X-Women open season with 2-1 victory over Panthers

Photo credit - Janessa Hogan, UPEI Communications
Photo credit - Janessa Hogan, UPEI Communications

Charlottetown, PE - StFX's Amanda Smith couldn't have asked for a better outcome to start her season.

The third-year forward scored the X-Women's only goals as the team defeated the UPEI Panthers 2-1.

Smith's second goal was a timely one. In the 87th minute, Lauren Seamone found space up the right side and fired a low shot at Panther goalkeeper Veronica Kozak who surrendered a costly rebound that a charging Smith easily buried home.

After giving up the tying goal 10 minutes earlier, Smith said her team buckled down and went to work to close out the win.

"We said to ourselves there's 15 minutes left, let's get one. We pushed, got the opportunity and scored."

Smith said her team had some added motivation heading into the game after UPEI beat them 4-2 in a preseason home match a week earlier.

"It was our first home game in almost two years, and we lost, so we wanted to come out stronger today."

Smith certainly did her part. Her first goal came in the 30th minute when Hailey Burk managed to squeeze a pass by the defence and in a race to the ball, Smith beat Kozak and laid out for a sliding shot to put the X-Women ahead 1-0.

Panthers head coach Lewis Page preached patience during the offseason, knowing his young team would run into those inevitable growing pains and it showed at times during the game. But one thing that stayed consistent was their fight.

A minute into the second half, Lauren Clark sent a looping corner kick past the outstretched arms of the X-Woman keeper, but Tyffanie Bordage's attempt on net hit the post before StFX recovered it.

That seemed to spark the Panthers, who played much better in the second half. Braylan MacEachern came in as a late substitute and made an impact right away, scoring the equalizer in the 77th minute. The second-year forward put away a header after Bordage freed herself of a defender and booted the ball off the crossbar.

While disappointed with the end result, MacEachern sees a lot of promise with this team and wins in their future.

"I think it was a good start for us," she said. "Coach Page told us before the game we're not going to win a championship tonight and we're not going to lose a championship tonight, so let's play our game."

That's exactly what Page saw tonight and he's excited to watch his team turn close battles into rewarding wins.

"I couldn't be happier with the competitiveness and fight they showed tonight. That's going to win us a lot of games," he said.

The Panthers look to grab one of those wins Sunday afternoon when they travel to Moncton to take on the UdeM Aigles Bleues. The X-Women will be hosting Saint Mary's in their home opener on Sunday. Game time for both matches is 1:00 pm.


Courtesy Thomas Becker, UPEI Sports Information