Several of Memorial's veteran players stepped up in a big way Saturday afternoon, leading the Sea-Hawks to a 5-0 win over the UPEI Panthers in Atlantic University Sport women’s soccer action.
Captain Jessie Noseworthy led the way with pair of goals, while Jane Pope, Maria Mackey and second-year forward Holly O’Neill each scored in the decision.
"We had a long break between our last game and we're really glad to start the last part of the season like this," Noseworthy said.
With so much at stake, grabbing any points at this point in the season is crucial in determining each team's playoff chances. For the second place Sea-Hawks (5-1-3) they inched a bit closer, while the sixth place Panthers (4-5-1) are neck-and-neck with the UNB Varsity Reds and Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus for that final spot.
"The league is so tight this year," Noseworthy said. "Everybody is bunched up and can easily drop out of a playoff spot."
Memorial was strong off the bat and had plenty of success getting the ball to the box for several opportunities, but struggled early to find the back of the net.
The Panthers, meanwhile, improved their defence on corner set pieces – an element of the game that has troubled them often this year – turning away nine of them in the opening half.
But in the 25th minute, the Sea-Hawks were awarded a penalty shot and Noseworthy made it count with the easy strike.
Before the end of the half, Pope accepted a pass in the box and made a great first touch to avoid the oncoming keeper leading to their second goal of the game.
Memorial got a fortunate break in the opening minutes of the second half when the ball skipped by the goalie's hands for an easy chip shot for O'Niell, who extended the lead 3-0.
Following the goal, the Sea-Hawks never let up hitting the crossbar on successive possessions, keeping it at a 3-0 game.
That didn't last long though as Mackey added another in the 64th minute before Noseworthy tallied her second of the afternoon on a great individual effort that beat the keeper top right corner.
"We're really pushing for that bye," Noseworthy said. "Each game is make or break and we have to continue to play each game like it's the playoffs."
The Panthers return to the field Saturday at 3 p.m. when they visit Acadia in Wolfville, N.S. They’re back in action on Sunday at 1 p.m. when they visit Dalhousie in Halifax.