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Women’s soccer open season with sweep of Sea-Hawks

It was an impressive opening weekend for the UNB Varsity Reds women’s soccer team.

After finishing last season with just four wins, the squad opened the 2014-15 Atlantic University Sport (AUS) regular season with back-to-back victories over the Memorial University (MUN) Sea-Hawks.

The Reds scored a late goal on Saturday to defeat the Hawks 1-0. On Sunday, MUN opened the scoring but UNB climbed back and won 2-1.

Saturday’s game featured a scoreless first half with shots 5-3 in favour of MUN. Goalkeeper Sami-Jo Bell, playing in her first season with the V-Reds after transferring from Saint Mary’s, had a strong first half and recorded four saves.

In the second half, the Reds outshot the Hawks 4-3. It wasn’t until the 87th minute that Laura McNicholas scored the lone goal of the match, giving the visitors a 1-0 victory.

Saturday’s win marked the first time since 2007 that the women’s squad registered a win in their season opener.

On Sunday, MUN’s Emily Bailey scored an unassisted goal in the 12th minute to give the home side a 1-0 lead. But just over two minutes later, Kayla Painter netted her first of the AUS season on a penalty kick to tie things at 1-1. The Hawks outshot the Reds 4-2 in the opening half.

Painter scored her second of the game in the 57th minute and that proved to be the winner. Nicola Small picked up an assist on the goal. UNB outshot MUN 4-3 in the second half.

Bell earned the win in net in both games, making six stops on Saturday and two on Sunday.

It’s certainly a promising start to the season for UNB who not only missed the playoffs last season with a 4-7-2 record, but also went just 1-5-1 on the road.

The V-Reds kick off the home portion of their regular season schedule this weekend at BMO Centre. On Saturday at 1 p.m., the Reds host last year’s AUS Champions, the Cape Breton Capers. On Sunday at 1 p.m. they host the Acadia Axewomen, the team the Capers defeated in the 2013 AUS final.

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