game to be honest,” said Cook. “We broke them down a few times and our attacking force was fairly good even though we haven’t been focusing on it, which is a positive start.”
You can catch the Rams at their next home game Wednesday Sept. 16 against the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks at Downsview Park with a start time of 6 p.m.