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Playoff bound: Reds secure spot

For the first time since 2011, the UNB Varsity Reds women’s soccer team will take part in the Atlantic University Sport playoffs.

The Varsity Reds clinched a spot in this year’s post-season with a pair of victories over the weekend. UNB defeated the UPEI Panthers 2-1 in Charlottetown on Friday and then returned home to beat the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus 3-1 on Sunday.

Head coach Jon Crossland described his team’s wins on the weekend as “scrappy.”

“We’re finding ways to score goals in different ways and getting victories,” said the coach. “We’re pleased with six points and it gets us closer to the [first round playoff] bye.”

UNB opened the scoring in the 39th minute on Sunday as Lauren Cubbon fired a low shot past the hands of a stretching Moncton goalkeeper. Shots were 4-3 UNB in the first.

In the 61st minute, Sam Lagacy got through the Moncton defence and then beat goalkeeper Catherine Poirier with a hard shot to make it 2-0. The Aigles Bleus quickly responded though as Vickie Savoie scored two minutes later to make it a 2-1 match with just under 30 minutes to play.

In the 76th minute, Lagacy fed Cubbon at the top of the box. She chipped the ball on net but the Moncton keeper got her hands on the ball and kept it out. A few minutes later, UNB hit the post.

In the 81st minute, Lucy Parkin chipped the ball ahead and went off Moncton’s Emilie Naugle and in to give the Reds a 3-1 advantage. Shots were 5-2 UNB in the second half.

“It was a little bit of ‘kick it to Sam [Lagacy] and see what she can do with it at times today,” said Crossland of his team’s offence. “It came along.”

On Friday, the Varsity Reds edged the UPEI Panthers 2-1 in Charlottetown.

Lagacy opened the scoring in the eighth minute of the contest, giving UNB an early 1-0 advantage. In stoppage time, Lagacy setup Kayla Painter to give the V-Reds a 2-0 lead at halftime. UNB outshot UPEI 10-4.

UPEI got on the board in the 51st minute as Jenna McDonald scored to make it 2-1. The Panthers outshot the Reds 7-2 in the second but could not tie things up.

Rookie goalkeeper Rebecca Duda got the start in both games this past weekend, making six stops on Friday and four saves on Sunday in the victories. Veteran keeper Sami-Jo Bell will miss the remainder of the season with a third degree MCL tear and ACL damage.

Bell had played every minute of the Varsity Reds season up until being injured in UNB’s Oct. 3 road game against the Aigles Bleus.

“We recruited knowing that we needed more than one capable keeper,” said Crossland last week. “Right now, Rebecca Duda will get the ball from here on out.”

UNB hosts the Mount Alison Mounties on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. Their final game of the regular season takes place on Friday, Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. at BMO Centre against the Saint Mary’s Huskies.

The AUS playoffs take place Oct. 31 – Nov. 2 at Dalhousie University.

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