Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
CALGARY – She just kept scoring and scoring.
When the dust cleared from the demolition scene – a 7-1 win for the MacEwan Griffins over the Mount Royal University Cougars in Canada West women's soccer action Tuesday – Salma Kamel had four goals and an assist.
Her output shatters the program record for most goals – (previous was two) – in a Canada West match and also ties the mark for most points in a game by a Griffin, previously set by teammate Sunder West, who had four earlier this season.
"In a 90-minute game, to put seven goals up doesn't happen very often," said Griffins head coach Dean Cordeiro. "For one player to put up four and one, it's one of those special days that I'm sure she'll remember the rest of her life. Credit her. She's put in the work.
"And credit her teammates," he continued. "A lot of the goals she scored were from amazing dissecting through balls and putting her in a spot to put those in the back of the net. The hardest part of the game is finishing and she did a great job of putting the ball away."
Kamel joins a list of 13 others in Canada West women's soccer history who've scored four goals in a game (only two have scored five times) and is the last to do it since Manitoba's Hailey Lavarias Oct. 7, 2017.
"It's funny. Salma just seems to always turn it on," said Cordeiro. "We call her Mrs. October because all of her goals seem to come in that second part of the season leading into playoffs. For whatever reason, it still holds true to this day. I don't think she's scored a goal in September. It's pretty crazy. She's a Ferrari out there, we always talk about that. She's tough for people to hang with."
"I'm elated for her," he added of the fourth-year striker who nursed an injury early in the season and only recently returned to top form. "She's worked really hard and is in great form right now. We've talked about how we want to get better each game and we want to be trending in the right direction when it matters most, which is towards the end of the season in preparation for playoffs. I feel like this group every day is getting a little bit better and that's what we want to see."
Suekiana Choucair added a goal and an assist to push her team-leading points total to 12 in 12 games, Maya Morrell had two assists and Meagan Lemoine scored for the third-consecutive game as the Griffins recorded the most lopsided win in the program's Canada West history.
The result pushes MacEwan's Prairie Division-leading record to 8-1-3 and clinches at least second place, ensuring the Griffins will host one of four Canada West Play-In weekends on Oct. 26-27. They're now three points ahead of Saskatchewan (7-2-3) with a showdown looming on Saturday in Saskatoon, which will decide first place.
"It was big. The girls knew what was at stake today," said Cordeiro. "We basically got into the quarter-final with that result today. We've now got some separation on Sask but we face them on Saturday, so there's still a lot to be determined as to who's first, who's second.
"We're going to enjoy this, but we're going to get ourselves ready to go because we want to finish first. We're going to have to get through Sask. on Saturday to likely achieve that goal."
That would be uncharted waters for the Griffins, who've always been a contending team since joining Canada West in 2014 but have yet to top a division after a regular season.
The top team in the Prairie Division will host a three-team weekend with the fourth-place team in the Pacific Division (currently 6-3-3 Victoria) and fifth-place team in the Prairie (currently 3-6-3 Regina).
If MacEwan finishes second instead, they'll host Pacific #3 (currently 7-2-3 UBC) and Prairie #6 (currently 1-5-6 Lethbridge). In both cases, the Griffins will earn a bye past the opening game and face the winner in a quarter-final match.
The Canada West Final Four will be hosted on Nov. 2-3 by the highest-remaining Prairie Division seed after the quarter-finals.