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Defense Shuts Down Bobcats As Women’s Soccer Earns Home Draw

One thing is clear at the conclusion of Week 3 of league play in MCAC Women's Soccer: CMU has sorted out the defensive part of their game and opponents will have to be at their best to earn 3 points against the Blazers. After holding an undefeated USB Rouges to one goal on Saturday afternoon, that coming from a cornerkick, CMU returned home on Sunday and held the Brandon Bobcats off the scoreboard, limiting their Westman rivals to a mere three shots on target at the Ralph Cantafio Soccer Complex.

The visitors' best and only chances came early in the match. Naomi Plett tested CMU goalkeeper Lydia Balsillie from 18-yards out in the 2nd minute of the match but the Bobcats midfielder's shot was handled easily by the veteran Blazers' backstop. Ten minutes later, Siri Freeman had a good chance to put Brandon into the lead, but her shot skipped wide of the target without testing Balsillie.

A back-four that for most of the contest consisted of Hannah Neufeldt, Miriam Kabonesa, Kirsten Warkentin and Tiegan Kroeker showed they have the speed and tenacity to comfortably deal with the MCAC's top attackers. Starting in a wide midfield role, Melissa Gilbert was also effective when she was forced into a more defensive role late in the match when Warkentin came out of the game due to injury.

The tandem strike-force of Tia Bruinsma and Alyssa Patterson were relentless in exhausting the Bobcats defenders over the first 45 minutes of play and helped swing the scoring chances in favour of the home team when the teams returned to the pitch for the second half. After managing only two shots on target in the opening half, the Blazers would trigger 7 over the second 45 minutes and win 4 of their 5 cornerkicks with perhaps their best chances coming in the final 5.

First, CMU rookie Miriam Kabonesa, who began the match in central defense but found greater offensive opportunities when she was pushed into midfield in the first half, came close to breaking the deadlock. Gaining possession at the top of the box, Kabonesa dribbled to her left and cut the ball back to her right foot to allude the Brandon defenders only to see her shot glide inches away from the far post.

Then after winning her own free-kick, Elizabeth Andrews lofted a strong shot from 30 yards out that tested Bobcat's goalkeeper Emily Scramstad's nerves as they held on to the CMU midfielder's extra time scoring chance.

The single point leaves the Blazers in fifth-place after three weekends played, 3 points out of the final playoff spot in the difficult MCAC Women's Soccer standings. CMU travels to Brandon next weekend for a date with the ACC Cougars on Saturday before returning to Winnipeg on Sunday to renew acquintances with the Red River Rebels at Norm Konowalchuk Field at Red River College's Notre Dame Campus.

 

 

 

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