Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – MacEwan put an exclamation mark on their women's soccer rivalry with fellow #YEG institution Alberta in a thoroughly dominating 3-0 victory on Sunday afternoon at Clarke Stadium that moved them back into first place in the Canada West Prairie Division.
The visiting Pandas didn't have a single dangerous chance in the contest as their time and space was taken away all over the field by a hard-working Griffins team unhappy they were held to a 1-1 draw at Alberta's field a day earlier.
"We weren't happy with our performance yesterday," said MacEwan head coach Dean Cordeiro. "We know the kind of side we have here. We just wanted to ensure back at our home facility that we're playing our game.
"Today, we played a 90-minute game and when we do that there are very few teams that can hang with us."
With goals from Meagan Lemoine, Kristyn Smart and Hannah Supina, the Griffins beat the Pandas to improve to 7-1-3, moving level with Saskatchewan (7-2-3) for top spot in the Prairie Division. MacEwan, however, holds a game in hand.
The Pandas, meanwhile, fell to 5-2-5, four points back of the division lead in third spot. Head coach Liz Jepsen said their story is still to be written this season.
"To get to national championship, you're going to have to win the games that matter, so we'll take care of that," she said.
"MacEwan showed a lot of grit and desire and that's what got them the game."
In fact, Sunday's tilt was possibly the most complete game the Griffins have logged all season. They outshot the Pandas 16-7 (7-2 in shots on goal) and dominated the corner-kick battle 7-1.
"Definitely a statement game," said Cordeiro. "We knew the importance of getting a big three points today and separating ourselves from the Pandas.
"Now we've just got to take it one game at a time. If we do that, we can control our fate and we can look to secure first place next weekend."
Kaylin Hermanutz plays a ball against Alberta on Sunday. She picked up an assist in MacEwan's 3-0 win (Chris Piggott photo).
MacEwan scored two of its three goals on corner kicks Sunday. After Lemoine opened the scoring in the 37th minute, tapping a Salma Kamel cross past Alberta keeper Ashley Turner, Suekiana Choucair went to work from the corner.
"Usually running near post you don't get the ball, so it was unexpected for the ball to drop to me," said Smart. "But I just buried it in the back of the net."
Choucair's 84th minute corner ended up on Hannah Supina's boot at the top of the box and she made no mistake for her first career Canada West goal.
Even with a healthy lead, it was the Griffins who pushed the pace late, playing hard to the final whistle. Emily Burns picked up her seventh clean sheet of the campaign.
"We definitely showed a lot of heart in our play today," said Smart. "After yesterday, we tied 1-1 but it kind of felt like a loss to us. We knew we could play a lot better and play our game. Especially on our home turf, we just gave it our all."
The Griffins get a day off before visiting Mount Royal University on Tuesday (4 p.m., Canada West TV presented by Co-op) in a makeup game from last month. Alberta next visits Regina on Oct. 19.