The St. Albert High Skyhawks senior girls’ soccer team closed out the regular season with a big 4-1 win Thursday against their rivals at Bellerose.
The win over the Bulldogs at Eldorado field improved the Skyhawks’ record to 5-2 on the year, vaulting them over the Louis St. Laurent Barons into second place in the Metro Edmonton High School Athletic Association City Conference Division I.
The game was also Bellerose’s last chance for a win on the season.
“We started out a little slow, but then we started to pick it up in the second half, so we did good. A win’s a win,” said Skyhawks striker Vicki Gull. “It’s never good to go into playoffs with a loss, because then you’re down, but we’ll be on a little bit of a high after this win, especially against Bellerose, as you said.”
The game featured few chances for either side in the first half. Bulldogs striker Tara Fyffe nearly sent Danika Mowatt in alone, but keeper Stephanie Ziesman was there to come out of her net and kick the ball away.
Jaydene Malloy had both of the Skyhawks’ two best chances in the first half. However, her first was deflected by a defender just wide and the second sailed over the net.
“I would say we were being a little too pretty in the first half,” said Skyhawks coach Paige Gaudreau. “We just needed to get some shots on net.”
In the 57th minute, the Skyhawks opened the scoring when Sara Kendi got possession of the ball in the corner. She did a good job fighting off a defender and crossing the ball into the box for Malloy. From just inside the top of the box, she smoothly kicked the ball over keeper Shayla Watt’s head.
Ten minutes later, Kendi scored a similar goal of her own: straight on and over Watt’s head.
In the 69th minute, Watt was unlucky and surrendered a goal that likely even surprised the goal scorer, Gull. She kicked a ball from a corner kick right at the keeper. The ball dropped quickly to her feet, but when she tried to pick it up, it deflected off her hands and into the net.
Brittany Lausen scored the only goal for the Bulldogs in the 71st minute, but it was too little, too late. Angie Mason added an insurance goal for the Skyhawks with three minutes to play.
Thursday was the Skyhawks' second straight win. Gull said she believes her team has a strong chance of going all the way and capturing the city conference title. It’s been nine years since the Skyhawks have won the senior girls’ soccer title and two years since a St. Albert school (Bellerose) has won it.
“I don’t necessarily think we should have lost the other two games that we did lose, but again, we had trouble scoring early,” Gaudreau said. “And when we don’t score early, it usually takes us a while to get going, but I think we should do well.”
Because of an injury to the Skyhawks’ usual keeper Amanda Magyar on Tuesday in a club game, Ziesman drew into the regular season finale. Gaudreau said that Ziesman will see more time in goal in the playoffs and Gull could also move back to play in net. In the fall, Gull will be playing for the Concordia University College of Alberta.
The Skyhawks open the playoffs on Tuesday at 4:15 p.m. at the St. Albert Soccer Association against Louis St. Laurent (5-2). Though the teams had the same win-loss records, the Skyhawks will host the game because of a better goal differential than the Barons (+19 to -1). In their only meeting so far this year, the Skyhawks won 6-1.
In the other semifinal, the Archbishop MacDonald Marauders (7-0) host the Austin O’Brien Crusaders (4-3).