Rams suffer heartbreak in postseason extra time loss
SUDBURY, Ont. – A cold Wednesday afternoon in late October looked promising to deliver a new chapter in Ryerson Rams women’s soccer history. Unfortunately, those hopes were dashed when a last-minute goal in extra time lifted the Laurentian Voyageurs over the Rams by a 2-1 final.
The fifth seed in the OUA east division, the Rams – making just their fourth playoff appearance – were looking for their first ever postseason victory on Wednesday. Expectations were at an all-time high entering the playoff matchup against Laurentian, a team the Rams beat twice in the regular season.
After a back-and-forth start to the first half, the Rams likelihood of securing that first win grew stronger when freshman phenom Victoria Watson opened the scoring just before halftime.
Watson came streaking towards the goal, forcing Voyageurs keeper Caitlin McNamara to come out and challenge but the crafty striker was able to get around her and deposit the ball into the back of the net. That gave the Rams a 1-0 halftime lead.
The goal in itself had historic implications; it was the first postseason goal scored in Rams history. In Ryerson’s previous three playoff contests they were left off the scoreboard.
Now preserving a one-goal lead in the second half, the Rams defence stood tall until the 64th minute when a long throw-in was flicked on into the box. Initially stopped by Rams keeper Elisa Lapadula, her positioning in the net didn’t allow her to be able to punch the ball away from danger and Laurentian’s Sam Selkirk cleaned up the mess to equalize the score at 1-1.
Neither team could find a go-ahead goal late in regulation and the teams headed to extra time. The first fifteen minutes of extra time saw hesitation from both sides to risk giving up a counter strike and so the teams remained tied at 1-1 after 105 minutes.
Ryerson had a chance in the 114th minute to put themselves back on top but a diving defensive effort from Laurentian’s Allison Pilon negated the chance.
On the final play of extra time, Laurentian delivered a free kick into the Rams 18-yard box. Sarah Sanford was left unmarked and capitalized, heading home the game-winning goal just before the final whistle blew.
In what can only be described as a heartbreaking finish, the 2017 season was still an extremely successful one for the young Rams squad. The experience gained this year will go a long way for the future of the program.