SYDNEY, N.S. – The finalists in the 2019 conference championship match – the Cape Breton University (CBU) Capers (4-0-1) and Acadia Axewomen (3-1-1) played to an entertaining 1-1 tie in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) women's soccer action on Sunday afternoon at the Cape Breton Health Recreation Complex.
"It is always a tough game when we play," veteran Caper head coach Stephen "Ness" Timmons says of their matchups with the rival Axewomen.
Noting it was an "entertaining" match," he offers he thought that it was a "fair result for both teams."
It was very much a tale of two halves, with the visitors controlling the play in the CBU end in the first, while the hometown Capers responded in the second stanza.
With the wind at their back, the Axewomen came out strongly, penning the Capers in early and often. They tested CBU goalkeeper Haley Kardas (Halifax, N.S.) on a couple of occasions, but she and her defenders were able to keep Acadia off the scoresheet.
In the 27th minute, off a Madison Lavers (Halifax, N.S.) free-kick from distance, there was a scramble in the Acadia six-yard area, but CBU couldn't get a shot on goal.
Four minutes later, the Axewomen were rewarded for their offensive push when Grace Longley (Bedford, N.S.) redirected a free-kick that Kardas couldn't corral for a 1-0 advantage.
After coming up empty on a pair of corner kicks, the Capers mustered up their best scoring chance of the opening half in the 36th minute, when forward Ally Rowe (Kitchener, ON) – the Subway player of the game – and Axewomen goalkeeper Milena Ramirez (New Minas, N.S.) soared for a ball. She got a piece of the Rowe header, which the Acadia backline was able to clear before it made it across the goal line.
Acadia finished with a six-to-one edge over the Capers in shots on goal in the first half.
Early in the second half, CBU pressed for the equalizer, but the Axewomen stood firm while protecting the advantage.
In the 68th minute, Paige Allaby (Saint John, N.B.) of the Capers curved a corner kick inside the near post that Ramirez could only get a piece of with her outstretched hands, which knotted the contest 1-1.
Fatou Ndiaye (Pierrefonds, QC) was a force for the Capers in the second half, making several runs that led to corner kicks and scoring opportunities for her side.
In the closing minutes, both teams pushed for the lead marker while also protecting against a turnover that could lead to an eventual loss.
"We finished strong and had some chances late," Timmons says, adding the Capers were "going for the win."
Both teams will return to action on Friday, Oct. 2, when the Axewomen visit the Saint Mary's Huskies in Halifax, while the Capers will travel to Antigonish to face the STFX X-Women.
Game time for each match-up is 5 p.m.
By Corey LeBlanc