TORONTO, ON – The Cape Breton Capers are AUS women’s soccer champions and will head to the U SPORTS Championships in Quebec City next week after beating the upstart Dalhousie Tigers 1-0 on Saturday afternoon.
The Capers, who finished the AUS regular season with 10 wins and 2 losses, came into the weekend as favourites for the title and eliminated the StFX X-Women 1-0 in a hard-fought semifinal, clinching their spot in the AUS Championship.
With AUS MVP Aaliyah Rowe controlling the play from kickoff, the Capers dominated the match’s early stages, with Rowe and Amelia Carlini linking up for a pair of shots that trickled wide of the goal in the opening minutes.
The early pressure paid off, however, for the Capers, as Carlini got the final touch on a bouncing ball from a corner kick in the penalty area that neither team had been able to control, barrelling a whiffed shot over the line and giving her side a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute, a strike which proved to be the winner.
“We just wanted to keep pressuring the goalie; they tend to lose confidence once you get more strikes on the net, and we came out with the victory in the end,” Rowe said on the AUS TV broadcast post-match. “
The Capers neutralized the Dalhousie attack throughout the 90 minutes, allowing no shots on target and only six shots total, while Tigers strikers Taylor Heard and Elise Evans broke through just once each, failing to threaten Haley Kardas between the sticks for the Capers.
However, it was a strong defensive performance from the Tigers as well, particularly from goalkeeper Annabel Gravely, who came up with five saves, including a critical stop on a long effort from Grace Hannaford, which appeared goalbound before being tipped over the bar.
Although the AUS Championship win was far from dominant, it proved that the Capers could win close matches without relying on goalscoring and have supporting talents to Rowe in every aspect of the field.
As well, Cape Breton once again established itself as the premier soccer university in Atlantic Canada, as the men’s team defeated StFX 2-0 in their championship match, securing the soccer sweep for the Capers.
Now the focus quickly turns to U SPORTS Nationals in Quebec City for head coach Ness Timmons and the Capers as they approach a tournament featuring a group of electric attacking teams, including the UBC Thunderbirds, York Lions and Ottawa Gee-Gees.