QUÉBEC CITY, QC – Catherine Langelier left the uOttawa Gee-Gees stunned. The Montreal Carabins’ goalkeeper stared down three shooters in penalties and stopped them all.
After a back-and-forth match that saw wonder strikes, mistakes and eventually penalties, the Carabins prevailed 3-0 from the spot after the two sides played two a 2-2 draw through 120 minutes.
“In these games, it’s so important to stay mentally positive and encourage each other and stay together,” Carabins captain Megane Sauvé told 49 Sports. “We are so happy with the win, and hopefully, we can win on Sunday as well.”
In Thursday’s quarter-final, Angelina Gendreau sent a curling strike from distance off the bar, yet on Friday, against Montreal, her shot from outside the box found the goal, putting uOttawa up in the 13th minute.
Played at a frantic pace from the start, the Gee-Gees looked the better team throughout the first 15 minutes, yet the goal sparked the Carabins, as they controlled possession through the remainder of the half.
Despite the consistent pressure and attacking waves of Carabins forwards, the Gee-Gees held firm at the back, seldom letting an attacker behind the last two defenders. The Carabins fired nine shots toward the goal, most from outside the penalty area, while only twice testing Cassidy Joslin between the Ottawa sticks.
In the second half, however, the intensity elevated. Sauvé pressured Ottawa’s backline and jumped on a failed clearance, striking with the outside of her boot to send the ball curling into the near post.
It takes talent to take a shot from that distance, let alone with the outside boot, and to do it in a National semifinal? It’s worthy of a Disney movie.
“I just wanted to take the shot and hope for the best because, in these games, every shot is a good one, so I went for it, and I was so happy that it went in,” Sauvè said.
However, as the Carabins danced in celebration, the Gee-Gees prepared to storm back. On the next play, a Montreal defender pulled Olivia Allen down in the box, sending the rookie to the penalty spot, where she regained the OUA Champion’s lead.
While Ottawa hoped they could keep ahold of the lead, the Carabins sent a looping ball over the top of the Gee-Gees’ defence, catching Joslin off guard. Then, under pressure from Sauvé, the Ottawa keeper bobbled the ball as it trickled over the line for the tying goal.
“I just wanted to chase down every ball that comes in the box even though I may not get it; it’s an opportunity to score if I run at it,” Sauvé said. “It can be scary for the goalkeeper, and when it went in, it was just amazing.”
As the match crawled through the final 20 minutes, the Gee-Gees and Carabins approached extra time with caution, neither side risking too much, and few big chances between the two, forcing the eventual penalty shootout.
With shots tied 18-18 through 120 minutes, Montreal’s Langelier came up big in the shootout, stopping Catherine Deleve, Nibo Dlamini and Ciara Dunne, while her teammates scored twice to send Montreal to the U SPORTS gold medal match.
“There was a lot of stress and emotion,” Langelier said through a translator. “You must concentrate on each shot at a time and keep calm with each one, and I have to stay sharp because my teammates are sharp in front of me.”
Now coming off a gruelling win against the OUA Champions, the Carabins are off to the U SPORTS Championship Final looking for their second trophy of the year in a match against the winner of the other semifinal between the host Lava Rouge et Or and Cape Breton Capers. Meanwhile, the Gee-Gees look to the loser of the other semifinal in hopes of bringing home a bronze medal on Sunday.
Cover photo: Yan Doublet/U SPORTS