Saturday, Oct. 13 was a competitive day for the St. F.X. X-Women Soccer Team, resulting in a 1-1 tie game against the Dalhousie Tigers.
Coach Graham Kennedy said the tie was the result of two very good teams battling for control of the ball, and very aggressive offensive plays against an exceptionally strong defense, but he believes St. F.X. deserved a win.
“If we had finished up one of our many chances to score, and maybe cleaned up our act in the 18-yard box, it was a game we could have won. Overall, we had a really strong team effort. It was a complete game for us, with the exception of one clearance in the 18-yard box.”
It was a particularly challenging game for the X-Women, Kennedy noted, given that they were shooting against one of the best goalkeepers in the league, Kate Fines.
“She’s aggressive, and comes off her line a lot. She controls the 18-yard box and gets out to collect balls,” Kennedy said. “She moves in a hurry, and is an assertive, hard goalie to play.”
St. F.X. ended up locked in a tie with Dal around the 73rd minute, letting in a corner kick.
“It was disappointing, but we failed to clear the ball and paid for it,” Kennedy said. “Sometimes, in a woman’s soccer game, one goal is the difference. If you get one goal, you have a chance to win the game.”
Kennedy stressed the importance of closing out games, saying, “the goal is scoring. But that’s something that is hard to fix. That can sometimes take years to fix. I think there’s a couple of areas we can focus on – one is set plays.”
Although Kennedy doesn’t focus on coordinating set plays early in the season with the X-Women, he said the focus of his coaching will move toward set plays as the playoffs draw nearer.
Thinking back to how Saturday’s game played out, Kennedy credited forward Kelsey Ellis, a leading scorer this season, for St. F.X.’s single goal. It was the first in the game, and one that established a lead over Dal by the 38th minute.
“[Kelsey Ellis] is the second leading scorer in the league, on seven goals now, and three assists for 10 points. She gets a lot of shots,” Kennedy said. “She, herself, would like to see a few more shots go in, but she has had an extraordinary season overall.”
Kennedy also credited midfielder Mercy Myles for her skills in transitioning St. F.X. to “an attack” from a defensive play, something that kept the game contested and close.
“Mercy is a candidate for league MVP. She’s a fantastic midfield player who can help us transition from defense very quickly. She’s also improved her ability to win back the ball for us,” Kennedy said. “She’s exceptional in both directions, and because of that she sees a lot of the ball. She earns herself a lot of the opportunities.”
On Saturday’s game, forward Chloe Brennan was moved to left full back position, where she was “an offensive threat from deep, both through passing, forward runs and driving forward with the ball,” Kennedy said. “She had an outstanding game.”
Kennedy also credited Amy Rowe for her at center defense – an effort that kept the ball out of St. F.X.’s net for the rest of the match.