(HALIFAX, N.S.) The UNB Varsity Reds women's soccer team won their first ever AUS championship game, beating the Acadia Axewomen 2-1 on Dalhousie's Wickwire Field. They are into the finals for the first time in the team's 19-year history.
There were a flurry of chances by both sides in the first half. Axewomen keeper Caroline Wood came up with a huge save on a UNB breakaway in the 24th minute to keep the game scoreless.
In the second half, Lauren Cubbon broke through the Axewomen defense on the right side and placed a sailing chip shot perfectly past a sprawling Wood to give the Varsity Reds a 1-0 lead in the 48th minute. Laura McNicholas added to the Varsity Reds lead just eight minutes later when she headed in a goal off a cross in the 56th minute.
The Axewomen were down but not out, and Meghan Earle scored in the 66th minute to infuse some life into her squad as they made it a one goal game. The Axewomen continued to push, but they just couldn't manage to even the game as the Varsity Reds went on to win 2-1.
Cubbon, who was awarded Player of the Game for the Varsity Reds, says she's looking forward to getting back on the field tomorrow.
"It's a new game," she said. "We're going to be very confident again. Hopefully we can put a few more in the net."
UNB head coach Jonathan Crossland says that although the V-Reds didn't come out and play the first half the way they had intended, it was good to see the squad come back out pick it up in the second half like they've done throughout the season.
"We found a couple ways to score goals off things we spent a lot of time on, so it was rewarding that way," Crossland said.
Crossland also pointed to strong play from the V-Reds defence, particularly from Laura McNicholas who had the game-winning second goal.
"The back line was resilient. They came at us in the last 25 minutes," Crossland said. "Laura was good. She's brave. There's no moment too big for her, which is good under pressure. She's a gamer. She'll do whatever it takes. So a lot of girls had to pay some prices here in the last 25 minutes, but it's rewarding."
Back in net for the Varsity Reds was Sami Jo Bell, who returned for her first game since suffering an injury earlier in the regular season.
The Varsity Reds will take on the winner of the second semifinal game featuring the Memorial Sea-Hawks and the Cape Breton Capers in the 2014 Subway AUS Championship final tomorrow at 2:00pm at Wickwire Field. The match can be seen live via webcast at www.AUStv.ca.
With files from Dalhousie Sports Information