Antigonish, N.S. - On a late second-half goal by freshman forward Holly O'Neill (St. John's, NL), the visiting Memorial Sea-Hawks (5-1-0) handed the StFX X-Women (3-1-2) their first regular season defeat in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) soccer action Sunday afternoon at StFX Stadium.
In the 88th minute, off an X-Women turnover in the offensive zone, the Sea-Hawks marched up the pitch, with a left-footed cross from Jane Pope (St. John's, NL) finding Jessie Noseworthy (St. John's, NL). The senior forward could not shake loose from defender Amy Rowe (Aurora, ON), but the loose ball came to O'Neill, whose strike beat X-Women goalkeeper Erin Visser (Whitby, ON), giving the Sea-Hawks the 2-1 win.
In a hard-fought opening half, X-Women midfielder Chloe Brennan (Brookside, NS) garnered the first quality scoring chance, after causing a Sea-Hawk turnover, but goalkeeper Taylor Doyle (Burnt Cove, NL) made the stop.
In the 11th minute, the visitors took the lead, on a great individual effort from freshman midfielder Nicole Torraville (St. John's, NL), who put a series of moves on the X-Women defenders before ripping a left-footed strike, inside the far post, beyond the outstretched arm of Visser.
Six minutes later, off a Sea-Hawk corner kick, Visser punched the ball away from traffic. After Memorial put it right back into the area, the junior X-Women backstop challenged and made the save on a Noseworthy header from in tight.
After a Sea-Hawk turnover, midfielder Olivia Czipf (Thunder Bay, ON) made a run into the offensive zone, before unleashing a hard strike that sailed over the crossbar behind Doyle.
On another Memorial corner kick, one of several in the first half, Visser was equal to the task, smartly poking away another scoring attempt.
In the 43rd minute, Ellis, after a nice run down the wing, made a nifty cross, which Doyle juggled before making the catch.
The Sea-Hawks led 1-0 at halftime.
Early in the second half, led by Alix Bruch (Calgary, AB), her team's player of the match, the X-Women carried the play.
After making a great run, off a Memorial turnover, the fifth-year senior midfielder fed Ellis, who put a solid strike, along the turf and inside the far post, in the 50th minute.
In the 63rd minute, the X-Women had an opportunity to take their first lead, but Doyle made the save, off a free kick, on a header from Mercy Myles (Accra, Ghana).
About 10 minutes later, StFX could not take advantage of a great free kick from defender Olivia Wilkie (Rosemere, QC).
In the 79th minute, Torraville tried for her second goal, but Visser gobbled up the free-kick from 30 yards.
After the O'Neill lead - and eventual game-winning goal - the X-Women were unable to mount a late challenge for the equalizer.
O'Neill received Subway player of the match honours.
The Sea-Hawks will be back in action Saturday, Oct. 15, at 1 p.m., when the Saint Mary's Huskies visit St. John's.
The X-Women will return to the pitch, on StFX Homecoming Weekend, when they host the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleues on Friday, Sept. 30. Game time is 5 p.m.