Oceanside United opened its Mid Island Women’s Soccer League regular season last Sunday in Campbell River robbing the Outlaws in a 2-1 win, but more important than the W says their coach was the way they earned it.
“It was an extremely hard-fought game under hot weather conditions, and with a very short bench it made it extremely difficult for us, especially late in the game,” OU skipper Dan Mahony said after.
Mahony is back for his fifth campaign guiding the high performance side, which is gunning for its fifth straight MIWSL title and fifth straight berth in the BCs.
“I was really pleased with how the team started,” he said, adding “we’ve been working on shadow play for the last couple weeks, and that was evident in our passing and the way the team moved off of the ball.”
The play of the game he said came in the dying minutes of the opening half with the game tied nil-nil when CR was awarded a penatly shot.
According to Mahony, longtime OU keeper Pam Richer read the shot, dove to her right “and made an outstanding save.” Centre back Taylor Mang then jumped in shouldered an Outlaw off the ball forcing the rebound shot to go wide.
“That save by Pam kept us in the game and it motivated her teammates,” said Mahony, adding “she had a stellar game — she was there when we needed her.”
Ten minutes into the second half veteran outside middy Sue Maltby sent a great through-ball to forward Natasha Collins who passed it over to Angelina Gastaldello, and one of OU’s most prolific scorers last year buried her team's first goal of the season for a 1-0 lead.
About 10 minutes after that outside right middy Caroline Mimnaugh threaded a pass to the right corner flag which Angelina got to, then beat the defender and delivered a cracker cross to a streaking Maltby who slotted it home from about 15 yards out to up to 2-0.
“At that time my bench was absolutely exhausted and in the last 25 minutes of the match the Outlaws mounted tremendous pressure with Richer coming up with a couple more saves of the huge variety.”
The Outlaws spoiled Richer's shutout bid with about 10 minutes remaining to cut it to 2-1 but that would be as close as they’d get.
“We weathered the onslaught and won,” chuckled Mahony. “It was an excellent win for our first game of the season, but far more importantly to me was the guts and determination the ladies showed in the last 25 minutes against a tremendous onslaught from the other team. They were exhausted, but each and every one of them dug deep from within which showed the pride they have in being a team that will bend but not break. That’s what I was most proud of.”
Oceanside United plays its MIWSL home opener at QB Rec Fields Sunday at high noon against the Nanaimo Wheaties.