In the Niagara Knights Women's Soccer Program's (0-1, 4th OCAA West) season opener, the team battled but fell short losing 3-0 against the visiting Mohawk Mountaineers (1-0, 1st OCAA West).
Mohawk's Cassandra Vanderlaan opened up the scoring for the game in the 18th minute after the Knights couldn't mark on a free kick by the Mountaineers. Niagara managed to keep things close for most of the half despite being outshot, but with two minutes to go before half-time, Mohawk buried their second goal of the game to take a two-goal lead into the half.
The second half was a much better performance for the Knights, as they began to put together a better offensive attack. The team seemed to have much better chemistry with one another, something that was lacking in the first half. However, a miscue by the Knights in the 48th minute put the game out of reach as Cassandra Vanderlaan scored her second goal of the game for the Mountaineers.
Niagara's star goalkeeper Alexis Hebert (Waterdown), who was named the 2017-18 OCAA West Defensive Player of the Year, played well despite the loss making some key saves to keep the Knights in the game. Early on in the game Hebert made an impressive save, extending fully and deflecting what would be a sure goal onto the crossbar.
Sophia Al-Kayed (St. Catharines) played a solid game in her first OCAA match, working tirelessly for the Knights to try and bury her first career-goal. Head Coach Rob Lalama was very impressed with the way Al-Kayed played.
"In her first collegiate game Sophia worked hard all afternoon," said Lalama. "She had a great work rate and high compete level throughout the match."
The Knights will look to bounce back from their loss when they make a weekend road trip, starting with the St. Clair Saints on Saturday and then the Lambton Lions on Sunday.
The Knights will continue their season on the road against the St. Clair Saints (1-0, 1st OCAA West) on Saturday, September 15th at 12pm before visiting the Lambton Lions (0-1, 4th OCAA West) on Sunday, September 16th at 1pm.