Sept. 16 was a particularly good night for McGill soccer teams as both the Martlets (2–3) and Redbirds (1–1–2) recorded shutouts on home turf. The evening began with the Martlets winning 2-0 against the Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR)’s Patriotes and ended with the Redbirds taking a 1-0 win over the men’s team, marking their first victories of the season.
Emotions ran high during the Martlets’ game as the team witnessed several injuries, with two Martlets exiting the field during the first half: First-year midfielder Hana Yazdani injured herself after trying to retain the ball, then defender Ariel Carignan had to be carried off the field after a defensive play took a toll on her left leg, forcing the team to adapt quickly.
The Martlets struck first with fourth-year forward Thalia Krauth-Ibarz scoring early on in the first quarter, assisted by second-year Zoe Gardiner. The quick goal set the tone for the rest of the game. While there were several scoring opportunities for UQTR, they were swiftly denied by the Martlets’ defensive core and goaltender Sophie Guilmette.
The second half of the game saw a change in dynamics, with opportunities arising on both sides.
First-year winger Aaliyah Kamdar, however, sealed the deal for the Martlets with a second goal late in the game, triggering intense pressure from the Patriotes who remained unsuccessful.
Martlets’ head coach, Jose-Luis Valdes, emphasized the importance of continually improving as the season continues.
“[We need to work on] being consistent with what we want to do and establishing our game plan defensively, having a little bit more cohesion,” said Valdes in an interview with the The McGill Tribune.
Netminder Guilmette emphasized the importance of the team’s unity to this shutout victory at the Percival Molson Stadium.
“A big thing for us is just getting back together as a group, and that all of us stay focused on the game […] especially with injuries,” said Guilmette in an interview with the Tribune.
The second game of the night was marked by energy and tension for the Redbirds, starting right from the opening face-off. The beginning of the match seemed particularly defensive, with several opportunities for the Patriotes forcing McGill back on their heels. Right before half-time, the crossbar came to the rescue, preventing an opposing midfielder from opening the score. UQTR’s offensive play continued in the second half of the game, although their momentum waned. The Redbirds took advantage of this when first-year forward Pedro Gulli revived the game at 69 minutes with the lone goal off an assist from second-year Reese Carlow.
For Redbirds’ head coach Marc Mounicot, this match is part of a larger picture.
“Right now we are in the process. It’s not about winning, it’s about improving, and they do that quite well,” Mounicot told the Tribune.
Despite their efforts, the Patriotes left empty-handed and the Redbirds picked up their first win of the season.
The Redbirds then headed to Laval to face the Rouge et Or on Sept. 18, where they drew 1-1.
“We have to produce the same kind of performance,” Mounicot said. “We have done a lot of work over the last few weeks to absorb the pressure and the quality of the opposing teams.”
Moment of the Game: Ciociola kept calm during frantic final minutes of play and preserved victory for the Redbirds with a brilliant diving save.
Stat Corner: Redbirds’ goalkeeper Ludovyck Ciociola made five saves, while Martlets goalkeeper Sophie Guilmette made 10 saves, earning them each a shutout.
Quotable: “It’s our first game at goal, it definitely felt good! Especially coming into the game, we knew this was a team to beat because they play the way we want to play.” —Goaltender Sophie Guilmette