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Huskies foil Bisons in women's soccer opener

The Huskies' women's soccer team won their U Sports opener against the Bisons

SASKATOON — University of Saskatchewan women’s soccer coach Jerson Berandica said he hoped his Huskies would not lose focus and would play with the same intensity the entire game.

“We wanted to be aggressive and control ball possession for most of the time and our girls did that well in the first 25 minutes,” said Berandica.

“And we scored three goals. But in the second half, we stopped doing that and then we didn’t kind of find our rhythm to continue attacking like in the first half.”

The scoring trifecta in the first half, however, was enough as the Huskies escaped with a 3-2 win over the visiting University of Manitoba Bisons in their season opener Friday night at the Griffiths Stadium.

Taneil Gay opened-up the scoring for the Huskies in the 11th minute. She received a pass from midfielder Payton Iszak and launched a rocket at about 90 yards that caught Bisons’ goalie Karina Bagi by surprise. Iszak made it 2-0 after four minutes.

The women from Manitoba had several chances to tie the game but the Huskies’ defence tightened every time they tried to attack with keeper Jadyn Steinhauer working double time at the net and completing several saves.

May Gabruch gave the Huskies their third goal in the 32nd minute as the veteran forward was left open and easily tapped the ball after Jade Houmphanh’s shot attempt bounced off the goal post.

Bianca Cavalcanti scored on a penalty shot in the 32nd to avoid the Bisons being shut out in the first half. Both teams had eight shots on goal with Steinhauer having six saves while Bagi had five in the first half.

Alexandria Paul added another goal in the 60th. Steinhauer got a piece of Paul’s shot but the ball hit her fingertips.

The Huskies worked double time in challenging every ball possession by the Bisons. The strong winds that reached more than 20 km/hr affected the direction of the ball.

Berandica said that aggressiveness is not what the Huskies lacked in the second half.

“I think they just need to be more patient and be composed with the ball, to switch in the field a bit more. We are really direct, but we tend to lose the ball too easily,” he said.

“We did well, they were really energetic, and excited to play at home for the first time in two years. We scored three goals at the beginning but as the game goes on, we kind of lose our rhythm. [Saturday] we’re going to review this game and we hope to continue to play like what we did in the first 30 minutes.”