The Gee-Gees women's soccer team came away victorious by a final score of 1-0 in their 2019 season opener against the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks on Saturday.
Heading into the game, the Gee-Gees were aware of the target they have on their back as defending national champions. As expected, the game was a battle, with the Ridgebacks playing physically thoughtout.
The Gee-Gees had a handful of key chances to draw first blood early in the game, however the first half was played to a stalemate.
Through the majority of the second half, the Gee-Gees continued pressuring, but still were unable to convert. The best chance the Gee-Gees had came on a shot from Jennifer Rowe that found the crossbar, the rebound came out to Trinity Esprit, whose shot found the Ridgebacks keeper
In the 83rd minute, Soumaya Bouak was dragged down in front of the net, opening the door for the Gee-Gees with a penalty kick. Fifth-year defender Thea Nour was able to beat the Ontario Tech keeper to earn the Gee-Gees first and only goal of the afternoon.
Killing off the remainder of time on the clock, the Gee-Gees sealed their first win of the season, against a difficult opponent in the Ridgebacks.
"I'm really happy that we got the win," said Gee-Gees head coach Steve Johnson. "I think we know that we can do better, but overall, I think to get three points in our first game, away against a quality opponent is a good result."
"I thought [Ontario Tech] was really well organized and played some good soccer," said Johnson. "We used a lot of players in the game and I'm really proud of their performance."
The goal from Nour is another addition to what has been an outstanding year for the defender. A U SPORTS National Championship Tournament All-Star in the fall, Nour was seleceted to represent Canada at the FISU Universiade in Italy, and now enters her final year with the Gee-Gees.
"Especially with it being my last season opener, it felt good to get a win," said Nour. "Of course you feel the pressure when you have take the shot that late in the game. I try to take some extra time and focus on putting the ball in the net."
Next up for the Gee-Gees will be a home opener matchup with their crosstown rival Carleton Ravens. Last season, the two were non-combatants in the OUA schedule, so Wednesday's matchup will be their first since 2017.
"I'm really excited," said Nour about the home opener. "Especially for it to be against Carleton, I think we're going to have a good crowd there. I think people are really interested, especially after how well we did last season."