Antigonish, NS – The StFX X-Women opened the AUS season with a 2-0 shutout victory over the UPEI Panthers. Both X-Women goals came in the second half of play.
There was early pressure in the opening minutes for the X-Women as veteran midfielder Mercy Myles (Accra, Ghana) was key for carrying possession for StFX. The All-Canadian midfielder fed freshman forward Brittany Pigat (Barrie, ON) a nice ball six minutes into the game but Panthers keeper Amanda Stanyer (Port Coquitlan, BC) was there to scoop up the save.
UPEI had limited time in the StFX end of the field in the opening 15 minutes of play but their defenders were calm in their own end in holding off the StFX attack.
StFX's Amanda Smith (Ottawa, ON) dodged a pair of UPEI defenders to fire off a low shot in the 28th minute but Stanyer was there for the save.
The Panthers forwards were unable to penetrate through the X defense and did not have any significant scoring opportunities until the 43rd minute when Amanda Isenor (Carrolls Corner, NS) sent a ball high and wide past the StFX net.
Veteran fifth year Panthers defenders Danielle Younker (Charlottetown, PE) and Jennifer Balderston (Conrnwall, PE) were key for UPEI in the opening half in holding off the X-Women forwards and keeping the game scoreless up until halftime.
The X-Women split goalkeepers in the contest as first year keeper Christina Gentile (Laval, QC) played the opening half and Alyssa Spridgeon (Whitby, ON), an NCAA transfer, played the second half.
StFX continued to dominate possession in the second half and had a few early scoring chances in the opening five minutes. Forwards Pigat and Smith each had shots on net but couldn't find the back of the mesh.
Following a scramble in front of the Panthers net after a StFX corner kick in the 52nd minute, Myles kicked a quick ball on net and had Stanyer beat but not the cross bar as it dinged off the top rung.
The Panthers best chance came minutes later off their own corner kick but McCloskey's low shot was wide of the X-Women net.
UPEI adjusted in the second half and began to gain more of the possession and find space in the StFX zone.
For the X-Women, Myles continued her strong midfield play as the home team pressured to score the go ahead goal. StFX forward Melanie Belong (Moncton, NB) was close to knocking in a loose ball in the 64th minute but once again the veteran Panthers defenders were able to clear it.
Myles persistence finally paid off as she footed a long pass deep into the Panthers zone and plowed through the UPEI defence to fire a low shot past Stanyer in the 69th minute.
Just five minutes later wingback Catherine Kennedy (Antigonish, NS) gave the X-Women a two goal lead as her corner kick was deflected into the Panthers net on an own goal.
The X-Women continued their strong play throughout the later part of the second half. Midfielder Shyanne Hedges (Calgary, AB) almost gave the X-Women a 3-0 lead but her quick, high shot went just wide of the Panthers net.
UPEI was unable to mount any counterattack as the X-Women defense did not allow any further quality scoring chances to the visitors and held onto the 2-0 victory.
Balderston earned player of the game honours for the Panthers, while Myles was the Subway player of the game for her strong play for StFX.
The X-Women will be back in action on Sunday as they host the UNB Reds in a 1:00 pm game. The Panthers are also in action on Sunday as they travel to Sydney to play the Cape Breton Capers.
Courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Athletics