By Chris Sanders
With their playoff hopes on a string, the Rams women’s soccer team gutted out a 2-1 win over the Laurentian Voyageurs at Downsview Park on Oct. 24.
Defender Keira Kent played the role of hero for the Rams Sunday afternoon, scoring both of the team’s goals.
“[Kent’s] a player that we heavily depended on this year, for sure,” said Rams head coach Natalie Bukovec. “I’d love the opportunity to play her higher up the field but she’s also so great at the back and I just don’t have the bodies. We’ll play her up, we’ll get a goal and bring her back [in defence] where she belongs,” laughed Bukovec.
Kent’s first goal came at the end of what was an evenly balanced first half, although the Rams faced difficulties beating the Voyageurs defensive low-block. The third-year defender joined the attack, burning the opposing fullback with a step over before cutting toward the top of the box and launching an 18-yard screamer to put the Rams up 1-0 heading into halftime.
”I think the first [goal] kind of opened up the game for the confidence in the team to get it going,” said Kent. “Originally, I wasn’t going to shoot, but I was like, ‘Alright, I’ll give it a shot.’”
The team’s lead and playoff hopes would quickly be put on the back burner. Laurentian defender Charlie Frew capitalized on the loose rebound in the 49th minute to level the game at one-a-piece and offer a sense of life for the Voyageurs.
Despite their equalizer, opportunities would dwindle for the Voyageurs, as key changes to the Rams formation allowed them to find their offensive footing in the second half. Bukovec added that an important part in Sunday’s game was subbing in second-year forward Skylar Sheehan-Alleyene.
“We started off the game with a different objective…and after recognizing it wasn’t going to work for us, Skylar coming into the mix just [provided] us with a little bit of energy, a lot of speed up top.”
Bukovec’s side would prove to be threatening, opening space with their pace and creative passes.
Kent would go on to score the winner in the 69th minute, courtesy of Rams forward Jade Vyfhuis’ well-placed corner kick.
Satisfied with her decision making, the squad’s effort and three points received for the win, Bukovec didn’t harp on the Rams early game struggles against the physical, 1-7-1 Voyageurs.
“For [how we like] to tactically and technically play, sometimes it’s a little bit disruptive and hard to compete against, but I think we did a fine job,” said Bukovec.
As if one could write a better script, the Rams final two regular-season games are against the 5-2-1 McMaster Marauders, who currently hold the final playoff spot in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Central Division by three points over Ryerson. Making the playoffs would also require rivals, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues to drop points against the Nipissing Lakers.
UP NEXT: The Rams women’s soccer team aims for a crucial win over the McMaster Marauders in a divisional clash at Downsview Park on Oct. 28. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.