By Thomas Becker
The UPEI Panthers sent the playoff-bound Saint Mary's Huskies back to the drawing board after handing them a 4-1 loss Friday evening.
The game was, in a way, symbolic in that on "Senior Night" rookies Madison Hurley, Olivia Cummings, second-year forward Lauren Clark and third-year midfielder Andrea Mahoney – players who are widely considered the future of Panther soccer – each scored in the win.
"That's what we're trying to do with this program. We're trying to bring in players who'll come in and make an impact for UPEI," said Panthers head coach Graeme McDonald. "I think we have a very bright future ahead of us, we just have to keep building on it."
Mahoney was the first to get the Panthers on the scoreboard. Just nine minutes in, one of her shots trickled in after Huskie keeper Kyanna Gilks fumbled the ball.
In the 29th minute, Clark rattled the crossbar on a strike just outside the box. Instead of hanging her head, she was rewarded a minute later after a hustle play caught Gilks off guard, as the striker took the ball away and tapped the ball in for the 2-0 advantage.
Saint Mary's opened the scoring in the second half when veteran midfielder Paige Vincent sent a beautiful corner kick to Alexa Tymkiw, who headed it in for a 58th minute goal, cutting the lead 2-1.
That was quickly undone after Clark sent a perfect through pass to Hurley, who skipped the ball past the keeper to restore the two-goal lead 60 minutes in.
Cummings speed on the wing paid dividends a minute later when Kami Chaisson lobbed a pass to the young midfielder, who chased it down and scored. It also happened to be her first AUS goal.
"It was a bit overwhelming. I didn't really know what to do," she said. "But it felt good to be embraced and congratulated by my teammates."
"I'm very grateful that he [McDonald] entrusted a first year to step in when they were hurt," said the Subway Player of the Game. "It means a lot and it's given me confidence for years to come."
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan