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Acadia edges STFX 1-0 to capture AUS women’s soccer championship 

Acadia edges STFX 1-0 to capture AUS women’s soccer championship 

By Corey LeBlanc - Sydney, N.S. – It was a golden moment on a silver anniversary for the Acadia Axewomen on Sunday afternoon. 

The university's soccer program captured its first conference crown since 1996 at the 2021 Subway Atlantic University Sport (AUS) Women's Soccer Championships, presented by Bell, with a 1-0 victory over the STFX X-Women on the Cape Breton University (CBU) campus. 

"It is absolutely amazing – I can't put it into words how this feels," Axewomen junior midfielder Grace Longley (Bedford, N.S.) said in a post-game interview. 

The tournament MVP and Subway player of the game scored the lone goal of the championship match in the 35th minute. 

"It was incredible," Longley said when asked about scoring for team in the final. 

On that first-half play, senior wing Meghan Johnston (Dartmouth, N.S.) made a run and then deposited a cross into the 18-yard box that a sliding Longley directed behind X-Women goalkeeper Christina Gentile (Laval, QC), who had no chance to make the save. 

Both teams garnered three corner kicks in a tightly-contested opening half. 

Off one of those set pieces – in the 13th minute – Amanda Smith's (Ottawa, ON) kick grazed the crossbar and landed on the foot of Caitlin Crichton, who volleyed a tough shot out of play. 

Although they garnered the bulk of possession time – and territorial advantage – the White and Blue trailed heading to the locker room. 

Early in the second half, Acadia came out hungry for an insurance marker, spending plenty of time in the STFX end of the field, but they could not test Gentile, who surrendered only two goals in the tournament. 

In the 60th minute, the X-Women had a free-kick opportunity, but the airtight Axewomen defense headed the ball out of harm's way. 

"They were great," Longley said of Acadia's backline and goalkeeper Milena Ramirez (New Minas, N.S.), who led a team effort in earning the shutout victory. 

She added, "They never lost their cool." 

In the 71st minute, AUS first-team all-star Amanda Smith (Ottawa, ON) of the X-Women drew a foul, but her team came up empty on the ensuing free kick. 

Smith – the Subway player of the game for STFX, who scored four goals in the tournament – was often double and tripled covered, with Axewomen first-team all-star senior defender Lauren Jodrey (Bedford, N.S.) leading that effort. 

Freshman wing Grace Somers (Bedford, N.S.) split the X-Women defense before putting a dangerous cross into the penalty area, but the X-Women defense stiffened and kept it 1-0. 

In the 83rd minute, off a free kick from conference second-team all-star freshman defender Abby Steen (Stittville, ON), the X-Women came up empty. 

In the final minutes, including stoppage time, Acadia smothered the STFX attack and secured the AUS crown. 

The X-Women, who had six true freshmen in the starting lineup, were looking for their first AUS banner since 2016. 

With the championship victory, the Axewomen also punched their ticket to the Protocase U SPORTS Women's Soccer Championship, from Nov. 18 to 21, in Sydney. 

Acadia will join the host CBU Capers as AUS representatives in the eight-team tournament. 

"It's pretty awesome," Longley said of the Axewomen having the opportunity to compete on the national championship stage in two weeks. 

She added that her team is going to be prepared for the challenge. 

"We are going to give it our all."