Griffins suffer 3-0 defeat in visit to nationally-ranked UBC

Griffins goalkeeper Emily Burns - shown moving the ball upfield against UFV last weekend - made eight saves against UBC on Friday night in Vancouver, but had no chance on the three she allowed (Chris Piggott photo).
Griffins goalkeeper Emily Burns - shown moving the ball upfield against UFV last weekend - made eight saves against UBC on Friday night in Vancouver, but had no chance on the three she allowed (Chris Piggott photo).

Jefferson Hagen / MacEwan Athletics

After conceding three first-half goals to UBC, the MacEwan Griffins saw their rally attempt hampered by a 48th minute red card and fell to a 3-0 defeat in Canada West women's soccer action on Friday night in Vancouver.

Despite playing a man short for the final 42 minutes after Sarah Riddle was sent off, the Griffins didn't concede another and actually pressured the Thunderbirds, but were unable to cut into the lead.

"It definitely didn't feel like a 3-nil game," said MacEwan head coach Dean Cordeiro. "We were in it and had our opportunities, but at this level versus the top teams, if you don't capitalize, they will."

The Griffins had their chances early to take the lead, but couldn't hit the twine.

"We came out flying out of the gates," said Cordeiro. "We definitely wanted to respond after coming out slow against Trinity (Western in a 1-0 loss Sept. 24). We did that and we had two glorious opportunities to be up 1-0. Unfortunately, we came close but didn't put the ball in the back of the net."

Canada West scoring leader Jasmin Dhanda has been doing just that all season and she opened the scoring for UBC in the 18th minute when Danielle Steer sent her in with a beautiful through ball behind the defence and she beat Griffins keeper Emily Burns low left.

MacEwan was holding steady and staying in the game up until a minute-and-a-half nightmare stretch late in the first half that they'd like back.

After Marlee Maracle stopped one of Suekiana Choucair's game-high four shots on goal in the 37th minute, UBC countered with a sublime through ball by Dhanda to Crawford, who deposited it into the bottom right corner of the net past Burns.

"The second one was close – it looked like it could have been offside, but I don't have the best vantage point," said Cordeiro. "Unfortunately, they got a third one before the half. We limited their opportunities, but they got a handful of them and they made the most of them. They're very good at that."

Indeed, just 1:21 later, Crawford scored again – carrying the ball on the dribble in from midfield – and blasting it past Burns to give the Thunderbirds more than enough insurance.

Choucair hit a crossbar off a free kick early in the second half before Riddle – in the game for 30 seconds as a substitute – was hit with a foul in the area and shown a red card.

"They sent her off on what I thought was a very soft PK call," said Cordeiro. "In the new rules, if you give the PK, you attach a yellow to it; you don't give the PK and the red card, so I think there was a bit of an error there."

On the ensuing PK, Burns made a big stop on Amelia Crawford's stab towards the low left corner.

It was one of Burns' eight saves on 11 UBC shots – by far her busiest game of the season.

"Emily was fantastic for us today – sharp when she needed to be," said Cordeiro. "All three of their goals were in alone and she had no chance on any of them."

On the other end, the Griffins' offence, which looked so lethal early in the season, failed to score for a third-straight game. They've now been held without a goal for the last 261:39 of action after scoring 12 times in their first four games.

On Friday night, the Griffins put six shots on net – including two with a man short – but Maracle stopped them all for a shutout.

"What's left a sour taste in my mouth, to be honest, is at the end of the game they absolutely took out Meagan Lemoine in the area and they didn't give a call – nothing," said Cordeiro of his leading scorer, who returned to action after missing most of last weekend with a concussion. "Meagan had to leave the game. Unfortunately, that's the way it goes. At that point, we were down a few goals, so it's irrelevant, but we just hope Meagan's OK."

With the loss, their third in a row, the Griffins fall to 4-3-0 on the campaign.

They now travel to Victoria (6-1-1) for a Saturday night match (6 p.m. MT.). Watch live on Canada West TV.