After a slow start, the Morinville Ladies finished their season debut with a bang Sunday in the St. Albert Women’s Soccer League.
Five unanswered goals in the second half propelled last year’s division-one pennant winners to a 6-1 victory over the Alleycats at Salisbury field.
“We had a talk at halftime and decided we would use our passing skills a little bit more and actually shoot on the net. I don’t think we had too many shots in the first half,” said left midfielder Suzanne Gaetz. “We started making some good plays and the goals were as a result.”
Gaetz, 22, broke open the entertaining affair with a pair three minutes apart. On the game winner in the 56th minute, she converted a breakaway pass by directing a shot off the wing past keeper Tosanna Able on the short side.
Her next goal was similar in style, except she beat Able in tight as the keeper charged out to give the sniper less net to fire at.
“A lot of my goals tend to be like that, kind of low shots,” said Gaetz, the third-leading division one scorer in 2009 with 12 goals for second place on the team. “I’m more of an offensive player. That’s the role I like to play.”
Melissa Duro also tallied twice in a two-minute span to make it 5-1. Jenna Stanger rounded out the scoring in the 80th minute.
In the first half, Morinville dominated time of possession but could only muster a goal by Dominique Lafond’s quick boot from the slot in the 11th minute.
Able also made a couple of sensational saves when Morinville put the ball on net after missing the mark several times.
The resilient Alleycats knotted the score in the 26th minute on a sturdy strike by Suzanne Boychuck that sailed away from keeper Danielle Lafond.
Before the first half ended, a through ball by the Alleycats almost clicked. They opened the second half with a chip shot from close range by Ursula Wolencroft that grazed the crossbar and was quickly kicked away by a defender.
Morinville would later put the game away with a scoring spree against a squad lacking reserves on the bench.
“In the first half we were a little bit nervous for sure. We were just kind of getting into everything. You could also tell we were a little bit out of shape and we’ve got some running to do at practice,” Gaetz said. “In the second half we really came together, especially with our passing.”
Morinville’s line-up for the league opener was basically the same that recorded 15 wins (11 by shutouts), two losses and one tie to finish one point ahead of the 15-3 Mavericks 09 in division one.
“We have a few not playing this year and maybe one new player,” said Gaetz, a fifth-year veteran. “We’re definitely a little bit shorter than last year.”
At provincials as the league’s tier IV reps, Morinville was third in group II with one win and two losses. It was the fourth time in five years Morinville competed at provincials as the top team in the regular season fixtures.
“If we get back there this year we’ll do better,” predicted Gaetz, who works with seniors as a hearing aid practitioner. “Of course there is a lot more competition at provincials. It’s a little bit stronger playing field but we still did really well. The games, when you’re playing them, they seemed a lot closer than they were.”
The next game for Morinville is Thursday against Storm United, the first-place division one team in 2008 by one point over Morinville. The Storm placed third overall last year at 14-3-1. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. at Salisbury field. The Storm are coming off a 4-0 win Sunday against Revolution FC.