Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
CALGARY – As the ball clanged off the crossbar, Meagan Lemoine charged towards it and headed it into the back of the net to open the scoring just three minutes after the opening whistle on Saturday.
Although 87 minutes remained in the game against Mount Royal University, it was all the Griffins would need as they wrapped up a 2-0 victory for their fifth-straight win in Canada West women's soccer action.
It was also a special moment for Lemoine, as her 18th career tally broke the program record she shared with Suekiana Choucair for most Canada West regular season goals by a Griffin.
"What an accomplishment," said head coach Dean Cordeiro of the tally, scored off a rebound on Nikki Brodeur's shot. "It doesn't surprise me. Since she stepped foot at our university, Meagan has been an impactful player.
"What's special about her achieving that record at our university with her 18th goal is for portions of her career, she played at the back. In her first year she was a fullback predominantly for us and even this year she started as a fullback and has played anywhere we've needed. I'm very, very happy for her."
Maya Morrell added an insurance marker in the 75th minute as the Griffins improved to 6-1-0 on the season and moved just a point back of idle Calgary (6-1-1) for top spot in the Central Division. MRU falls to 3-5-1.
"Maya came in and changed the game for us at half-time, scored the insurance marker and was all over the pitch," said Cordeiro of the third-year forward who was named player of the game. "She was a handful for the opponent. I was very happy with her performance – same with Grace Mwasalla coming in and getting an assist on that goal."
Mwasalla played a through ball into Morrell, who juked out MRU goalkeeper Elizabeth Knight and slotted her first of the season.
Goalkeeper Bianca Castillo finished with seven saves for her fourth shutout of the season, while Knight also stopped seven for MRU.
"B's been in a great form, doing what we need from her back there," said Cordeiro. "She's a leader and has really performed well."
MacEwan improves to 9-0-2 in regular season matches (and 11-0-2 if you also count playoffs) against MRU since coming into Canada West in 2014.
However, Cordeiro noted the win wasn't easy as the Cougars pushed hard, particularly after going down 1-0 in the first half.
"I keep saying it, but every game is like a playoff game this time of year – every team's jockeying for a playoff position," he said. "It was tough today. It was a very tightly-contested match. There wasn't a lot of space to be had.
"Fortunately for us, we were able to break through for the opportunities that we needed and I expect tomorrow again to be a very tightly-contested match. We've got to be a little bit sharper tomorrow than we were today. If we play like we can for 90 minutes, we like our chances."
The teams will meet again on Sunday at MRU (1 p.m., Canada West TV presented by Co-op).