Picture: Winsloe Charlottetown Royals midfielder, Mai Ramsay (#7), battles for the ball against Mount Pearl, Newfoundland player at U-18 Ladies, 2011 BMO Club National Championships, on the crossover, placement round on Thanksgiving Day, in Fredericton NB. Club mate Whitney Gallant looks on.
It wasn’t the game the PEI U-18 ladies had hoped to be playing in but as they took to the pitch against Mount Pearl in the 9 – 10 placement game at the 2011 BMO Club National Championships, they were determined to come away victorious.
The fans hardly had time to settle into their seats and get a sip of their Tim’s before Olivia Murphy sent a perfect cross onto the waiting foot of Melissa Richardson, who calmly deposited it into the back of the goal for a 1 – 0 Royals lead. Barely 3 minutes in and the Island squad had gotten the big turkey off their back that had been haunting them all week. It was a mixture of jubilation and palpable relief as they celebrated their first goal; the rest would all be gravy.
Winsloe kept up the pressure, penning the Newfoundland side into their own end for long stretches. Their intensity and tenacious play was rewarded at the 26 minute mark. Kelsie Collier sent a bullet on goal that was too hot for the keeper to handle. Jenna Jo McDonald was all over the rebound, like Molly Gallant on a chocolate bar, and made no mistake to put Winsloe Charlottetown FC up by two. If not for the fine play of the Mount Pearl keep the score would have been much higher as the Royals continued to pound the stuffing out of the ball.
Just before the half time whistle, the crowd was gazed upon by two deer crossing the parking lot, just outside the fence surrounding the turf. Rumor has it they were responding to an e-harmony post. The Royals manager indicated she would check out the distraction after the game.
The half time break appeared to cool off the crew from Winsloe as their play early in the half was tentative. Keeper Emma Kelly gobbled up everything that came her way as Newfoundland mounted an early challenge. At Kelly’s urging her troops began to rally and carry the play the other way. As the clock ticked past the seventy-nine minute mark Jenna Jo McDonald put on a clinic in foot work as she weaved her way through and around a plethora of yellow jerseys, as if they were pylons, beating the keeper with the final deke, before depositing the ball in the goal. Three zip Winsloe.
With time winding down Mount Pearl was awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area. The well struck boot, at eighty seven minutes, curled just inside the far post but that would be the only blemish on this day, that otherwise belonged all to the Royals. The well deserved 3 – 1 victory restored some faith in a just soccer god and removed some of the taste of earlier bitter outcomes.
Hats off to the U-18 ladies from PEI. You have to be proud of how you preserved through the week, held your heads high, supported one another and were great ambassadors for PEI, win or lose. Your parents certainly are.