Rams earn draw after most promising game of season
TORONTO - Along with the cold breeze and the success of their Think Pink night for Breast Cancer Awareness, the dynamic between the Ryerson Rams and University of Toronto Varsity Blues at Downsview Park on Saturday evening was indescribable. Although the Rams did not gain the outcome they wanted by tieing the Varsity Blues 1-1, they played one of their best games of the season.
The Rams kept the pressure on early as a full unit in the first half. By controlling the play with quick passes, the Rams were able to get deep into the Blues’ zone. This continued throughout the game as the Rams made smart decisions to drop back in order to make the right touch, and bring smooth transitions to the field. Overall, the cross town rivals were equally squared off during the first half of play. Ryerson had one shot on target versus the Blues who had three heading into the second half. The only difference was that the Rams found a rhythm they had never experienced before.
Ryerson goalie Elisa Lapadula (Brampton, Ont.) made numerous saves throughout the game to keep the Rams confident on the front lines. She was truly ready for each challenge that came her way, whether it be off the corner kick, a breakaway chance, or a need for a dive, Lapadula was there for the Rams.
Alessia Carvalho (Newmarket, Ont.) continuously made great challenges for the Rams and helped control the field. She consistently moved forward, carrying the ball up the side of the field, and strongly crossing the ball a number of times to give the Rams further opportunities. Notably, Carvalho was there to contend, and helped motivate her teammates around her, while putting the pressure on the Blues.
In the second half of the game, the Rams really took advantage first, disallowing the ball to bounce, and then being that first touch in order to control the play over the Blues.
The goals did not come until late in the second half. The Rams took advantage of a free kick that lead to a cross and then a scramble in the front of the net. It wasn’t long before Anastasia Grekos (Toronto, Ont.) scored for the Rams in the 82nd minute. After putting in some serious effort all game, the energy on the field was a moment that the Rams will never forget.
Unfortunately, the Varsity Blues gave their last push and Natasha Klasios (Unionville, Ont.) scored for the Blues in the 89th minute to tie the game 1-1.
It was a heartbreaking finish for the Rams, as their fate in the standings now shifts to relying on the results from other teams, and not their own.
For Lapadula it was an emotional ending, but in a strong and proud way. “Looking back on the past games and the past season, we always had something to say at the end of the game, and I can honestly say that every player on and off the field gave 150%. They left it all on the field, and overcome the adversity, and at the end of the day it wasn’t the result we wanted, but I am so proud of these girls,” said Lapadula.
This was the Rams sixth draw of the season. Their records stands at 2-6-6 with a consistent showing of low scoring games.
“I know the season was very hard for us to score goals but aside from all of that, for tonight the best part of the game was when we realized that we are capable of more than what was shown in the standings this year. We are now definitely up and ready to contend for a better spot next year and win,” says Lapadula.
As a young team, the Rams are pleased with their improvements over the season.
Interim head coach Natalie Bukovec says, “Our home opener and tonight’s game was some of the best soccer that our program has played in a long time. The vibe in the change room was pretty positive, obviously it’s unfortunate but… we’re extremely pleased that the athletes believe in the process, same as we do.”
Looking forward, the Rams will fight for a win against Laurentian next Saturday for their second last regular season game.
“Laurentian is a team where we are familiar with them and we know how they play. It’s going to be a good match for us. Our soccer style matches theirs, so I am pretty confident we can do something special,” says Bukovec.
Kick off will be at 3:30 p.m. on October 20th versus Laurentian, and again on October 21st against Nipissing. Follow us on Twitter for live updates from Downsview Park.