Matt Johnson, Huskie Athletics
SASKATOON – A last minute marker allowed the University of Manitoba Bisons women's soccer team to come away with a 1-1 tie after battling the Saskatchewan Huskies, on Sunday, Sept. 9, at Field 7 inside Nutrien Park.
"We have big confidence in the group, and I think the girls have huge confidence in themselves and are disappointed when we tie a game, especially at home," said Huskie head coach Jerson Barandica-Hamilton. "But it's just the process, I think we had a lot of opportunities against a good defending team, and now we just need to learn how to close out those last minutes in a game to maximize the points we can get."
The match provided the Huskies with their second draw of the season, while the tie for the Bisons allows them to head home with a successful road swing under their belt after their 2-1 victory the afternoon before in Regina.
Cassidy Hayward scored the lone goal for the Huskies, her first in the green and white. Meanwhile, Bruna Mavignier played hero for Manitoba, as her late goal allowed her club to come away with a point.
Huskies goalkeeper Jadyn Steinhauer was tested early in the match, as she made an outstanding save on Alanna Shaw in the first minute, keeping the game knotted at zeroes.
Minutes later, Maya Gabruch made a fantastic run down the wing, working her way through multiple Manitoba defenders, but her curling strike narrowly missed wide.
Saskatchewan continued to pour on the pressure when Taneil Gay and the Huskies hopped on the counter-attack after a Bisons corner-kick. Gay delivered a beautiful ball but it was fired high by Hannah Gannitsos-Clark, who was looking for her second goal in as many days.
Gay continued to have her way with the Bisons backline in the 11th minute, but her strike from inside the box was wired into the waiting arms of Manitoba keeper Maddie Wilford.
After a Jacqueline Altrogge foul in the 24th minute just yards outside the area, Steinhauer made another strong stop off of Gabrielle Clark's crack on the free-kick.
The match remained scoreless until the 68th minute when a free-kick from Hannah Zdunich-Costa was whipped in. The bouncing ball inside the box found the foot of second-half substitute Hayward who made no mistake with the opportunity. The first-year forward from Saskatoon, snuck her header past the outstretched arms of Wilford, registering her first Canada West goal and putting the Huskies up 1-0.
Hayward was looking for more in the 84th minute but was unable to give the Huskies a two-goal lead, as her right-footed rocket ran high.
The Bisons were able to rescue a point right near the end of the game, as Bisons forward Mavignier netted a massive tying goal in the 90th minute, finding the top corner off a cross from Machaela Burdney, which knotted the match up at one goal apiece.
Bisons head coach Vanessa Martinez Lagunas was ecstatic regarding her club's resilience.
"I just felt that our girls never gave up, they had the belief that they could make it happen, and I'm just so proud of them that they fought until the last minute and that they got the equalizer," Martinez Lagunas said.
Despite not being able to pick up the clubs first win of the 2018 campaign, Barandica-Hamilton remains pleased with the Huskies development.
"The little bit of the disappointment from the weekend is that we were in the lead in both games and just couldn't close it out, but that's a characteristic of a young group. As coaches, we have to be patient with their learning curve, as long as we show growth every week," said Barandica-Hamilton
Saskatchewan will hit the road for a western swing next week, where they will take on the MacEwan Griffins on Sept. 14 at 6:00 p.m., then heading into Prince George to play the UNBC Timberwolves on Sept. 16 at 11:00 a.m.
While the Manitoba Bisons will play host for the first time this season, with the Trinity Western Spartans and Fraser Valley Cascades traveling into Winnipeg to take the pitch on Sept. 14 and Sept. 15, with both matches getting underway at 6:00 p.m.