Rookies Harper, Fownes score first career goals as Griffins punish Pronghorns 4-0

Ella Fownes scores MacEwan's second goal past Lethbridge keeper Bridie Harding on Saturday (Joel Kingston photo).
Ella Fownes scores MacEwan's second goal past Lethbridge keeper Bridie Harding on Saturday (Joel Kingston photo).

Jason Hills
For MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON — Hannah Harper and Ella Fownes played many years of youth soccer together, forging many great memories, and on Saturday afternoon the two MacEwan Griffins rookies created a memory they'll likely never forget.

Harper and Fownes scored their first-career Canada West goals in a dominant 4-0 victory over the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns at Clareview Field.

Alyx Henderson and Grace Schimpf also scored for the Griffins who improved to 5-0-0 this season.

It was a big statement win, as they outshot Lethbridge 42-2 (21-1 on goal) as the Griffins showed off their relentless attack as well as their lock down defence.

The Griffins matched program records with shots on goal in a single-game (21) and corner kicks (14) in the victory.

"It means everything to be able to share this experience with her," said Fownes.

"We played youth (soccer) together for a long time. To be able to be here and play with her, it means a lot to me."

Fownes' goal in the 20th minute gave the Griffins a 2-0 lead and was also assisted by her long-time friend and teammate.

"We ran a different corner (play) that we've been working on and Hannah was able to get a good kick on (net)," said Fownes.

"I was in the back, and able to get a touch off the goalie and I just tried to hit as hard as I could into the back of the net."

Harper gave MacEwan the early 1-0 lead in the 10th minute when she was able to re-direct the free kick from Abbey Wright from distance and beat the outstretched hands of Pronghorns goalkeeper Bridie Harding, who made 15 saves in the loss.

"I saw it was going to go over everyone, the girl let me stay a little behind them, and once it went over them, I knew I was going to get something on it," said Harper.

"It great ball from Abbey. I saw the ball go over everyone's head and just redirected it back in. It was a great feeling all around.

"It was just insane (effort) from everyone. We knew coming into this game, we were going to have to press hard and attack their back line, and that's exactly what we did. We ran to the corners, got balls in the box and several players (attacking) the box, and had tons of volume on net and that's how you score goals."

Hannah Harper scored the first goal of her Canada West career and added an assist. Her 10th-minute tally stood up as the game-winner (Joel Kingston photo).

Henderson made it 3-0 late in the first half when she ripped home a perfect feed from Schimpf in the 42nd minute. She finished with a match-high seven shots, all in the first half.

MacEwan held a commanding lead after the first half and while they were only able to extend their margin of victory by one more goal in the second half, they continued to attack with relentless pressure.

"There were some very good performances today. We always say we're going to get better every day, and I think as this season progresses we're seeing that. I'm proud of the team," said MacEwan head coach Dean Cordeiro.

"To get the game's first two goals this year from Hannah Harper and Ella (Fownes) was pretty special. They're going to be really good for us, and they're going to be big contributors for us the rest of the year and over their careers."

Defensively, they held the Pronghorns to just two shots, only one on target as Sabrina Alexander picked up her fifth win of the season, matching Emily Burns' program rookie record from 2015. Kate Prince was subbed in the 78th minute and shared the clean sheet.

"We want to really attack our opponents and come in waves, but always have defence on our minds. I'm very proud of our effort on both sides of the pitch," said Cordeiro.

"We're trying to play front foot football and not let teams hang around, because then we have a fight on our hands. It was nice to break this game open early. This game, we kind of sent a message."

Schimpf would finish off the Griffins' scoring attack with a beautiful goal off an 85th-minute corner kick that went straight in – her first of the campaign and sixth of her career.

MacEwan scored two goals off of their 14 corner kick opportunities.

"That's been preached a lot by the coaching staff that we have those (corner kick) opportunities. We have the players able to get balls in and we haven't been able to finish them, but to be able to finish them today shows our growth," said Fownes.

"I think we found our mojo in this game, and it's coming at the right time with the Dinos game tomorrow. It's mid-season now, and we're finding our rhythm and now we just have to continue to grow."