Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – Samantha Gouveia's 11th-minute header inside the right post stood up as the game-winner as the MacEwan Griffins defeated the University of Fraser Valley Cascades 2-0 at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday.
The veteran Griffins defender later added an assist on Meagan Lemoine's 44th-minute bar-down blast as MacEwan (4-0-1) remained undefeated five games into the Canada West women's soccer season. UFV falls to 2-2-1.
"It was definitely a tougher header, but on Jamie's (free kicks), we just try to connect on them," said Gouveia, who deftly touched Jamie Erickson's midfield free kick perfectly past UFV's diving goalkeeper Andrea Perkovic. "Thankfully, it hit the side netting and I think it definitely changed the momentum of the game, got us going."
Not that the Griffins didn't already have the lion's share of the possession in the contest, but the early goal allowed them to settle in and push for more.
"We've got to get out on the front foot and put our opponents in a bad spot," said MacEwan head coach Dean Cordeiro. "I think we accomplished that on the first goal. But then we settled down a little bit and let UFV get some momentum.
"What broke the game open was Meagan Lemoine. What a goal, what a play. Second half was a battle. We had some chances to go up 3-nil, but it didn't come. I'm really happy with the 90-minute performance today."
Perkovic got a piece of Lemoine's shot from the top of the box, but it still ended up under the bar.
"It's tough," said UFV head coach Rob Giesbrecht. "MacEwan's filled with veteran players and they're well organized. They do a lot of the little things really well – things like set pieces, free kicks from distance, little flicks. They're really good at that kind of stuff."
Going behind by two goals was too much for UFV to overcome. Their best chances of the game came on back-to-back shots by Brittney Zacharuk and Bryana Buttar during some 88th-minute pressure that were both handled by MacEwan keeper Emily Burns.
"We gave them too many opportunities early and looks at our goal from dead balls," said Giesbrecht. "Once we were down a couple goals, it was really tough to get going. The second half had absolutely no flow to it. It was just stop-start, stop-start. It was frustrating. We took a few knocks as well, which made it tough."
Burns made three saves to earn her fifth-straight shutout of the Canada West season.
"We always want to help Burnsie out," said Gouveia. "She's an incredible keeper. Whenever we have a mishap, she's got our back, and we've got her back."
The Griffins will be back in action on Sunday, hosting Trinity Western University (12 p.m., Clarke Stadium), while UFV visits Alberta (12 p.m., Foote Field).
"All in all, it's Canada West women's soccer," noted Giesbrecht. "We've got to pick ourselves up and get ready for the next day. I'm pleased with the work we put in today and we'll learn from it and get better."
FREE KICKS … The opportunity to play a match in the iconic Commonwealth Stadium – home of the Edmonton Eskimos – was a special one for the players. "It's an incredible atmosphere," said Gouveia. "It's always cool to play in these complexes. Chances like these don't come too often."