By Marco Sasso
After a 5-0 loss to the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Oct. 13 at Downsview Park, the Ryerson Rams women’s soccer team still managed to secure a spot in the playoffs thanks to a string of favourable results across the league.
With Trent Excalibur (5-7-1) falling 5-0 to the Nipissing Lakers earlier today, it guaranteed Ryerson a spot in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) playoffs for the first time since 2017.
The Rams (5-5-2) are one point ahead of the Excalibur in the OUA East division and with the Peterborough team facing off against Ontario Tech Ridgebacks (5-6-2) in their last game of the season, Ryerson can’t drop any lower than the sixth and final playoff position.
Moving into their final play of regular season, the Rams will need wins on the road against the Carleton Ravens and the Gee-Gees to have a chance at leapfrogging over Nipissing for fourth place in the standings and home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite a playoff berth, the Rams couldn’t keep up with the No. 1 ranked team in the country.
Ryerson was outplayed in every corner of the pitch, with the Gee-Gees playing keep away for the entire 90 minutes.
Once Ottawa’s forward Mikayla Morton struck the ball past Rams goalkeeper Elisa Lapadula on a rebound in the 25th minute for the first goal of the game, the floodgates opened.
When head coach Natalie Bukovec was asked about her post-game comments to her players after the 5-0 loss, she said, “You don’t want to know.”
The Gee-Gees added a second to their lead 12 minutes later after a cross on a free kick was badly dealt with by the swinging feet of Ryerson defenders, who deflected the ball out of Lapadula’s reach to allow forward Emma Lefebvre to push it into the empty net.
Recording only two shots all game, the only shot on target for the Rams came from BreAnah Webster in the first half—a low strike from a free kick 30 yards from goal that fell right into Ottawa goalkeeper Margot Shore’s arms.
The misery of dead ball situations continued in the second half, with Morton scoring her league-leading 15th goal off a penalty shot in the 53rd minute and Gee-Gees defender Adriane Devlin scoring her second of the season in the 72nd minute after Lapadula mistakenly swatted Devlin’s corner kick into her own net.
Lapadula didn’t get much help from her backline five minutes later, when midfielder Julia Rosenthal ran into open space to connect with a sliding Kaylene Hogue to make it 5-0.
Despite the tough loss, Ryerson’s graduating class of six players—forward Alex Rodkin, midfielders Anastasia Grekos and Sidnee Richardson, defenders Katherine Sollbach and Samatha Naus, and goalkeeper Lapadula—held their heads up high, savouring their accomplishments in their four years with the Rams among family and friends after the final whistle.
“Out of everything, I’d say I’m most happy with the girls that I met on the team,” said Rodkin. “There’s been a lot of ups and a lot of downs, but one thing that I’ll always have is the friends that I’ve met here.”