ANTIGONISH, NS – There will be a new champion in AUS women's soccer. In a rematch of the 2016 AUS final, the fourth seeded Acadia Axewomen defeated the fifth seeded StFX X-Women 2-0 Thursday afternoon at StFX Oland Stadium in the first AUS quarter-final game.
The opening half of the game saw early pressure from the Axewomen as they controlled possession of the ball. Acadia had a pair of early free kicks from 25 yards out but were stopped by the StFX defense.
Brittany Taylor (Calgary, AB) and Jenna Boudreau (Halifax, NS) almost connected for a goal 28 minutes into the game but Taylor's shot went wide of the StFX net.
The Axewomen had their best scoring chance of the first half 35 minutes in as Katie Ross' (Bedford, NS) shot from 30 yards out rang off the cross bar. The ball found its way to the feet of Boudreau who didn't get her full weight behind the rebound and X-Women keeper Erin Visser (Whitby, ON) made the save.
Ross, who was dangerous on most touches of the ball throughout the half, had another good shot on goal near the end of the half as Visser came up with another save.
On the other end of the field Acadia keeper Spencer Skinner (Hammonds Plains, NS) wasn't tested by the X-Women attack in opening half as they struggled to break the ball through to their forwards with the Acadia press.
The StFX back three defenders were kept busy in the opening half, as were AUS all-star midfielders Larissa White Westphal, NS) and Mercy Myles (Accra, Ghana) in midfield.
With shots 13-1 in favor of the Axewomen, the game remained scoreless at halftime.
The second half saw the Axewomen get on the scoreboard in the 50th minute on a penalty shot. X-Women defender Amy Rowe (Aurora, ON) took down Boudreau in the box and the officials awarded a penalty kick.
Veteran fifth year all-star midfielder Katie Ross stepped up and deposited a low shot past a diving Visser to give them a 1-0 lead.
The second Acadia goal came just six minutes after as a mistimed StFX pass led to a turnover deep in the X-Women zone. Consecutive Acadia shots on goal and a scramble in front of the X crease led to a high strike by Boudreau into the open net.
The X-Women came right back with a scoring chance of their own as Myles crossed the ball in front to Olivia Czipf (Thunder Bay, ON) who kicked a hard shot on net and Skinner came up with a big diving save.
StFX continued to generate pressure in the second half with Myles and fellow AUS all-star Chloe Brennan (Brookside, NS) getting some balls through to the strikers for scoring opportunities.
In the 74th minute Kelsey Ellis (Ottawa, ON) connected with Brennan had a strong shot on goal that just grazed the side of the net. Minutes later Brennan had another chance as Margaux Fraser (Mississauga, ON) got the ball through to her but her low shot was handled by Skinner.
The X-Women continued to pressure in the final 15 minutes of play looking for a goal as Fraser and second half substitute Megan Frost (Ottawa, ON) worked well together down the wing.
A StFX corner kick resulted in the ball being ping-ponged around in front of the Acadia goal but it stayed out of the net. With seven minutes left to play, Skinner came out to play the ball on a Fraser shot, and the rebound came to Czipf who sent the ball just high above the cross bar.
The Axewomen looked to put away the game as Rachelle Aucoin (Cheticamp, NS) won a battle with the ball against an X-Women defender and lipped a short lob shot over the keeper Visser and just over the StFX cross bar. She had another shot with minutes to play but it went wide.
The Acadia back four, led by Rachel Cunningham (Dartmouth, NS) and AUS first all-star Emily Nickerson (Berwick, NS) were aggressive and did well to fend off the StFX attack.
The time expired on the game and the X-Women season as Acadia held on for the 2-0 win, punching their ticket to the AUS semifinals on Saturday. They will await the result of the UNB-Dalhousie quarterfinal to see how the match-ups play out against the top-seeded Cape Breton Capers and second seeded Memorial Sea-Hawks.
Striker Jenna Boudreau was named Subway player of the game for the Axewomen, while StFX midfielder Olivia Czipf received the same honour for StFX.