Griffins net fourth-straight win, a 2-1 triumph over MRU on Henderson's late game-winner

Maya Morrell launches a ball under pressure from a MRU defender on Sunday (Ellery Platts photo).
Maya Morrell launches a ball under pressure from a MRU defender on Sunday (Ellery Platts photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

-With files from MRU Athletics

CALGARY – Super sub Alyx Henderson scored the game-winner in the 82nd minute as the MacEwan Griffins fought off a valiant challenge from the Mount Royal University Cougars to post a 2-1 win in Canada West women's soccer action on Sunday.

Henderson started the game but was subbed out in the 61st minute only to be inserted back into the lineup just a minute before playing hero.

"We had a feeling we had to get her back in," said Griffins head coach Dean Cordeiro. "She played predominantly wing for this game and did a lot of good things for us. She's been a clutch player. She scores big goals and no bigger than the one today."

On the play, Henderson pressured MRU goalkeeper Lizzy Knight into a tough spot and stole the ball when a defender tripped before slotting it into the net.

"It was a very inspiring goal," said Cordeiro of his game MVP. "She went above and beyond to make a play for her team."

It was an important result for the Griffins, who entered the game just two points ahead of the Cougars for top spot in the Prairie Division. With the win, their fourth-straight, MacEwan improved to 6-2-0, while dropping MRU to 4-3-1, giving them a five-point cushion on them and keeping them three up on Saskatchewan (4-2-3) atop the divisional table.

"We're in good form right now," said Cordeiro, whose program now holds an 13-0-2 record against MRU since joining Canada West in 2014. "We want to be trending in that direction. We talked yesterday that was the midway point – the Lethbridge result – so the second half of the season is underway. MRU was right behind us in the standings, so it was a big victory on the road to give us more separation on the table. That's what we want." 

MacEwan had to rally to get the 'W' on Sunday as the Cougars shocked the defending U SPORTS champions by taking an early 1-0 lead.

Kareena Kassam capitalized off a pass from Athena Fourlas in the 12th minute to set the table for a game script that had MacEwan chasing.

"I think they had two shots in the first half, but they found one on a broken play," said Cordeiro. "We made a couple mistakes, and they punished us. They got one and it's always a different game when you've got to come from behind. So, it was gut-check time. Fortunately for us, it was massive to get the goal right before half."

Hannah Supina streaked up the left side in the 42nd minute and beat Fourlas to get a low cross in that Grace Mwasalla redirected into the net for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.

Hannah Supina was solid defensively and netted an assist on the Griffins' first goal of the game (Ellery Platts photo).

MacEwan thought they'd taken the lead in the 73rd minute when Abbey Wright's header off an Erin Van Dolder corner appeared to cross the line.

"It looked like it went in," said Cordeiro. "I've got to see the replay, but it looked like the goalkeeper pulled it out. There was a melee, scramble, the ref pointed to centre to indicate a goal, but there was a foul called after the fact. 

"It was a little bit of a bizarre play, but we didn't let that be a downer, we didn't let that deter us from our goal. We stuck with it, and we broke through about 10 minutes later, which was nice to see."

Breanna Truscott made three saves for her second win of the season.

Next up for the Griffins is a road trip east for games at Manitoba on Oct. 1 (11 a.m. MT) and at Winnipeg Oct. 2 (10 a.m. MT, both Canada West TV).

"We've got some important matches upcoming in Winnipeg," said Cordeiro. "We're going to take it one day at a time and continue to try to get some separation. It was another day of strong performances across the board. We'll keep champing at the bit here."