Antigonish, NS - The StFX X-Women opened the season their 2018 season with a hard-fought 3-2 home victory against the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleues Saturday afternoon at Oland Stadium.
The X-Women started the match in the ascendency with precision passing and aggressive play. In the ninth minute of play X made their good play count on the scoreboard. The X-Women calmly made their way up the field when Mercy Myles (Accra, Ghana) made a brilliant deke inside the box and found Kelsey Ellis (Ottawa, ON) alone in front; Ellis clamly chipped the ball past Moncton keeper, Dominique Leblanc (Dieppe, NB).
The X-Women continued to put pressure on the Moncton net with right winger Meghan Frost (Ottawa, ON) missing just wide. Rookie Amanda Smith (Ottawa, ON), who was impressive throughout the match, hit the post. Moncton gradually gained a foothold in the game and a StFX foul gave the Aigles Bleues a free-kick from 20 yards from goal after just over 20 minutes of play. Julie Gaudet (St-Hubert, QC) stepped up and her strike forced X-Women keeper, Emma Kuzmyk (Cookstown, ON) to punch the ball over the bar.
Two minutes before half-time StFX doubled their lead when Myles made another nice move in the box and shot and scored on the near side. The goal was set up by Chloe Brennan (Brookside, NS) who made a surging run with the ball and then made a nice pass to Myles.
The second half saw the introduction of Moncton's leading goal scorer from last year, Catherine Dupuis (St-Mathias, QC) who gave the Aigles Bleues the positivity and an extra level of skill that led to frequent threats at the X-Women goal. Just like StFX in the first half, it took nine minutes for them to score. Adele Cormier (Grand Barachois, NB) worked some nice one-two passes with Dupuis in the build up to the goal. Dupuis fired a shot from close range and Cormier collected the rebound and deposited it into the X net.
After 60 minutes of play Ellis's second goal of the game re-established the X-Women's two-goal cushion. StFX captain Olivia Cziph (Thunder Bay, ON) made a darting run and then found Myles just outside the box. Myles put herself into a great scoring position and fired a low shot that was blocked, but the rebound found X striker Ellis's boot.
The two-goal lead would not last long and seven minutes later Moncton capitalized on a StFX foul. Julie Gaudet's brilliant free kick found the head of none other than Catherine Dupuis and the StFX net.
The two teams traded chances for the remainder of the game as both teams great passing put the defenders to the test. The most dangerous moment for StFX came in the 81st minute when Cormier and Dupuis were just about to start a two-on-one against StFX when central defender Amy Rowe (Aurora, ON), but she anticipated the play and made a timely clearance to avert the danger and help the X-Women preserve the goal victory.
The Aigles Bleues player of the game was fifth year defender Emilie Naugle (Shedica, NB), while the Subway Player of the Game was StFX's fifth year veteran forward Chloe Brennan.
The X-Women are right back in action Sunday as they host the UNB Reds in Antigonish at 1:00 pm. The Aigles Bleues travel to Sydney to face the Capers on Sunday, also at 1:00 pm.
Courtesy Bart Sears, StFX Sports Information