Antigonish, NS- It was a rainy, windy affair at StFX Stadium as the X-Women (4-1-0) struggled to convert in a 2-0 loss against the Memorial Seahawks (4-2-0).
The opening 20 minutes were an even battle, with several corner kicks from both sides providing the only opportunities early on. The best chance to start the match arose in the 18th minute as a driven cross to Brynn Jurus (Ancaster, ON) resulted in a shot from close range. With the ball inches from the line, Sea-Hawks goalkeeper Sydney Walsh (St. John's, NL) just managed to keep the ball out of the net.
The Sea-Hawks responded in the 27th minute as Lauren Taylor (St. John's, NL) brought down a cross into the StFX box with a composed first touch. Taylor managed to get a strike on goal but the ball was safely collected by StFX goalkeeper Jordyn Pratt (Calgary, AB).
Over the next several minutes, the Sea-Hawks offense persisted in their pursuit for a goal. In the 30th minute, Memorial's Claire Langille (Fall River, NS) dribbled the ball unchallenged into the X-Women box and slotted the ball past the goalkeeper to put Memorial up 1-0.
As the first half drew to a close, both teams continued to battle for possession. StFX's best chance of the half arose in the 42nd minute as Hailey Burk (London, ON) laid off a ball to Amanda Smith (Ottawa, ON) for a strike on goal. However, Walsh scooped the ball to safety, denying the X-Women.
Sea-Hawks forward Holly O'Neill (St. John's, NL) troubled the X-Women on the right wing over the course of the first 45 minutes, delivering several crosses into the box and putting pressure on the StFX defenders.
Following the halftime break, the Memorial attackers struck immediately. In the 47th minute, Katie Joyce (Maddox Cove, NL) sprinted past the StFX defenders and chipped the goalkeeper, bringing the score of the game to 2-0.
The X-Women attempted to fight back for the remainder of the half but were shut down repeatedly. Memorial defender Christina Woloszcuk (Toronto, ON) prevented offensive efforts on the right wing while centerback Briana Pender (Goulds, NL) had used her head to clear a number of balls played in the air.
Emma Steen (Stittsville, ON) also demonstrated her athletic prowess during the second half, pushing high to help create offensive opportunities for the X-Women.
Following the match, X-Women head coach Graham Kennedy remarked: "Memorial is the most advanced team we've played this year in terms of their preparation […] They were really strong, and we weren't as prepared as we would have liked." He went on to note that the X-Women had several good moments, "particularly in the last 20 minutes of the first half," but that StFX struggled to bounce back in the second half against a "high-quality team."
The X-Women recorded 20 shots, while the Sea-Hawks had 13. StFX goalkeeper Jordyn Pratt made 3 saves for the X-Women. Memorial keeper Walsh earned the clean sheet with 12 saves.
The Sea-Hawks return to action on Saturday with a doubleheader at home against the University of New Brunswick.
The X-Women will look to bounce back on Friday with a 5:00 pm home game against Cape Breton University.
Courtesy Alyssa Spridgeon, STFX Sports Information