Antigonish, NS – The U SPORTS No. 3 ranked Cape Breton Capers remained undefeated with a 2-1 win over the host StFX X-Women Friday evening at Oland Stadium. The game was a fluid display of football that distinguished itself not only by the skill of the players, but also their intelligence to read and react to the ebbs and flows of the match.
StFX started the sharper of the two teams with Larissa White (Westphal, NS) and Mercy Myles (Accra, Ghana) controlling proceedings. StFX's skillful passing led to the game's first corner in the 7th minute. Roughly 15 minutes into the match, the Capers began to dictate proceedings. Seasoned left-back Becky Hanna (Howie Centre, NS), recognizing that the X players were having too much time on the ball, cut inside a number of times to put pressure on the X-Women and turn the flow of the game in favour of the Capers.
The Capers soon took advantage of their territorial dominance with a goal by Amelia Carlini (Ottawa, ON) off a Cierra Disipio (Ottawa, ON) corner kick. The Capers had looked a danger to score off their two previous corners and the precise balls and calmness of the players in the box were justly rewarded.
It was soon the turn of X-Women captain, Olivia Cziph (Thunder Bay, ON) to wrestle control back in the X-Women's favour. The versatile player, playing centre back, pushed up to give support to her teammates. Gaining control of the ball she made a great run and put in a superb ball to stand out rookie Amanda Smith (Ottawa, ON), whose soft first touch led to a perfect shot over Caper keeper Rachel Yerxa (Mississauga, ON) and into the net.
Prior to the second half beginning, the three Caper central midfielders, Disipio, Carlini, and first-year Erin Freeman (Halifax, NS) had their own conversation and whatever might have been discussed put paid to any StFX chance at winning the game. Freeman, a key influence in the first half both in midfield and when she moved up to become part of the front three, became the game's driving force.
Freeman was equally impressive with and without the ball. She was perfectly positioned to halt offensive attacks and solid in winning possession back for her team. She was superb with her passes and her ability to control the ball so tightly made any contact against her an instant foul.
StFX were reduced to 10 players after 60 minutes when X-Women defender Catherine Kennedy (Antigonish, NS) received a red card for her second yellow card of the match. Twelve minutes from time, the resilient X defence finally broke. Becky Hanna, from about 40 yards out, put a nicely weighted ball into the box. StFX failed to clear and Freeman gained control of the ball. Taking on three X defenders in the box, she muscled her way into the six-yard box and fired a shot on net. Impressive forward Rachel Leck (Pickering, ON) pounced on the rebound and gave the Capers a deserved lead they would not relinquish.
Leck received Subway player of the game honours for the Capers while Myles was named StFX's player of the game for her efforts.
Both teams are back in action this weekend. StFX travels to Halifax on Saturday to play Saint Mary's at 1:00 pm, while Cape Breton is on the road to Charlottetown on Sunday to meet UPEI, also at 1:00 pm.
Courtesy Bart Sears, StFX Sports Information