Conzon to the rescue as No.5-ranked soccer Martlets knocks No.1-Carabins off lofty perch
Julia Conzon, a freshman midfielder from North Vancouver, B.C., snapped a 1-1 tie in the 63rd minute to give No.5-ranked McGill a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the No.1-ranked Montreal Carabins in CIS women’s soccer before a “Pack the Pitch” crowd of 714 at Percival Molson Stadium, Thursday.
In men’s play, the Carabins blanked McGill 2-0.
The Martlets’ win extended their current undefeated streak to 9-0-2 overall, including a 4-0 mark in the RSEQ conference and was the first setback for Montreal, which dropped to 4-1. More importantly, it also marked the Martlets first victory over the Carabins since a 2-0 home-field shutout on Oct. 17, 2008, snapping a nine-game winless streak (0-5-4) against their archrivals, a team that shares the slopes of Mt. Royal.
“We beat the No. 1-ranked team in the CIS with a huge performance,” said Marc Mounicot, in his 14th season as head coach at McGill. “That team lost only three games in our conference over the last four years, so you could say that this win was one of the most important regular season victories ever for our program. That’s what I call a ‘statement’ game.”
Rookie Daphnée Morency of Boulder, Colorado, had given the Martlets a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute but the Carabins tallied the equalizer in the 55th minute when Éva Thouvenot-Hébert, an all-Canadian striker from Montreal, eluded McGill goalkeeper Victoria Muccilli.
The last time the Martlets saw Thouvenot-Hébert, she scored in double overtime to give the Carabins a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over McGill in a CIS championship semifinal at Molson Stadium.
Less than 10 minutes after UdeM tied the game, Conzon converted a pass from Rebecca Green to register her first CIS regular season goal.
“We had a game plan and stuck to it for the full 90 minutes,” added Mounicot. “Our first half was great with respect to tactical organization and ball movement. The Carabins came back stronger in the second half with more offensive weapons and our inexperience showed a bit on the tying goal. We hit the cross-bar two minutes before that and should have been up by two goals at that point. We were not controlling the tempo of the game anymore but we bounced back and Conzon scored a beautiful McGill trademark goal with a mixture of quick passing and combination play.”
Muccilli, a 5-foot-9 junior from Mississauga, Ont., made two saves to collect the victory, while Carabins ‘keeper Martine Julien was credited with one save and took the loss. She was pulled for an extra attacker in the final minute of play – a rare occurrence in soccer, regardless of the score.
McGill had a 9-4 edge in attempted shots toward the net and a 1-0 margin in corner kicks. It was a physical affair featuring 17 fouls, including 10 by the Carabins, who were also assessed three yellow cards.
“All of our players showed great poise and work-ethic on the field today,” said Mounicot. “Our defensive position has shown slow but steady improvement, game-by-game and we learned today that we can challenge all opponents in our conference. This win is special and will give us confidence and momentum.”
The bitter rivals are scheduled to cross paths only one more time in what will no doubt be another classic confrontation, on Oct. 21 at CEPSUM Stadium.
Division-leading McGill (4-0) will head to Lennoxville on Sept. 23 to play sixth-place Bishop’s (0-2-2), while the second-place Carabins (4-1) will host Laval (2-2-0) the same day.