By Christian Ryan
A perfect weekend for the Ryerson Rams was thwarted in the 85th minute, as they drew 1-1 with the Trent Excalibur Sunday afternoon at Downsview Park.
Despite the harsh heat bearing down on the field, the Rams entered the game with confidence after Saturday’s 1-0 victory over the UOIT Ridgebacks. This translated to an early goal, as a long cross by BreAnah Webster found Alessia Carvalho in front of an open net at six minutes of play.
“I think we came out strong, a four-point weekend is really strong for us,” said Carvalho. “It keeps everyone else on their toes… other teams, I mean. For us, we can only hope for the best. It’s only up from here.”
The Rams maintained a strong offensive presence early, making the most of a slow start for the Excalibur defence by intercepting passes in key areas. Trent narrowly avoided a two-point deficit early, as a long shot by Joycelynn Brar hit the crossbar just out of reach of Excalibur keeper Mackaylen Bickle.
Physical play permeated the first half, with fouls becoming commonplace before the whistle signalled halftime. As the second half approached, it was apparent that the heat and rough play was turning to the Excalibur’s favour.
Defender Rebecca Pearce subbed in late in the first half for the Excalibur, and spent the second half shutting down the Rams’ offensive chances. The Rams still mustered a strong opportunity at running away with the game, but an Alex Rodkin cross to Maria Poveda chipped right and kept Trent in contention.
The heat and tension came to a head late in the second half, as a flying kick attempt by Emma Twohey connected with Rams keeper Elisa Lapadula, making one of her seven total saves. In retaliation, Christiana Daniel shoved Twohey which resulted in yellow cards for both players.
After the altercation, the momentum fell in favour of the Excalibur. In the 85th minute, forward Abigail Hubble attempted to set up the offence in the box by chipping in from the midfield circle. The kick sailed out of Lapadula’s reach and found the top left back of the net, tying the match to much fanfare from the Trent bench.
With the Excalibur unable to build momentum and the Rams unable to find an answer, the game ended in a draw. For Rams scorer Carvalho, starting early in scoring can be as dangerous as it is beneficial.
“Just keeping [pace] for the whole rest of the game is a challenge that moving forward we have to look for and try and change,” she said, maintaining that the weekend was a strong showing for the team.
Although personnel changes have been made on and off the field, the Rams’ season objectives remain clear out of the opening weekend for interim head coach Natalie Bukovec.
“When you have such a large recruiting class, there is always hesitation with how you’re going to perform,” she explained, singling out a key area for improvement. “We needed to capitalize on our opportunities. There were six or seven chances that we had that, in my opinion, they should have been just clear goal scoring chances.”
UP NEXT: The Rams will take to Varsity Stadium to face the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Sunday, Sept. 2. In a one-game weekend, the team will only have one shot to prove themselves against their city rivals.