Rams end season with heartbreaking loss
TORONTO - For more than 90 minutes, the Ryerson Rams women’s soccer team was able to hold off the Carleton Ravens in the regular season finale for both sides Sunday afternoon. Battling the wind and cold at Downsview Park, the Rams held their own against the Ravens one day after upsetting the No. 8 Ottawa Gee-Gees 1-0 on the same field.
Deep into extra time, the dam finally broke for Ryerson. A mental lapse by the Rams’ backline on a Carleton free kick from 35 yards out left the Ravens’ leading goal scorer Emily Copeland Dinan unmarked. As the ball came in from the left side of the park to the right, Copeland Dinan was able to stick her foot out and redirect it past Ryerson’s helpless goalkeeper Brittney Clendenan (Ottawa, Ont.).
Copeland Dinan’s sixth tally of the season was essentially the last play of the game as the referee blew the final whistle shortly after play resumed from half.
“I think right up until the last few minutes we were playing fairly well,” said Rams’ associate coach Tina Cook following the game. “I thought that the girls showed up to play today until that last little error at the end.”
The Ravens displayed their ability on set pieces early in the game. Each one of their four corner kicks in the opening 45 minutes resulted in a wonderful scoring opportunity. None was better than a ball that ended up on the foot of Copeland Dinan a few yards away from Ryerson’s net in the 30th minute. The Carleton striker fired a hard shot but couldn’t beat a diving Clendenan who punched it wide.
The Ravens continued to push the pace in the second half and manufactured a wealth of opportunities as a result. In the 79th minute, Nicole Filipow broke through a couple of Rams defenders and wired a shot from just inside the 18-yard box. The ball beat Clendenan, hit the right post and ricocheted to the left side of the net. Abby Nicastro was there to tap in the rebound for the Ravens, but a fantastic defensive play by Ryerson’s sophomore right back Katherine Sollbach (Burlington, Ont.) saved a goal. Sollbach cut off Nicastro while she controlled the ball and blocked the shot that was heading for the empty net.
Carleton put together a few more dangerous opportunities in the late stages of the half before Copeland Dinan netted the winner.
Clendenan stopped five of the six shots she faced in the losing effort while Rada Mintchev, the Ravens’ goalkeeper, made three saves for the victory.
The 1-0 loss dropped the Rams’ record to 5-10-1. They finish the year in eighth place in the OUA East division after being leapfrogged by the Nippising Lakers (5-8-3) who defeated the RMC Paladins 3-1 in their regular season finale.
The Ravens (7-4-5) complete 2016-17 in fifth place in the OUA East. They’ll take on the fourth place Laurentian Voyageurs (9-6-1) in the first round of the OUA playoffs on Wednesday.
“As the season progressed we definitely improved,” said Cook about Ryerson’s campaign. “We started clicking better as a team and as individual players we saw a lot of improvement as well… Looking forward to next year, we’re excited to build off of all of the things we’ve learned and how far we’ve come. We’ll keep on building all of the way until next August.”
SENIOR DAY FOR PAIVA
Sunday’s game was the last of Nicole Paiva’s career. The Rams’ midfielder was honoured before the game for her time at Ryerson and the many contributions she made to the women’s soccer program.
“Niki is a player that really truly cares about the team,” said Cook with a smile. “I think that’s something that’s always important, so we’ll miss that about her… She always cares about doing her best, not just for herself but for everyone else. She cares about the program doing well so even now when she’s gone, I’m sure we’ll see her around and she’ll be wondering what we’re doing.”
The native of Waterloo, Ontario played the majority of the game against the Ravens, created a few chances while the Rams had offensive pressure in the first half and registered one shot on net. She finishes her OUA career with four goals in four seasons at Ryerson.