Pearson penalty helps Ryerson hold steady against Varsity Blues

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By Marco Sasso

The Ryerson Rams women’s soccer team rebounded from last week’s loss against the University of Toronto to earn a 1-1 draw against the Varsity Blues on Sept. 28.

Ryerson (4-3-1) jumps into third place with the tie but may feel cheated out of a victory over their neighboring rivals after a pair of refereeing decisions dampened an already cold and rainy afternoon at Downsview Park.

In the 41st minute, a scramble off a Varsity Blues free-kick saw the ball kicked out of the hands of Rams goalkeeper Elisa Lapadula, putting the away team up 1-0 much to the dismay of the Rams bench and backline.

The Rams tied the game just minutes later as midfielder Brooke Pearson tucked the ball neatly into the right corner of the Blues’ goal off of a penalty shot.

But Pearson, who leads the Rams with four goals this season, felt as though she could have had another goal from the spot just before halftime. In the first half of stoppage time, her shot from 20 yards out sailed straight onto the raised arm of a University of Toronto defender inside the box, but the referee didn’t see it.

“It’s really frustrating playing a game where you think the refs aren’t making the right calls,” said Ryerson second-year defender Keira Kent. “It just messes up the whole flow of the game.”

As for the rest of the match, the referee didn’t get much help from the players as the two playoff contenders tackled each other at will in the latest edition of the longstanding rivalry. Five yellow cards—three for Ryerson, two for Toronto— were handed out in the game.

Both teams combined for 25 shots overall but there weren’t many clear cut scoring opportunities. Kent and the rest of the Rams defence did well to shut down Toronto’s leading scorers Miranda Badovinac and Jenny Wolever. Ryerson goalkeeper Lapadula made 11 saves.

The Rams dominated the flow of play in the second half outshooting Toronto 5-2 but didn’t do enough on the offensive end to pose a real threat to Varsity Blues goalkeeper Levana Staggolis. The closest they came was from a shot floated on target by Rams second-year forward Oshay Nelson-Lawes, which was easily tipped over the bar.

“It’s always hard to play against a team that defends very well,” said Rams head coach Natalie Bukovec. “Our expectation was to collect all three points because I do believe individually that we are a better side—player to player—but it was just one of those [games].”

UP NEXT: Ryerson will head out on the road against another postseason contender as they meet Nipissing Lakers in North Bay on Oct. 5.

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