By Koylan Azofeifa
The Rams women’s soccer team was defeated by the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in their season opener at Varsity Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 25.
Head coach Natalie Bukovec emphasized that the Varsity Blues are a strong rival for her team. She wasn’t entirely disappointed with the Rams’ play either.
“They qualified for nationals and did quite well. I think for us to come off a one nothing loss is not the worst thing ever,” said Bukovec.
The Rams started off the match strong with a scoring chance in the first 15 minutes from Shea Jeffery-Novak, but failed to get it past the block of the Varsity Blues’ goalie.
Saturday’s match was an even fight in the first half, but the Varsity Blues dominated and scored the only goal of the contest during the second.
The goal occurred when the Rams defence let its guard down, allowing U of T’s Miranda Badovinac to strike in the 63rd minute.
To make matters worse, Rams star Brooke Pearson took a hit while trying to get a shot on goal and needed assistance from medical staff in the 89th minute of the match. Pearson’s status heading into the next week’s match will be something to keep an eye on.
Despite their best efforts, the Rams were only able to muster three shots on goal during the match. They were held without a shot in the second half. In comparison, the Varsity Blues had 11 on the afternoon.
In the team’s effort to show a strong defence, they also racked up three yellow cards.
After the match, Bukovec alluded to the team facing lineup challenges due to the university’s vaccination policy. However, she said she was happy with the team’s endeavours, despite the roster challenges. “It was still a piece of good effort from everybody,” Bukovec said.
If there’s a silver lining from the changes, it’s that some rookies were given the chance to play this season.
The Rams will turn their focus to next week’s rematch against the Varsity Blues, where they’ll look to find victory and the back of the net.
Up Next: The Rams hunt for victory continues at their home field, Downsview Park, against the Varsity Blues on Oct. 2. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.