Amanda Smith named tournament MVP
SYDNEY, NS – On the strength of a goal from junior midfielder Brynn Jurus (Ancaster, ON), in the 80th minute, the STFX X-Women finished off a perfect conference campaign with a 2-1 victory over the host Cape Breton University (CBU) Capers in the championship match of the 2023 Atlantic University Sport (AUS) women's soccer championship on Sunday afternoon at Ness Timmons Field.
It is the first AUS banner for the White and Blue in women's soccer since 2016.
On the title-clinching marker, which came off a corner kick from freshman midfielder Cheyenne Bower (London, ON), a second-team all-star, CBU junior midfielder Ally Wilton (Bedford, NS) made an initial stop on the goal line before Jurus deposited the rebound into a gaping net behind AUS first-team all-star keeper Ellie Lancaster (Fall River, NS) to make it 2-1.
Early in the match, in the fourth minute, the X-Women garnered the best early opportunity, with AUS first-team all-star – and tournament MVP – Amanda Smith (Ottawa, ON) lacing a free kick off the cross bar behind an outstretched arm of Lancaster.
In the 15th minute – after a sensational save by Lancaster on an Aidan Miller (Chilliwack, BC) shot – second-team all-star freshman Ava Elgood (Ottawa, ON) trickled the rebound just outside the left post.
On an X-Women corner kick, after an initial header by the offense, Caper defender Amy-Anne Ndiaye (Ile-Bizard, QC), who had a stellar first half, cleared the ball from harm's way to keep the contest scoreless.
On a nifty late cross from Emma Steen (Stittsville, ON), in the 44th minute, the X-Women were unable to convert the prime scoring chance.
With the X-Women carrying an edge in territorial play and ball possession, the sides headed to the locker room in a scoreless tie.
In the 59th minute, the Capers opened the scoring when Rowe fed a cross-field pass to Wilton, who scorched a strike from 25 yards into the top corner behind X-Women keeper Christina Gentile (Laval, QC) to make it 1-0.
Just more than five minutes later – in the 65th minute – the visiting X-Women notched the equalizer when Bower knifed a sensational through ball to Smith, who avoided a charging Lancaster and then ripped a strike inside the near post to knot then contest 1-1.
After taking their first lead, the X-Women played exceptional defense, while continuing to press the Capers, and secured the crown.
STFX outshot CBU 10-5, with both keepers coming up with two saves apiece.
The AUS champion X-Women will move on to the 2023 USPORTS Women's Soccer Championship – hosted by Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario – from Nov. 9 to 12.
Recap courtesy Corey LeBlanc
STFX forward Amanda Smith receives the AUS playoff MVP award from AUS Soccer Sport Chair Scott Gray