Graduating seniors drive Griffins to 4-0 victory over Pronghorns in final regular season home game

Samantha Gouveia heads in the Griffins' second goal of the game in a 4-0 victory over the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Sunday (Tia Schram photo).
Samantha Gouveia heads in the Griffins' second goal of the game in a 4-0 victory over the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Sunday (Tia Schram photo).

Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Graduating seniors Raeghan McCarthy and Samantha Gouveia put a capper on incredible Canada West careers by scoring big goals in their final regular season home game, leading the Griffins to a 4-0 victory over the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Sunday at Clarke Stadium.

On Senior Day for the MacEwan women's soccer team, complete with a special post-game celebration, the party started early as McCarthy scored the winner on a penalty kick in the 12th minute and they never looked back.

The goal was the eighth game-winner of her career, breaking the program record that fellow graduating senior Meagan Lemoine had tied a day earlier.

"Raeghan and Sammy got things going – our first two goals," said head coach Dean Cordeiro. "On a special day like this, you love to see it. Their last regular season home games and for them to have that memory is pretty special."

Gouveia headed in the insurance marker for the Griffins in the 26th minute off a header pass from Abbey Wright off Anna McPhee's corner kick. She was also instrumental in MacEwan's defensive efforts, which led to a three-save shutout for Breanna Truscott – the Griffins' sixth clean sheet of the season.

"Another 90-minute performance," said Cordeiro. "She just does whatever is needed. Heart and soul player, our captain, our leader. I'm proud of her efforts and how she's led this team."

Gouveia, McCarthy and Lemoine were joined by fellow graduating seniors Salma Kamel and Kaylin Hermanutz in being celebrated in a special ceremony on the field. Although the latter three didn't score, they all played a big part in a romp by the Griffins that included 33 shots, 15 of those on target.

"They all had major contributions," said Cordeiro. "You saw from minute 1 to the conclusion of the match, they were all within their positions contributing and making things happen. I was very proud of everything they've accomplished in their careers. They showed their quality today in a very exciting and emotional time for them.

"Most importantly, we got the result – a 4-0 victory. We can celebrate the right way now."

The victory, their eighth in a row, moves the Griffins to 9-1-0 on the campaign and sends them into a two-game showdown with Calgary (8-1-1) for top spot in the division next weekend. A minimum of a split in the Oct. 23-24 road series in Calgary would clinch top spot and a home playoff date for the Griffins.

Nikki Brodeur breaks free of the Lethbridge defence during Sunday's game. MacEwan had 33 shots (15 on target) in a complete team effort for their eighth-straight win of the season (Tia Schram photo).

Lethbridge falls to 1-9-0 and leaves Edmonton after getting outscored 12-0 in the weekend series.

They were put in a tough spot early on Sunday when Tory Clements was given a straight red card on a penalty in the box in the 12th minute. Not only did the Griffins score on the ensuing penalty, the Pronghorns were forced to play the final 78:42 a player short.

Goalkeeper Erin Gill made 11 saves to keep them alive, but the uphill battle was too much for the visitors.

The Griffins went up 3-0 on the final play of the first half in extra time when Taylor Sousa's seeing-eye shot from 30 yards out eluded traffic in front and found a home in the net inside the left post – the first goal of her Canada West career.

Maya Morrell capped MacEwan's scoring parade with her second of the season – a one-time under the bar off a pass from 76th minute sub Brenna Paquin, who recorded the first point of her Canada West career, and later hit the post in a solid attempt at MacEwan's fifth of the match.

"We had nine different goal scorers on the weekend, with four different goal scorers today," said Cordeiro. "Again, it's next person up.

"Everybody is just stepping up and this team is, honestly, so special. We've never had a team this deep and it's going to really help us when we need it most in the next couple of weeks as we see how everyone's contributing."