By Thomas Becker
After scoring just three goals in the previous four games, the Panthers' offence broke through Saturday afternoon in a 3-1 win over the Saint Mary's Huskies.
Head coach Graeme McDonald's new two-striker system has opened the door for his speedy strikers, allowing for more scoring opportunities.
Forwards Sarah MacVarish and Tyffanie Bordage put pressure on the Huskies' (0-5) backline throughout the game and were all over the scoreboard. MacVarish led the way with two goals, while Bordage supported her with a goal of her own and two assists.
"We've been working well together up front," MacVarish said. "I'll pass it to her, she'll pass it to me and it's been easier getting through the defence."
Coming off a win at Mount Allison and a draw against Acadia, an undeniable confidence has been flowing through the clubhouse and it showed again on the field.
"I could feel there was a bounce in their step after two good results," McDonald said.
MacVarish, who earned her first start of the season, opened the scoring in the 6th minute on a nice through pass from Bordage for the early 1-0 advantage.
"Sarah has always been good getting behind defences with her speed and one of the areas she's improved in most is her decision making," McDonald said. "Now she's starting to become that all-around player for us."
The offence continued generating opportunities in the first half. In the 13th minute, midfielder Kristin Hood got free from her defender and fired a deep shot, but Ashley Blank made a diving save to keep her team alive.
However, the keeper wasn't as fortunate minutes later. On a corner set piece, the ball skipped to Bordage, who put the ball in the back of the net, extending the lead 2-0.
"Tyffanie was outstanding today," McDonald said. "With the two strikers I'm playing up front, they're both able to help each other out."
Not willing to give in, Huskies' Celina Cavadini cut the deficit in half on a 24th minute goal.
Kiki Ladd-Izzard had the best chance in the opening minutes of the second half, but missed tying the game by inches, hitting the left goalpost.
That missed opportunity opened the door for the Panthers (2-2-1) to take control of the game and they did just that. Two minutes later, Bordage battled her defender on a free ball and passed it through to MacVarish, who scored her fourth goal of the season, sealing the 3-1 final.
With the two-goal performance, MacVarish earned herself Subway Player of the Game honours.
The Panthers have a quick turnaround as they prepare to take on the UNB Varsity Reds in Fredericton on Sept. 24 at 1 p.m.