On a cold Thursday night, the Simon Fraser women’s soccer team took on the undefeated Western Washington University (WWU) Vikings. WWU is ranked number three in the nation, and is in sole possession of first place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). This would be a tough task regardless of the situation, but it was made even tougher by the amount of injuries that the SFU side is currently battling.
“It’s a tough stretch right now, and when you’re playing the number one team in the nation [. . .] it’s not gonna feel good,” said head coach Annie Hamel after the game.
Even with the tough circumstances, however, the Clan fought hard the entire game. A second-minute goal by Liv Larson could’ve taken SFU out of the game early, but the defence stood their ground for the rest of the first half. WWU did appear to grab another goal in the half, but it was called back due to an offside ruling.
Roughly 15 minutes later, SFU had it’s best chance of the game after Carmen Brown, who typically plays as a defender but suited up as a striker in this one, started a counter attack. The WWU goalkeeper would drop the ball off of a cross attempt, but the ball took an awkward bound before Jenna-lee Baxter could capitalize. Nonetheless, the teams would go into the break with a score of 1–0 for the visiting side.
The Vikings started the second half on the attack, but were met by SFU’s goaltender Priya Sandhu, who made two beautiful diving saves. On the second goal, however, Sandhu had no chance as a long shot from WWU’s Darby Doyle flew into the top right corner of the net. The Vikings would go on to grab another goal off of a corner kick to give themselves a decisive 3–0 lead, which would end up being the final score.
Even with the 3–0 scoreline, it’s hard to be too negative after Thursday night’s loss. “Outside of the two [corner] goals we gave up, I thought we defended very well,” said Hamel.
With only 12 active players, there is only so much you can ask for from a team. This is especially true when you factor in that the Clan was missing goal-scoring machine Emma Pringle due to an injury she suffered in Saturday’s match against Concordia University.
“The plan was always to have her back for Saturday; she definitely could’ve helped us today but, at the same time, other players stepped up,” said Hamel on Pringle’s injury.
As for preparing for their match against Central Washington University on Saturday, October 14, SFU will try to recover in a short amount of time. With the expected return of Pringle, things are looking up.