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Falling for the first time

The Thanksgiving weekend break is coming at a perfect time for the UNB Varsity Reds women’s soccer team.

After defeating the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus 3-1 on the road on Friday night, the Varsity Reds lost for the first time this season on Sunday afternoon at BMO Centre, falling 1-0 to the Dalhousie Tigers.

“Obviously we’re disappointed that it’s over,” coach Jon Crossland said about his team’s unbeaten streak coming to an end. “The silver lining at the end of this is that we’re going to wake up tomorrow morning and we’re still going to be in first place.

“We’ve got four games after the break and we’re going to control our own destiny.”

The loss dropped UNB’s record to 6-1-2 on the Atlantic University Sport season, placing them atop the standings with 20 minutes. Acadia also has 20 points but has played an additional game and has one fewer win.

The V-Reds don’t play again until Oct. 17 when they take on the UPEI Panthers in Charlottetown. Their next home game is on Oct. 19 against Moncton.

Not only did the Varsity Reds have their undefeated streak come to an end, the team also enters the break a bit banged up. Veteran goalkeeper Sami-Jo Bell, who had played every minute for the Reds this season heading into this weekend’s action, was injured in Friday’s match. She was unable to play on Sunday and will be reevaluated this week.

In Friday’s game, all of UNB’s scoring came within a 19-minute span in the first half. Kayla Painter opened things up with a goal just over a minute into the match. Sam Lagacy then scored in the 10th and 19th minute to give the Varsity Reds a quick 3-0 advantage.

The Aigles Bleus got on the board in the 21st minute as Emilie Naugle connected to make it a 3-1 game. But that would be as close as the home team would get.

UNB had nine shots in the opening half and outshot UdeM 14-7 overall.

Bell left the match in the 24th minute with an apparent leg injury. Bell, who transferred to UNB this season from Saint Mary’s, was replaced by rookie keeper Rebecca Duda.

“When Sami got hurt it kind of broke us a bit and it shouldn’t have,” said Crossland. “We had a really good start and managed to hang on to that start.

“Duda came in and made a couple big saves for us.”

On Sunday on home turf, UNB’s first good chance of the game came in the 26th minute when a ball was centered in the box but no Varsity Red could get a foot on it. In the 35th minute, Painter fired a strike but Tigers goalkeeper Katie Morgan was in a perfect spot to make the save.

Dalhousie opened the scoring in the 36th minute as Scarlet Smith knocked the ball in past Duda. The Tigers did a good job at containing the V-Reds in the first half. Shots in the first were 4-3 in favour of the Tigers.

The Reds applied some pressure in the second half and created a couple quality scoring chances but couldn’t net an equalizer. Duda also came up big a few times, giving the Reds a chance to tie things.

Shots in the game were 7-4 in favour of the Tigers.

The win improved Dalhousie to 5-3-1 on the season.

“That’s a very good team,” Crossland said of Dalhousie. “They were probably underachieving based on their win-loss record. We knew they were going to be a good team.”

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