Reds End Panthers Playoff Hopes

Reds' midfield Paige Wilson challenges for a ball during Sunday's 2-1 victory at UPEI. (Photo: Thomas Becker/for UPEI Athletics)
Reds' midfield Paige Wilson challenges for a ball during Sunday's 2-1 victory at UPEI. (Photo: Thomas Becker/for UPEI Athletics)

(CHARLOTTETOWN, PE) The UNB Reds used a powerful surge during a three-minute stretch to take down the UPEI Panthers 2-1 on Sunday afternoon.


Danika Lefebvre (Fredericton, NB) and Madison Goertz (Saskatoon, SK) scored in the 24th and 26th minutes respectively as the Reds held on against the Panthers' attack and eliminated them from Atlantic University Sport playoff contention.


"It feels great to get the win," said Goertz, who was named the Subway Player of the Game. "It's been a tough go with the teams that we faced and we're just trying to put the pieces together to get a good seed in the playoffs."


For Reds head coach Jon Crossland, he was just relieved to escape Charlottetown with three points, especially against a desperate opponent fighting for their playoff life.


"That UPEI team improved a lot from the last time we played them. It's hard to play against a team who has everything to play for and nothing to lose," he said.


The Panthers showed early on that they could compete with the playoff contending Reds, but the stronger team broke through first. In the 24th minute, Goertz fired a low shot that was misplayed by UPEI goalkeeper Julie Ann Reid (River Ryan, NS), as the ball passed through her hands to Lefebvre for an easy tap in.


Just two minutes later, Paige Wilson (Fredericton, NB) headed a beautiful cross from Cierra Thomas (London, ON) to Goertz, who fired it past Reid to extend the lead 2-0.


As pressure was mounting late in the half, UPEI midfielder Sarah Eden (Ottawa, ON) sent a cross from the right side, past the defence, to Caitlyn McCloskey (North Wiltshire, PE), who shot the ball off the keeper for her fifth goal of the season.


Knowing the home team had nothing to lose, the Reds defence buckled down in the second half and limited their opponent's chances. In a last ditch effort, the Panthers sent everyone, including the goalie, to the 18-yard box hoping to find the equalizer off a corner kick. The ball bounced several times before UNB cleared it to safety, earning the hard fought win and inching closer to a playoff berth.


"It's a good win going into Thanksgiving," Crossland said. "But we're still fighting for a playoff spot and we have to continue to be the best us."


The Reds next action comes Friday, October 18th, when they visit Mount Allison. The Panthers next game is a day later, on October 19th, whey they travel to Saint Mary's.


RECAP AND PHOTOS BY: Thomas Becker/for UPEI Athletics