Mwasalla, Paquin lead record-setting day for Griffins in 7-1 bashing of Wesmen

Grace Mwasalla scored four goals on Sunday against Winnipeg (David Larkins photo).
Grace Mwasalla scored four goals on Sunday against Winnipeg (David Larkins photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

WINNIPEG, Man. – Records fell on a dominant day for the MacEwan Griffins women's soccer team Sunday.

Grace Mwasalla scored the fastest hat trick in program history (13:42) and added a fourth goal to tie the Griffins' single match record, while Brenna Paquin broke the assists mark with three helpers as MacEwan beat Winnipeg 7-1 in Canada West action.

Paquin also added a goal in just a single half of work – coming on at half-time – to join Mwasalla as two of only four players in the Griffins' U SPORTS history to produce four-point outings.

In addition, Mwasalla now has nine goals on the season, breaking Suekiana Choucair's single season Canada West record of eight set during the 2016 campaign.

"They stepped up in a huge way," said head coach Dean Cordeiro. "What a stat-line for one half of play for Brenna today. And Grace didn't even play the full 90 today. We subbed her out with 11 minutes to go."

Mwasalla matched the Griffins' single-game goals record held by Salma Kamel, who scored four times in a contest against Mount Royal during the 2019 season. She's now just one goal behind UBC's Danielle Steer for the conference lead.

Her first on Sunday stood up as the game-winner.

"Grace Mwasalla started cooking for us," said Cordeiro. "Right before half-time on a nicely played corner kick by Erin Van Dolder, Grace got on the end of it. Now we're up 2-1."

That concluded a strange half for the Griffins where they dominated play but found themselves down 1-0 after a hand ball was charged against them in the 19th minute and Jazmyn Castro put the Wesmen ahead on the ensuing penalty kick. 

But the Griffins equalized in the 45th minute off an Abbey Wright free kick played to Anneke Odinga, who found Nikki Brodeur for her first goal of the season.

"That was big, we needed that one," said Cordeiro. "Nikki had come close a couple times earlier, so it was nice for us to get that one before the half."

The floodgates opened in the second half as Paquin found Mwasalla for her second of the game in the 57thminute before rookie Sophie Lavallee scored her first U SPORTS goal in the 58th after being played in alone by Van Dolder.

Sophie Lavallee scored her first U SPORTS goal in the 58th minute (David Larkins photo).

"She's been very good for us in the games she's played this year," said Cordeiro. "It's always nice to see players get their first goal. 

"When you get that first goal, it really opens things up. I suspect they're going to be scoring a few more goals the rest of the way for us. It was nice for them to break through today."

Mwasalla completed the hat trick in the 59th minute – MacEwan's third goal a span of two minutes and 20 seconds – on another helper from Paquin. 

The terrific second-year forward then made it 6-1 Griffins in the 63rd off a free kick from Abbey Wright that Paquin chipped off her head for Mwasalla to head into the back of the net.

Paquin then scored one of her own in the 88th minute to complete the scoring deluge off an Anna McPhee cross. Only five players in Canada West history have produced more points in a half than Paquin did.

Brenna Paquin had a goal and three assists in the second half for the Griffins on Sunday (David Larkins photo).

"We talk about game changers going in and changing the game and Brenna certainly did that," said Cordeiro. "She was all over the map just running that back line. She's always looking to pass first, so it was nice to see her score. That's her first career goal. Five minutes before she got played in all alone and the keeper made a great save on her. She was all over the game sheet, even getting a yellow card today, so quite a 45-minute performance for her."

Lost in all the multi-point performances was Van Dolder, who had two assists.

"She sometimes doesn't get enough love for the distribution that she does," said Cordeiro. "Erin's ability to distribute for us has been next level."

Now on a six-game winning streak to run their record to 8-2-0, the Griffins return home to face MRU on Oct. 8 (12 p.m., Clareview Field, Canada West TV).