Soccer team opens with two very different losses

It was like David versus Goliath, just with a more predictable ending.

Charlottetown, PEI

It was like David versus Goliath, just with a more predictable ending.

Like many of the Yukon teams competing this week at the Canada Sumer Games in PEI, the girls’ soccer squad began with a tough first contest, playing Team Ontario.

It was a match-up between the team representing the least populated territory or province at the Games against the team from the most populated – and it showed, with Ontario shutting out the Yukon 12-0 Monday at Eric Johnston Field in Summerside.

“To put it in a nutshell, we ran into a team that’s a hell of a lot better than we are—it’s a tough start,” said Yukon girls soccer coach John MacPhail. “It’s just a different level. We were hoping to keep it less than that – I guess that’s the reality of Ontario versus the Yukon.”

However, the Yukon girls bounced back from the devastating defeat with a much closer 2-1 loss against Saskatchewan the following day in Kensington.

“It was good for us,” said MacPhail. “The energy levels were a lot better.

“Our back-line played very well today, which consists of Ateca Mills, Courtney MacPhail, Jamie Whitty and Terri Publicover. They played strong defence to keep (Saskatchewan) out of our end.”

After keeping Saskatchewan silent in the first half, the Prairie team scored early into the second to go up 1-0. Undeterred, just before minute-80 Yukon’s Mary Bennett brought the ball deep into the Saskatchewan end, making a cross-field pass to Publicover, who buried it from 20 yards out.

Saskatchewan’s Meagan Cormier got the game winner with about five minutes to play in the game on a break-away.

“For their second goal we had a bit of a breakdown of our defence and (Cormier) was able to get behind them,” said MacPhail.

In their opening game on Monday, Ontario took charge with two goals in the first seven minutes of play, eventually scoring eight in the first half. Making a big impact on the final score was Nadine Poirier, going in net for the Yukon in the second half. Poirier eventually let in four goals, but made countless diving saves to keep the score out of the teens.

“We played six, 15-minute games and that’s what we were trying to do,” said MacPhail. “They backed off a little bit as well. And Nadine (Poirier) saved four or five shots that might have gone in in the first half. So she did well to keep those out and that makes a difference.

“But I’m not faulting the goalies whatsoever. It wasn’t their fault, they did well; I was quite happy wit their goalkeeping. Nadine did really well – I’m happy with her game.”

Although the Yukon had to deal with being outmatched, both teams had to put up with temperatures in the mid-30s, exacerbated by the dark artificial turf on the newly installed Eric Johnston Field.

“This is very hot – the humidity and this being about 10 degrees hotter than on regular grass, it took a toll actually,” said MacPhail. “It’s difficult.”

Yukon’s next game is Thursday morning against an opponent yet to be determined.

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