Up 2-0 at half time, it appeared the Cape Breton University Capers women’s soccer team was on its way to yet another Atlantic University Sport regular season victory.
The Capers entered action this weekend with a 1-0 record. Last year’s AUS champions went 9-0-4 in the 2013 regular season and 10-0-3 in 2012. Cape Breton hadn’t lost a regular season match since Oct. 21, 2011 — a stretch of 30 consecutive games.
On Saturday at the BMO Centre, CBU’s streak came to an end while UNB’s stretched on.
The Capers were up two goals at halftime thanks to a pair from Karolyne Blain. UNB didn’t create many quality scoring opportunities in the first and were outshot 7-3. But things would soon change.
In the 66th minute, Eden Vanderlaan was left all alone near the top of the goal area, allowing her to send a shot past Capers goalkeeper Tiffany O’Donnell.
UNB started to apply more offensive pressure following the goal and were rewarded for their efforts in the 83rd minute. Kayla Painter fired a shot that was just out of the reach of O’Donnell, going off the far post and in to tie things at 2-2.
As if that wasn’t enough drama, Paige Vincent eventually put the ball past the Capers keeper during a scramble in stoppage time to give the Reds a 3-2 win.
UNB, obviously excited to have beaten the No. 4 ranked team in the nation and extend their own winning streak to three games, had a celebration that was worthy of a championship.
After the game, coach Jon Crossland was looking more at his team’s impressive comeback than the ending of Cape Breton’s streak.
“It’s nice to end one streak and keep one going on our end,” said Crossland after Saturday’s game. “More pleasing was the reaction we got from the girls after the first half. We kind of let (Cape Breton) dictate the play in the first and I said we have to be takers in the second half especially down two goals. They went out and did it.”
UNB also played on Sunday afternoon and earned a 0-0 draw against a strong Acadia Axewomen squad.
Sunday’s match saw a fairly uneventful first half. Sami-Jo Bell, who made seven saves in UNB’s Saturday win, made a nice stop off of Jenna Howell in close during the 14th minute. Later on in the 31st minute, Lauren Cubbon let a hard shot go but was stopped by Acadia’s stretching keeper, Caroline Wood, on the goal line. Shots in the opening half were 2-2.
The second half was also scoreless. Jenna Blackburn had the best chance of the half, firing the ball just wide of the far post as Bell came out to challenge. Shots were 2-1 Acadia in the final half of action.
Bell, who has started all four regular season games for the Reds this year, made four stops in the shutout. UNB registered just three shots in the draw.
“I didn’t think it was as driven as it was yesterday. The purpose wasn’t necessarily there at times today,” Crossland said about his team’s offence on Sunday. “I think we passed responsibility sometimes rather than taking it on ourselves. But that’s a good team. That’s a really good team.”
The draw puts UNB’s record at 3-0-1, good for 10 points and first place in the AUS. Crossland was pleased with the four-point weekend.
“When you have the league champion and the two finalists from last year and you get four out of six points — that’s a good weekend. If someone had told me when the schedule came out that after our first four games we’d be 3-0-1 I would have taken it.”
Up next for the V-Reds is a 5 p.m. match at BMO Centre against the UPEI Panthers on Friday.