Mwasalla scores 10th of season, adds assist as Griffins win seventh in a row, 2-0 over MRU

Grace Mwasalla scored a goal and added an assist on Saturday (Rebecca Chelmick photo).
Grace Mwasalla scored a goal and added an assist on Saturday (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Grace Mwasalla became the first Griffins player to reach double digits in goals in a single Canada West season as she scored the game-winner and added as assist to lead MacEwan past Mount Royal University 2-0 on Saturday.

The second year forward/midfielder notched her 10th of the season in the 14th minute and extended her program single season record that she set six days earlier during a four-goal game at Winnipeg. 

"Incredible," marvelled MacEwan defender Anneke Odinga after the match. "I couldn't be prouder of her, especially to be her teammate. We have three more games, so I'm hoping we can get her some more and break some records."

Mwasalla is two back of UBC's Danielle Steer for the Canada West goal scoring lead and is tied for fifth in points.

"Quality finish," said head coach Dean Cordeiro. "That puts her at 10 on the year. She's just in great form right now. She also set up the second goal – great ball right before the conclusion of half to Alyx Henderson, who slotted it so brilliantly. 

"On the first goal, it can't go unmentioned that Maya Morrell completely shredded the left side the field and got her defender 1v1 and she ended up doing a step over meg before setting up Grace for what ended up being a nice slotted finish."

The victory is MacEwan's seventh in a row, moving them to 9-2-0 on the season as they continue to close in on locking up top spot in the Canada West's Prairie Division. MRU falls back to .500 at 5-5-1.

"We keep building off this – another win towards our goal," said Cordeiro. "We want to secure first place in the Prairies and we're getting closer. It's one game at a time. Now we've got to prep, recover, and get ourselves ready for a good Lethbridge team. 

"Credit MRU today," he added of a well-played match on both sides that saw the Griffins outshoot the Cougars 15-12 (7-3 on goal). "It's always a battle. They did very well. In games like this, sometimes it's splitting hairs. Fortunately for us, we were able to get the goals we needed to secure the three points."

MRU had some chances, most notably in the 61st minute when Athena Fourlas cut across the face of the box and set up Anisha Amiri for a golden chance from 10 feet out, but she chipped it over the bar.

Alyx Henderson and Maya Morrell embrace after Henderson scored the insurance marker late in the first half Saturday (Rebecca Chelmick photo).

Perhaps the turning point of the game came just before half-time when star midfielder Erin Van Dolder was taken down hard by MRU goalkeeper Lizzy Knight at the side of the box. Unfortunately, she was unable to return and was later spotted in a walking boot.

But, the injury galvanized the Griffins, who were determined to make Knight pay. While they didn't score on the ensuing free kick, they hemmed in the Cougars and tallied on the next play. Mwasalla's pass into the box deflected off a defender and Alyx Henderson charged onto it, blasting the ball past the MRU keeper.

"It was good that we really rallied behind Erin and were able to get the goal for her," said Odinga. "Now, we had that pressure off of us for the rest of the game and were just able to get the win for her."

Odinga played an inspired 90 minutes, controlling the play from the back line, and was named MacEwan's player of the game.

"She's next level out there," said Cordeiro. "She doesn't get enough love for the stuff she does out there. She's driving plays, serving balls in, making stops … what a performance out there for Anneke, our POG."

Bianca Castillo earned her fifth shutout of the season with three saves.

Next up, the Griffins will host Lethbridge on Sunday (2 p.m., Clarke Stadium, Canada West TV).

Anna McPhee and Bianca Castillo celebrate on Saturday (Rebecca Chelmick photo).