The Yukon women’s soccer team didn’t mind so much losing their final match at the Canada Summer Games on Thursday. It was more sorrowful to lose each other.
After a decade playing together, since the under-eight division, Thursday’s 3-0 loss to P.E.I. marked the final chapter for the team.
“This game was a little different for everyone because this was our last game together,” said midfielder Megan Lanigan. “The senior players are all leaving this team now after 10 years. They’re all going to university.
“I’m going to miss these girls so much. They’re like a second family to me.
“It was a good way to end our 10 years.”
Though a loss, the team considered the match as going out on a high note. They had much more lopsided losses through the Games before the match for 10th place, taking last.
Thursday was the first time Yukon kept the match scoreless going into the second half at the Games.
“I feel really good about this game, especially after our first half,” said captain Jaylene Kelly. “It was still 0-0 and I felt like we really had a chance and we were really bringing it to P.E.I.”
Yukon was plagued by injury during the Games. Starting defenders Morgan Paul and Caroline Miller struggled to play full matches.
Perhaps most decisive was the loss of goalkeeper Samantha Burgis to a knee injury during Yukon’s 8-0 loss to Alberta to start the Games on Saturday.
Yukon went on to lose 17-0 the following match against Nova Scotia with outside midfielder Anna Janowicz in for Burgis.
Janowicz was in net for the rest of the Games and showed great improvement with every match. By Thursday, charging out on P.E.I. breakaways and making diving saves, she looked like she had been a goalkeep since starting in under-eight. She made three big saves early in the second half before P.E.I. got on the board in minute 68.
“Great game. Everyone really held it together,” said Lanigan. “Anna was outstanding in net. She had big shoes to fill for Sam and she did more than we could have asked for out there. She was amazing.”
Tuesday’s loss to New Brunswick was also a blowout, but with a very significant difference: it wasn’t a shutout.
Three minutes into the second half Lanigan lodged a free kick into the back of the New Brunswick net from over 30 yards out to make it 4-1. New Brunswick went on to take the match 12-1.
“That was awesome!” said Lanigan. “I was so surprised. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh – it’s in!’ And then I just started celebrating.”
The Yukon squad, which was also the Yukon Strikers U18 rep soccer team earlier in the season, is going home without a win. But many of the players have been on winning teams at Games in the past.
Nine played on Team Yukon’s gold-winning junior female team at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse. Three others were on Yukon’s silver-winning juvenile female squad from the 2012 Arctics.
Yukon was the only territorial female soccer team in Sherbrooke, with the N.W.T. scratching before the Games.
N.W.T. is entered in the men’s tournament next week at the Games.
“It was unreal,” said Lanigan. “The atmosphere down here was so cool and meeting athletes from different places in Canada was awesome. It was fun watching the different sports. The soccer teams here are so good.
“It was a good experience.”
“It’s awesome. I always love coming out the Games,” said Kelly. “You get to meet so many different people, and even trading pins I’ve met so many people.”
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