Ben Matchett, Dinos Communications
CALGARY – Amy Mikuska's penalty kick in the 81st minute stood up as the game-winner as the University of Calgary Dinos turned in a dominant performance in a 1-0 win over crosstown rival Mount Royal in Canada West women's soccer action Sunday at Dinosaur Field.
Despite holding a wide edge in possession and pressure, the Dinos had been unable to get one past MRU 'keeper Rose Hemans for more than 80 minutes, but their relentlessness paid off with a hand ball call against the Cougars in the top of the area with less than 10 minutes to play. Mikuska calmly stepped up to the spot and buried it inside the right post for her first of the season as the Dinos picked up three points to improve to 1-1-0 on the young campaign. Mount Royal falls to the equivalent 1-1-0 mark.
The late breakthrough came as the Dinos continued to put pressure on after limiting the Cougars' chances, led by a sterling effort from fifth-year defender Kayla Kreutzer, the Dinos' player of the game.
"It's easier to destroy than it is to create, and our job is to create," said Dinos head coach Troye Flannery after the win. "You have to be patient, and with that patience you have to be relentless in pursuit of your habits. If you stick to those, you're going to have success more times than not, and that's what we did today.
"I've known Amy for nine or 10 years, and I'm not sure I've ever seen her take a PK before," Flannery went on. "She had a fantastic game, and I'm very proud of her."
It was the Cougars who had the game's first chance, a nice effort from the left side that forced Dinos 'keeper Lauren Houghton back and to her left to make the save 10 minutes into the contest. After a brief flurry of activity in the Dinos' end, it was then all Calgary through the halftime whistle. The Dinos' best chance came in the 25th minute when Natalie Arnett found herself in all alone but was unable to bend the ball around Hemans. The Dinos out-shot the Cougars 12-2 in the opening 45, forcing Hemans to make three saves against just the one for Houghton.
The play was more balanced to begin the second half, but the Dinos were able to assert themselves and took control of the play as the game wore on, leading to the penalty kick in the final quarter hour. Final shots were 21-8 in favour of Calgary, which held a 12-4 advantage on corners. Hemans made six saves for MRU, with Houghton responding with four for the Dinos in her first shutout of the season.
Through two games on the Dinos' brand-new Dinosaur Field, Flannery said his team was adjusting well to the new dimensions and the more intimate setting after surrendering a late goal in a 2-1 loss to Alberta Saturday.
"It's well-documented this is a bit smaller than where we've played before, and we have to adjust. There are more set pieces, and we're a team that prefers to play on the ground, but we need to get back to little habits and details – get first contact and knockdowns. I thought the girls were absolutely fantastic in that regard today – we looked comfortable here today where we didn't yesterday."
The Dinos head on the road next week to face Victoria and UBC, while Mount Royal will enjoy its first home weekend of the season, hosting UBC Okanagan and Thompson Rivers.
Photo by David Moll